Vaginal atrophy. My doctor’s two-minute diagnosis was not well received. It wasn’t cancer but still…. a reminder that at age 67, it was definitely all downhill from here.
I don’t recall the health ed teacher in grade school warning we pre-menstrual girls about vaginal atrophy. Hell, she didn’t even mention the word vagina during the 45 minute class on how our bodies would change with menstruation. Nor did my doctor, who had all the plaques of wonderful accolades blaring from her reception walls.
So, here’s what Google taught me: “Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) is a thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that may occur when your body has less estrogen. Vaginal atrophy occurs most often after menopause. For many women, this condition not only makes intercourse painful but also leads to distressing urinary symptoms.” Seems like a life-changing condition would at least get an honorable mention from my BEST OBGYN in the TRI-STATE AREA.
After my diagnosis and with prescription in hand, I trudged to the pharmacy to obtain a vaginal “ring” that would emit estrogen into my vagina, thereby alleviating the sandpaper feeling I was experiencing. Oh, but not so fast! My insurance plan would not approve the “ring” (a $500/month investment if no insurance coverage) until my doctor wrote up a thesis on why, at age 67, I really, really needed estrogen leaking into my vagina. After five days, the damn thing got approved.
And, after six months and two visits to my doctor’s office to remove the contraption (had to be removed every three months and re-installed, which was a major feat beyond my capabilities), the doctor discovered that there was a brownish, blood-like substance in my uterus. That discovery prompted a trip to an outpatient clinic for a vaginal ultrasound, where a very long phallic wand was generously lubricated and shoved up my womanly part.
Turns out I was a medical mystery as was the brownish substance. After six months of wearing pads in my underwear to prevent staining, the mystery vanished. Contrary to medical opinion, I can definitely say that the “ring” was the culprit and, no, it did not provide any relief for my estrogen deprived vagina.
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