What is the normal structure of Vagina?
The vagina is a tube of 3-4 inches length with elastic walls. The inner lining of the tube is vaginal mucosa and the outer one is a layer of smooth muscle. There are strong voluntary muscles called pelvic diaphragm and supporting structures called ligaments common to the urethra, vagina, and rectum that keep them supported. Normal vaginal mucosa lining the vaginal tube is not smooth but has longitudinal folds called rugae. Vaginal mucosa is naturally lubricated and also has a mechanism to keep the ph at 4.5. Lubrication and acidic ph together protect the vagina from injury and infections. In virgins, there is usually (but not always) a structure called hymen at the entrance of the vagina, which is a fold or diaphragm of the vaginal mucosa, with an opening to allow menstrual blood flow.
How is Vaginal health affected by various factors?
Over a period of time, a women’s body goes through a lot due to Childbirth, Menopause and Hormonal changes. These can lead to changes in the vagina like increased dryness and laxity.
Loss of elasticity and strength in vaginal tissue occurs for a number of reasons, including:
Aging - With age there is a loss of tone of muscles all over the body. Same happens to vagina too. Age factor comes into play after the 30s and varies from woman to woman.
Childbirth - Studies done with MRI scan reveal that vagina gets larger after vaginal delivery.
Surgery like Hysterectomy
What is Vaginal Laxity?
Over time vagina loses its elasticity creating a feeling of looseness (laxity). Vaginal Laxity can lead to Sexual dissatisfaction for both the partners, creating a significant quality of the life issue.
What changes happen in vagina Post-Delivery?
Childbirth involves many physiological changes in a woman's body. Post-Delivery, the vaginal area may get stretched and dry giving a feeling of a lose vagina. There is a risk of infections due to dryness. Also, the pelvic floor may be weakened post-delivery which add to the looseness of the vagina and also can cause urinary incontinence.
What changes happen in vagina Post-Menopause?
The shift in hormones that occurs with menopause can cause the lining of the vagina to become thinner, drier and less elastic or lose. This reduced sensitivity of vaginal receptors. Also reduction in tone of pelvic muscles leads to vaginal laxity. These factors can lead to sexual dissatisfaction, urinary incontinence, and susceptibility to infection.