You say you’re 75 and did not have a partner for many years. Your gynecologist said you’re suffering from atrophy and there’s nothing that can be done.
Your doctor is almost certainly right in identifying vaginal atrophy (now more accurately called the genitourinary syndrome of menopause or GSM). Nearly all women will experience this over time in menopause. However, there is rarely a time we can’t help women regain function of the vagina; it does most often include prescription medications. Vaginal moisturizers are helpful in maintaining comfort before a vagina becomes atrophic, but they’re not effective at reversing atrophy.
Revitalizing vaginal tissue and function can be accomplished with a variety of prescription medications (estrogen and non-estrogen, vaginal and oral options). There are also laser therapies (e.g., Mona Lisa Touch) that can offer benefit, usually in a series of three treatments. The effects are not instant: Most women need at least three months to see the benefit, and then some women also need to use dilators to get back further capacity to allow for intercourse or comfortable sexual intimacy. There is no age limit at which it is “too late” to initiate treatment.
Most women don’t regret investing in sexual health to enjoy a mutual loving and respectful relationship. I hope this is the case for you.
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.