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Long interval between periods, itchy vagina, brown discharge. Is it Perimenopause?

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I'm a 47 year old female I am either premenopausal or already in it. My periods range from nothing for 2 months than I'll have it every other week. In January I had my period then a week and a half later I started having a discharge of a dark reddish brown. Whenever I go to the bathroom and I wipe there is always a little blood. I've been experiencing a burning/itching sensation for the last week and rawness on the outside of my vagina only. I have no pain at all when I pee. I also seem to be very dry down there. What can it be?
Posted Mon, 25 Feb 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Shanti Vennam 29 minutes later

Thanks for writing to us.

During the perimenopausal period, it is common to have disturbances of the cycle. Initially, they may get more frequent and later on they tend to become more delayed and ultimately stop. This is because of the dwindling ovulation.

As the production of estrogen and progesterone is lesser, vaginal dryness occurs. This can lead to burning sensation on intercourse and pain and sometimes may cause spotting also. Also, this dry vagina is more prone for infections and urethra is no exemption as the urethral mucosa also gets dry simultaneously.

Even though you do not have any pain while passing urine, you should always get an infection of the urinary tract excluded.

You should get a local examination done by a gynecologist and get a pap smear done at regular intervals as a safety precaution. You can get the levels of LH, FSH and estradiol assessed. Lastly, as you are still getting periods and if you do not use any contraception, pregnancy should be excluded either by a urine or blood test or a sonogram.

Vaginal creams or lubricants may be used after a check up by a gynecologist, to get relief from the dryness. Hormone therapy may be tried if symptoms cause you much trouble.

Hope I have clarified your queries. If you need further clarifications, I will be happy to help. Please feel free to ask.

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