From Winning Vagina to Whining Vagina

You probably haven’t thought much about your vagina before. In fact, it’s probably an afterthought most of the time.

But I’m bringing it up because it has a before and after with regard to menopause. And most women find out all too late about it. I want you to learn all about it before rather than after it’s too late.

In many ways, your vagina follows rules that are contrary to those of other parts of your body. It’s almost as if it lives its life in reverse. In other words, it contradicts all the changes that the rest of your body is making as you transition into menopause.

It all has to do with the anatomical changes that take place in your vagina as you transition from pre-menopause to post-menopause.

Before menopause, your vagina has a very thick wall that’s full of wrinkles. There’s a fancy medical term for the wrinkles. They’re called rugae (pronounced ROO – gay). Rugae are like an accordion. They’re folds upon folds upon folds of thick skin. And the ultra-folded thick skin of your vagina secretes fluids that keep it nice and lubricated.

Because of the thick skin, folds, and self-lubricating nature of your vagina, it’s the life of the party. You can do all sorts of things with your vagina and it handles them all with nary a complaint. That thick, folded, lubricated skin allows your vagina to elongate and withstand all sorts of friction during intercourse. It allows it to stretch enough to deliver a baby. And it just goes right back to its happy thick, folded, lubricated state after all these things. It’s a real winner.

So you go through your entire reproductive life hardly giving your vagina a thought. It’s quiet, cooperative, happy, and self-sufficient.

And then, along comes menopause.

Turns out, that all those wonderful things about your vagina were due to estrogen. And with menopause, your estrogen takes a permanent vacation. It leaves the party place, never to be seen again.

And that’s when you become aware of your vagina.


Because without estrogen after menopause, that thick wall that could withstand friction becomes very thin and frail. Intercourse causes it to tear. Those wonderful wrinkles (rugae) flatten and smooth out, making it impossible for your vagina to stretch to accommodate a penis or lengthen during intercourse. So you experience pain when you try to have sex because your once-stretchy vagina is now tight. And all that lubrication that used to make everything slip and slide so easily has dried up, leaving a rough, friction-sensitive surface that can’t handle contact with anything, especially a rambunctious penis!

All of this is reason for significant distress. Not only does your once winning vagina turn into a whining vagina, but it all just seems completely backward.

I mean, your vagina is the one and only place on your body where you WANT wrinkles. And at a time when you start noticing wrinkles galore on your face neck, abdomen, and legs, those in your vagina disappear and it becomes completely flat. And when the skin on your face seems to be getting thick like leather and pocked like an orange-peel, the skin in your vagina gets thin as tissue paper. And when you can’t help lubricating in your crotch from a bladder you can no longer control, your vagina is dry as a bone.

How can that be? Is Mother Nature playing a cruel trick of nature on you? It’s instances like this when I feel certain that Mother Nature must be male. She certainly isn’t thinking like a female! A female Mother Nature would never have us push a huge baby out of our vagina in the first place. She’d implant an eject button! Likewise, a female mother nature would let us keep the wrinkles in our vagina and let the skin on our face, neck, and hands become smooth as silk. She’d let us keep that thick skin in our vaginas so that we could continue having parties with a rambunctious penis. And she’d limit our “leaks” to lubrication of our vaginas.

And whose idea was it to call this wicked process of a winning vagina transforming into a whining vagina, “Vaginal Atrophy”? How demoralizing is that? (Actually, the name has recently been changed to, “Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause,” or “GSM.”) But somehow, that doesn’t make it sound any better, and it certainly doesn’t make your vagina feel any better.

Thick to thin; wrinkled to smooth; wet to dry. No wonder you vagina goes from winning to whining!

This article, written by Dr. Barbara Taylor,  was first published on, on December 8th 2016.

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