Vaginal atrophy is a condition that women experience in the menopausal years. It arises due to a loss of estrogen in the vaginal tissue. When estrogen levels drop, the thickness of the vaginal tissue which is driven by collagen, changes dramatically. Collagen is what helps with elasticity and suppleness allowing for painless sexual activity.
The depth of collagen plays an intricate roll in vaginal lubrication. Women with lower estrogen levels and therefore less collagen, experience increased vaginal dryness. When women have vaginal dryness, they have increased irritation, leading to adhesions in the vaginal canal and pain with intercourse.