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, thins, causing atrophy, pain and will often increase symptoms of urinary urgency and incontinence. When collagen is healthy, women have more elasticity in the vaginal tissue, increasing the thickness, suppleness and supporting decreased or no pain during sexual activity.
Collagen also 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 thus experiencing pain with intercourse.