After the menopause (the 'change') the ovaries make less oestrogen. The lack of oestrogen leads to a thinning of the tissues around the vaginal area, and a reduction in the number of the small glands that make mucus. You also lose some fat tissue from around the genital area. This causes the vulva and vagina to look slightly different than before the menopause.
As a result, the vagina can become shorter, less elastic, and dryer with less lubricating mucus. The genital skin looks paler. These changes usually take months or years to develop following the menopause, and vary between women. Atrophic vaginitis is the medical term for the condition when these changes produce troublesome symptoms.