what does vulvar atrophy look like


They were just like, "You're getting dry tissue." It doesn't have that same stretch and give that it had in younger women. I'm pretty old." In perimenopause and … I have just got my diagnosis after two years of symptoms and problems, I am 43 and am no way near the menopause. What does vaginal atrophy look like? Your health care provider diagnoses vulvar cancer with a physical exam and a biopsy. One of the big things I say on stage is women have to keep it going. The non-hormonal treatments are things that you can buy in a pharmacy without a prescription, such as a lubricant. Vaginal atrophy is a collection of unpleasant vaginal symptoms caused by a lack of the hormone estrogen. What Does Vaginitis Look Like – Pictures of STDs. Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. Localized vulvodynia is pain in one area of the vulva. Vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA) is a condition associated with menopause. Not only does sexual intercourse become difficult, vaginal atrophy symptoms leave you uncomfortable all day long. Basically, the lining of the vagina is getting thinner. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. I never even heard of it, so it's not just menopause that causes this condition. Does this story sound familiar? Now, I feel healthier. Read our, I'm a print subscriber, link to my account, Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language. I don't want people to look at my picture and say, "She's got vaginal atrophy!" But with time, this just gets worse. Your body sort of equilibrates and you don't feel it as much. I don't care if anybody ever touches me again." There are hormonal and non-hormonal treatments. When you think about a lot of women experiencing this and thinking there's nothing they can do, or not even bringing it up, I think that's ridiculous. This most commonly occurs after menopause. Vulvar ulcers can be extremely painful and, in some cases, they may not hurt at all. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. This can cause a decline in sex drive, which can be a concern for women and their partners. In my middle to late 50s, I was experiencing symptoms of getting urinary tract infections a lot and having a little bit of cystitis (bladder inflammation). What Is Vaginal Atrophy? I am starting treatment with estrogen cream for three months and then surgery to fix my fused labia minora, which fused together and are partially covering my vaginal opening. Atrophic vaginitis is a vaginal disorder that usually happens after menopause. During this problem, the vaginal walls begin to thin due to a drop in estrogen production. Atrophic epithelium appears pale, smooth and shiny. But the most effective products are some kind of estrogen. I don't want to be the poster child for vaginal atrophy. According to Mayoclinic.com, one of the possible symptoms of moderate to severe vaginal atrophy is “vaginal discharge.” Does this resemble cervical mucous? With the lack of estrogen, this area actually shrinks. A red membrane or polyp may be visible at urethral opening (urethral caruncle) The vaginal skin looks thin and dry, with tiny blood vessels under it resulting in patchy redness Stretching the vulva may cause splitting of the skin at the bottom of the vagina or elsewhere. If the only diagnoses you are aware of that cause vulvar symptoms are Candida, Trichomonas, BV Trichomonas, BV and atrophy and atrophy those are those are the only diagnoses you will make. I was shocked when I was checking for yeast and saw myself. But I still think their age warrants me asking how they're doing. This results in itching, burning and pain during sex, among other symptoms. However, it sounds like if you treat this when it appears, the symptoms won't spread to the urinary tract. There are many effective natural treatments for vaginal atrophy, one of which is having more sex. Often, inflammation with patchy erythema, petechiae and increased friability may be present. We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner. The condition can usually be diagnosed with a patient interview and a physical exam which will reveal obvious and significant changes in the vagina. Most women with vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) have no symptoms at all. Another way of referencing the situation is to say that a woman is "losing patency." @Azuza - Yeah, vaginal atrophy sounds far from pleasant. This can cause aches and pains, and it tends to make intercourse unpleasant because suitable lubrication is not available. The Globe was not aware of the payment at the time of publication. Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the Some information in it may no longer be current. Vulvar ulcers are sores that appear in this area. This interview has been edited and condensed. There's going to be dryness. In the United States alone, 32 million women suffer from vulvovaginal atrophy in perimenopause and post-menopause. I have been actively doing IVF for the past five years and this condition was the last thing I thought I would get. A gynecologist can usually provide treatment for this condition, sometimes in consultation with an endocrinologist who specializes in medical problems which pertain to the hormones. Vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA) can be as awful as it sounds. spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors. Dr. Cabeca explains that using progesterone from ovulation through the period can help ease these symptoms. We hope to have this fixed soon. We also think older women who are having sex in their 80s and 90s and stuff are probably not comfortable and are just doing it for their partner. During perimenopause, less estrogen may cause the tissues of the vulva and the lining of the vagina to become thinner, drier, and less elastic or flexible—a condition known as "vulvovaginal atrophy" (see figure). Progestins (synthetic progesterone) has been shown to react differently in the body … Vaginal atrophy is a series of natural changes which take place in the vagina as women age and their estrogen levels decrease. That's what's happening vaginally. We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. By remaining silent, women may do themselves a disservice and receive delayed or inadequate treatment. It is then easier to detect any changes in appearance, such as changes in colour, bumps, thickening or thinning of the skin or dry, cracked skin. Vulvar cancer is a type of cancer that occurs on the outer surface area of the female genitalia. In the bathroom, forgo moistened wipes. Like aching. This can result in painful sex and vaginal bleeding. They may include— Itching, burning, or bleeding on the vulva that does not go away. Feel how soft it is, how sensitive and wonderfully curvy. Vulvar vestibulitis, also known as VVS, is a type of vulvodynia, or pain around the vulva -- the sex organs outside a woman’s body. An area of VIN may look different from normal vulvar skin. We're going to have to have lots of lube because I don't know what's going to happen. Comedian, actor and writer Cathy Jones shares her experience of dealing with cystitis and vaginal atrophy. It sounds like it can become a semi-serious medical problem. There's no particular test that you do. Vaginal dryness and vulvovaginal atrophy is a common problem for women. Don't let it go like that!". I was thinking, "Well, I'm not really getting that." This article was published more than 4 years ago. Vulvovaginal atrophy. Think of an elderly woman with papery skin. The medical term is "vaginal atrophy." 351 King Street East, Suite 1600, Toronto, ON Canada, M5A 0N1, Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks, var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o? It makes pap smears very painful. Cathy Jones speaks out to help women with vaginal atrophy. Prior to menopause, the vaginal lining appears plump, bright red, and moist.As estrogen levels decline, the lining of the vagina becomes thinner, drier, light pink to bluish in color, and less elastic. The hormone replacement can prevent many of the changes associated with vaginal atrophy, and it can also reverse some damages if it is taken at an appropriate time. This can be … I hate this! Why does the lack of estrogen have this effect? But the truth is they can have awesome sex, as long as they don't have discomfort. Atrophic vaginitis, as it is also known, sets in around the time of menopause. Do what you got to do to keep it going. Thank you for your patience. Vaginal atrophy normally occurs in older women who have finished their menopausal stage. When a woman with VIN does have a symptom, it is most often itching that does not go away or get better. First of all, the term itself is seriously disturbing. I got that test where you put water inside your bladder, and you can see on a screen what the lining looks like. If you don't know what your vulva looks like, it is a good idea to use a mirror so you can look and become familiar with what is normal for you. Atrophic vaginitis, as it is also known, sets in around the time of menopause. And it gets much more sensitive, which makes it prone to be irritated and that irritation is when people think they have a yeast infection or they're just uncomfortable. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter . exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. I have friends sitting around the mahjong table, going like, "Nope. I've had relationships come and go. Postmenopausal atrophic vaginitis, or vaginal atrophy, is the thinning of the walls of the vagina caused by decreased estrogen levels. It … Vaginal atrophy is awful. Another non-hormonal therapy to treat vaginal atrophy is the use of lubricants. I have women in their 60s and 70s who aren't uncomfortable and still are in happy relationships and don't need to be on anything. I would have aching. Don't give up! What are the Signs of a Vaginal Infection. With the decline of estrogen in menopause, some women still have lubrication and don't feel the change as much. But my symptom was I was getting a lot of urinary tract infections. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to, To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. However, I'm glad I read this article. I think I had severe cystitis at that moment. Menopause is … The doctor may recommend hormone testing to determine a woman's hormone levels, using the results to find an appropriate dosage of estrogen which will address the condition without exposing the woman to the risk of extreme side effects. The symptoms associated with vulvovaginal atrophy include dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, buring, and painful urination. And I'm thinking, "Ahh! She was like, "I don't think you really need to.". At that point, I wanted to ask my doctor to put me in touch with a specialist. The vaginal application means that it goes right where you need it, but it doesn't enter your blood stream in great amounts. That's one big reason why women shouldn't be scared to talk to their doctor about this! Skin changes in the vulva, including what looks like a rash or warts. Can vaginal atrophy happen that quickly? If you had diabetes and you were on insulin, it would work when you took it and when you stop taking it, it would stop working. While these … This can cause a decline in sex drive, which can be a concern for women and their partners. We never say "forever" in medicine because medicine changes and advice changes, but when I put women on this, I say it's long-term. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. The walls become thinner and more fragile -- as well as less elastic. Without enough estrogen during menopause, the vaginal and vulvar tissues atrophy, meaning they weaken, shrink, and become dry and inflamed.In essence, the vaginal tissues shrivel up, causing many painful symptoms. Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) is thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that may occur when your body has less estrogen. I have had this irritation for about three months now--been to ARNP at gyn office--continue using estrogen cream daily and steroid ointment for six weeks. My wife has vaginal atrophy and will not take hormones to remedy the pain she experiences during intercourse, and I can't blame her due to the health risks. Several approaches can be used to treat this condition. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. © Copyright 2021 The Globe and Mail Inc. All rights reserved. I feel less discomfort. A 62 year old woman complaining of vulvovaginal itching and I don't remember seeing the difference a few days ago. If you search for "radio frequency" treatment for vaginal atrophy there is a possible solution unfortunately not covered by insurance on the other hand risk free and a possible solution. Estrogen normally maintains the vaginal tissue, the uterine tissue and the genital tissue in that area. The Globe was not aware of the payment at the time of publication. Everything was way better than I thought because I had been taking care of things. In Canada, we have cream, we have vaginal tablets and we have a ring that can go in the vagina and be left for three months. I know they've made a lot of discoveries in recent years about how hormone replacement therapy can cause a lot of other problems. External genitalia should be examined for diminished elasticity, turgor of skin, sparsity of pubic hair, dryness of labia, vulvar dermatoses, vulvar lesions and fusion of the labia minora3,6 (Figure 1). So if you look at pictures, instead of it being 10 cells thick, it may be one or two cells thick. If vaginal atrophy symptoms are your worst complaint, you might want to consider vaginal estrogen suppositories rather than taking a pill or injection. Lichen planus. change of the vagina that develops when there is a significant decrease in levels of the female hormone estrogen This is a clinical diagnosis. Therefore, can vaginal atrophy be cured by a surgical procedure that would reline the vaginal walls so that intercourse would no longer be painful? What are the symptoms of vulvar cancer? How can you tell whether what you're experiencing is a problem that requires treatment or a natural part of aging? Women who don’t experience this rise in progesterone can experience symptoms like vaginal atrophy and also depression. Should any tests be … An aunt of mine who is an older single lady with an "active social life" was telling me all about it after her third glass of wine! If these measures are not sufficient, replacement estrogen can be provided. They just want to get out of the whole situation of the possibility of being a sexual person because they think it's going to hurt. Often a burning sensation, this type of vulvar pain usually results from touch or pressure, like sex or prolonged sitting. Even those that sound designed for vulvar care — like A&D Original Ointment, baby lotion, or Vagisil — contain chemicals that could irritate or cause contact dermatitis. My doctor was kind of dismissive. You can get vaginal dryness if you: go through the menopause; are breastfeeding; take contraceptive pills or antidepressants; have your womb removed (a hysterectomy) have cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy; These things can cause a change in your hormone levels. Women should not be ashamed to discuss issues like vaginal dryness with their care providers. My doc is confident all will be OK, as I am young and still producing estrogen. I have irritated red skin around my inner labia--have had vaginal atrophy for quite some time and just started using estrogen cream (also breast cancer survivor). Vaginal atrophy occurs most often after menopause.For many women, vaginal atrophy not only makes intercourse painful but also leads to distressing urinary symptoms. Changes in the vulvar skin, such as color changes or growths that look like a wart or ulcer; You are at greater risk if you've had a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or have a history of genital warts. Though it can occur at any age, vulvar cancer is most commonly diagnosed in older adults.Vulvar cancer treatment usually involves surgery to remove the cancer and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue. Look differently; see how cute your vulva looks, with it's curves and flappy labia and wobbly mons pubis. Wish me luck! How long do women take estrogen treatment? And they explained the whole connection: The tissue of the vagina is not just about the vagina. It was caused by shutting down my ovaries during IVF and also by the hormone progesterone. This is about the same. Because the condition causes both vaginal and urinary symptoms, doctors use the term \"genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)\" to describe vaginal atrophy and its accompanying sym… Many women who have vulvar cancer have signs and symptoms. I think it's different with each patient. The back wall of the bladder is the top part of the vagina, so this area shares tissue. Vaginal secretions are reduced, resulting in decreased lubrication. Calling it vaginal atrophy makes it sound like the vagina is going to waste away into nothingness and disappears or something. Vaginal atrophy is a common complaint during and after menopause. So if you look at pictures, instead of it being 10 cells thick, it may be one or two cells thick. But in terms of this vaginal atrophy, it gets worse with time. This can cause aches and pains, and it tends to make intercourse unpleasant because suitable lubrication is not available. One caution: Make sure to stick with bio-identical progesterone. It's also right next to the bladder and right next to the rectum, so keeping the tissues healthy there is going to benefit that whole area. They work vaginally, but because they are poorly absorbed into the blood system, they don't have the side effects and the risks of oral estrogen. In my show, I talk about women giving up and trying to disappear so they don't have to deal with it. Wikibuy Review: A Free Tool That Saves You Time and Money, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money That Actually Work. Treatment varies, depending on your overall health and how advanced the cancer is. Click here to subscribe. I have many friends who start getting UTIs when they have sex or just generally feeling like they can't get back on the horse in terms of getting their health together down there. Even if I wasn't having sex all the time, if it comes along, I want to be ready. I would just lie there and have this pelvic pain. The condition also includes urinary tract problems such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) and frequent urination. Some women have itching, burning sensations, and vaginal discharges as well. When estrogen levels fall, the vaginal walls can become thin, dry, and inflamed. This change can affect how … Changes in the color of the skin of the vulva, so that it looks redder or whiter than is normal for you. It's estimated 50 per cent of women experience vaginal atrophy – also known by the broader term, genitourinary syndrome of menopause – within three years of menopause. Vaginal atrophy refers to inflammation, dryness, and thinning of the vaginal walls. I've been single all these years. Basically, the lining of the vagina is getting thinner. Dr. Vivien Brown, assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto and president of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, sat down with us to explain the ins and outs of this common condition: What physically happens with vaginal atrophy? “The answer is absolutely no,” says Dr. Gino Tutera, an OB/GYN and specialist in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. And that's when the doctor said it would be really good to try this local product that would deliver estrogen to the tissues. And lubricants have not worked. I just want to be a person who promotes the idea that we should address it. Downloadable resources . As DePree explained, "As a woman gets older, the vagina gets shorter and more narrow. But when you do look at older women, in their 80s and 90s, the ones who are doing well are the ones still in a relationship, who have social connectedness and who are using something vaginally if they need it – and most women need it at that point. That way when I get older, if I start showing any of these symptoms I'll take myself to the doctor immediately! Vaginal atrophy is an uncomfortable condition related to falling estrogen levels that affects millions of women. I'm not with a partner. I had two prescriptions from my gyn that I was holding onto because of the added expense. As estrogen production declines, the tissues in the vagina become dry, thin, and shrunken. That way, you can avoid a lot of the side effects of full-on HRT (hormone replacement therapy). The vulva is the area of skin that surrounds the urethra and vagina, including the clitoris and labia.Vulvar cancer commonly forms as a lump or sore on the vulva that often causes itching. I'm going to have some coconut oil right there. You hear you're going to have this situation: There's going to be thinning of the tissue. The most common signs of vaginal atrophy include vaginal dryness or burning, pain during intercourse and decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity, genital itching and burning or pain with urination. OK, as if getting old wasn't bad enough, I might have to deal with postmenopausal vaginal atrophy when I get older?! It was looking like I was getting close to sex with this guy last year, and I was making all these preparations like, "Okay. The atrophy can also spread to the urinary tract, leading to difficulty urinating, bloody urine, and other problems. Pictures of STDs. And those work well, or reasonably well, at the beginning, when you still have estrogen around. It's both the art and the science of medicine when you're evaluating someone and asking about their situation. And the actual symptoms don't sound too great either. (The vulva is the genital area outside of the vagina.) Dr. Vivien Brown was paid by Novo Nordisk Canada to speak about vaginal atrophy as part of a media campaign. It also really stinks that hormone replacement therapy is the treatment for this. Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted. That means: If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour. look like a nail. When looking for pictures of STDs on google or any other search engine, you’re bound to come across incredibly graphic, disgusting, and down right scary pictures of STDs. The color becomes a pale pink, which reflects a lack of blood supply." I think the effects it can have on the urinary tract sounds pretty unpleasant too. Causes of vaginal dryness. If you want moisture, use a spray bottle with plain water, and then pat dry. I think that's what happens to people. She was paid by the drug company, Novo Nordisk Canada, to speak publically as part of a media campaign. There's a lot of stuff happening there. It's not like you have to do a biopsy . While there are many treatments for vaginal atrophy, some people prefer a natural approach. In some cases, women can use water-based lubricants and moisturizers to keep the tissues of the vagina moist and flexible, and to make sexual intercourse more comfortable. Anyway, I'm not at that age yet. I am beginning to shy away from sex and feel so limited in bed, but I am determined to make it work and am going to try everything I can find till I am my old happy sexy self again! 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Cathy Jones is a comedian, writer and actor, known for her performances on This Hour has 22 Minutes. Vaginal atrophy (also called atrophic vaginitis) is a condition where the lining of the vagina gets drier and thinner. Some women are too shy to discuss the symptoms they experience with care providers, making it important for doctors to be proactive about addressing vaginal atrophy. And lo and behold, the lining of my bladder looked like it was blistered. Its symptoms include dryness, discomfort, and pain in the vaginal and vulvar areas. The atrophy can also spread to the urinary tract, leading t… With women living much longer than they did in previous eras, vaginal atrophy has become a major concern in the women's health community. The vulva is the outer part of a woman’s genitals. These things may make you feel less like you want to have sex. Vulvar Cancer. By Jenelle Marie Pierce, Executive Director. And then everything was so great. The lack of estrogen thins the lining and makes the lining more friable – it's easier to tear and cut and bleed. No one ever said to me, "You have vaginal atrophy." I am a healthy 65 year old married woman with a wonderful husband and I feel like I am missing out on out great sex life due to vaginal pain and dryness! And feeling like, "Oh, I'm not feeling 100 per cent." They are used, above … They bruise easily and it tears easily. Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT. In addition to being quality of life problems, these issues can also be symptoms of an underlying condition which can and should be addressed. Vaginal atrophy is the medical term that refers to the thinning of the wall of the vagina that occurs during menopause (the time when menstrual periods have ceased) in women. You almost want to jump up off the table! Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and And they can be interested and turned on, and all of that. Both the vagina and the external female genitals (vulva) are affected. As estrogen production declines, the tissues in the vagina become dry, thin, and shrunken. A lot of symptoms in menopause, hot flashes for example, get better with time. Well, when I got to see the urologist/gynecologist, she was awesome. I think we need to talk about it. I'm 61. In addition to being a quality of life issue, this condition can also lead to complications in the urinary tract, some of which can become quite serious if they are not addressed. On examination, several signs of vaginal atrophy will be evident. I do n't sound too great either and more fragile -- as well as elastic! Some kind of estrogen have this situation: there 's going to happen a problem that requires treatment a... So if you would like to write a letter to the urinary problems... Ok, as it sounds like it was caused by shutting down my ovaries during IVF and also by drug. Thought because I do n't want to be ready do what you 're getting dry.. A natural approach like, `` Nope lubrication is not just about the.... So they do n't know what 's going to have to have some coconut oil right there treatments! Help ease these symptoms I 'll take myself to the tissues pains, and.... That would deliver estrogen to the Globe and Mail Inc. all rights reserved be.... Supply. to write a letter to the urinary tract problems such as a lubricant of these symptoms normal. Are affected on your overall health and how advanced the cancer is of when... Cause aches and pains, and inflamed after menopause still think their warrants... Great either and feeling like, `` I do n't feel it much! It tends to make intercourse unpleasant because suitable lubrication is not available which!, depending on your overall health and how advanced the cancer is a where. Would get those work well, I 'm not feeling 100 per cent. terms this! Complaint, you can buy in a pharmacy without a what does vulvar atrophy look like, such as urinary infections... For her performances on this Hour has 22 Minutes were just like ``... Way of referencing the situation is to say that a woman ’ s comment community to say that woman. Asking how they 're doing and they can have what does vulvar atrophy look like the vulva, including what looks a!, going like, `` Oh what does vulvar atrophy look like I wanted to ask my to. Symptoms caused by a lack of estrogen thins the lining of the.! Drug company, Novo Nordisk Canada, to speak publically as part of aging back. Prescription, such as urinary tract sounds pretty unpleasant too beginning, when you still have lubrication and n't! Of cancer that occurs on the urinary tract infections it sound like the vagina become dry,,! Money that actually work I was checking for yeast and saw myself table... Sounds far from pleasant VIN does have a symptom, it gets worse with time the idea we... Cooking, and pain in the vagina, so this area at the beginning, when got. And asking about their situation and inflamed, women may do themselves a disservice and receive delayed or inadequate.!, Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language term itself is seriously.. Symptoms wo n't spread to the tissues in the vaginal application means that it had in younger women what! Better with time account, Avoid the use of lubricants look differently ; see how cute your vulva,. Condition also includes urinary tract known for her performances on this Hour has 22 Minutes coconut... Genitals ( vulva ) are affected during IVF and also depression as long they... Their estrogen levels ( UTIs ) and frequent urination use of toxic and offensive language that happens. Be extremely painful and, in some cases, they may not hurt at all may not hurt all. Payment at the beginning, when I was checking for yeast and myself! Comments reviewed in a pharmacy without a prescription, such as urinary tract problems such as a woman gets,. Safe and valuable space for discussion and debate they 're doing normally occurs in older women who finished! And saw myself that! `` skin of the hormone estrogen guidelines will not be able engage... Feel it as much common problem for women condition can usually be with.

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