What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
The walls of the vagina are lubricated with a thin layer of clear fluid. This fluid helps keep the lining of your vagina healthy, thick, and elastic. This fluid is maintained by the hormone estrogen, but sometimes, factors cause a reduction in the amount of moisture in your vagina.
Vaginal dryness can occur at any age for a variety of reasons. While sometimes vaginal dryness just causes minor irritation, other times it can have a significant impact on your sex life.
Luckily, there are numerous treatments available that can relieve vaginal dryness. Learn the symptoms, causes, and treatments of vaginal dryness here.
Vaginal Dryness Symptoms
Vaginal dryness may include these symptoms:
– Burning, itching, or soreness in the vagina
– Mild vaginal discharge
– Pain during intercourse
– Light bleeding that occurs after intercourse
Vaginal Dryness Causes
There are a number of factors that can contribute to vaginal dryness but the most common cause is low estrogen.
Estrogen is a hormone that helps keep the tissues within your vagina healthy and lubricated. When the body doesn’t produce enough estrogen, you may experience vaginal dryness.
Other factors that can cause vaginal dryness include:
– Perimenopause or menopause
– Childbirth and breastfeeding
– Douching and using certain soaps, lotions, and perfumes around your vaginal area
– Cancer treatments like radiation or chemotherapy
– Certain autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome
– Anti-estrogen medications used to treat endometriosis or uterine fibroids
– Anxiety and stress
– Antihistamines found in allergy, asthma, and cold medicine
– Low sexual desire or not enough foreplay before intercourse
How Is Vaginal Dryness Diagnosed?
If you think you have vaginal dryness, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to determine if the walls of your vagina are thin, red, or pale.
Your doctor may also perform tests to determine if you are experiencing symptoms of perimenopause or menopause. In addition, your vaginal discharge may be tested, which can help tell whether or not you are experiencing vaginal dryness or another issue.
Vaginal Dryness Treatment
Treatment for vaginal dryness depends on the underlying cause. The most common vaginal dryness treatments include creams, lubricants, and estrogen.
Creams and lubricants can help moisten the vagina for several hours.
Estrogen therapy can also help alleviate vaginal dryness and is available as a cream, tablet, or a ring that is inserted into the vagina.
Estrogen cream is inserted into the vagina with an applicator – typically daily for one to two weeks, then cut back to one to three times a week. Similarly, estrogen tablets are inserted into the vagina with an applicator daily for two weeks. An estrogen ring can be inserted by you or your doctor. The ring releases a steady stream of estrogen directly into the vaginal tissues.
Products for vaginal dryness such as Replens are also available at your local drugstore.
If you frequently experience pain during or after intercourse, be sure to take your time before having sex. Make sure you are fully aroused and relaxed. You may also find using a water-based lubricant can help.
Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
There are also natural remedies for vaginal dryness you may like to try. As always, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any natural remedies.
Coconut oil for vaginal dryness
Some women have found that using coconut oil around the vaginal area can help with dryness. Although there is little research on coconut oil as a lubricant, studies have shown that coconut oil has great moisturizing capabilities for other skin conditions. Thanks to its function as a barrier, antibacterial properties, and moisturizing ability, coconut oil is an accessible and inexpensive natural remedy for vaginal dryness.
There are also various foods that may help vaginal dryness when consumed. Soybeans, for example, contain substances called isoflavones. Studies show that isoflavones may work similarly to estrogen in the body. Consuming foods rich in soy (like soy milk, soybeans, and tofu), may improve your symptoms.
Call OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch for Help With Vaginal Dryness
At OB-GYN Women’s Center, our goal is for you to feel your best. We understand talking about vaginal dryness can be difficult, so we want to help. If have any concerns about vaginal dryness or another related issue, contact us to schedule an appointment.