The vagina is naturally lubricated with vaginal lubrication. This helps keep the organ moist. When a woman is sexually excited, the lubrication increases significantly. However, women in the age group of 40 to 50 years often complain of vaginal dryness. These women come under the perimenopausal and menopausal age and cause a lot of discomfort during sexual intercourse.
What is Vaginal Dryness?
Vaginal dryness is lack of vaginal lubrication. The cervix and the Bartholin’s gland produce lubrication to keep the vagina dry. However, when both these organs do not produce enough moisture, it leads to dryness in the vagina. The lubrication helps keep infections away and make sex easier for women. It also helps remove dead cells and keep the vagina clean. Vaginal lubrication is slightly acidic in nature that helps keep away yeast infections like thrush.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
Vaginal dryness can occur at any age. However, it is more common in perimenopausal and menopausal women. It is also seen in women who have just given birth, breastfeeding and even during menstruation in some woman. It occurs due to the decrease in levels of estrogen in the body The low levels of estrogen cause the thinning of the vaginal lining. This makes the vaginal tissues dry and prone to inflammation. Estrogen also helps keep the vaginal tissue elasticity and maintains acidity. 0ther causes of low estrogen levels include:
- Ovarian cancer therapies that affects the production of lubrication
- Medications like decongestants can also cause decrease in vaginal moisture for a temporary period
- Use of anti-estrogen medication for treatment of breast cancer
- Autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s syndrome
- Stress, emotional upheaval
- Rigorous exercise
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is indicated by:
- Burning sensation in the vagina
- Intense itching around the vaginal opening
- Soreness near vaginal lips
- Increase in urinary tract infections
- Painful intercourse
- Light bleeding during sex
- Lack of sexual arousal
- Relationship problems with partner due to fear and anxiety of pain during intercourse
Solution for Vaginal Dryness
Many women do not talk about vaginal dryness to their doctor. It is very important to tell your doctor about your pain and irritation. It will help you get a solution that will make your sex life better as well as reduce infection.
In order to reduce vaginal dryness, one can be advised a low dose estrogen pill, patch or cream. This helps in reducing the effects of low estrogen levels due to menopause. Some may be given an estrogen ring to be inserted into the vagina that helps in releasing estrogen doses.
Other than estrogen, one can apply vaginal moisturizers every 2 to 3 days. This will help in keeping the vaginal tissues moist, healthy and maintain their elasticity. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Apply petroleum jelly to the vagina to increase moisture.
If you are suffering from vaginal dryness, speak to your medical practitioner. Treatment of the underlying problem is the best way for many women to overcome the effects of vaginal dryness.
Date last updated: February 23, 2015