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Sometimes during or after menopause, women experience vaginal dryness. In fact, about one out of three women deal with it while going through menopause. While commonly occurring around menopause, it can happen at any age and for various reasons. Generally, vaginal dryness is the result of low estrogen levels in the body. The hormone, estrogen, helps keep the lining of the vagina lubricated, thick, and elastic. Many women experience vaginal dryness each year, but they do not seek help. This may be because they do not realize it is an issue they can get help for or they are embarrassed to seek help for it.
Vaginal dryness can lead to a variety of problems including painful sex and the loss of sexual desire as well as discomfort during sports and physical activity. It may also increase the risk of vaginal infections.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
- surgical removal of the ovaries
- chemotherapy and radiation
- anti-estrogen drugs
- reduced blood supply to the vagina
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Flammer syndrome
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
People with vaginal dryness may experience:
- vaginal itching
- pain during sex
- discomfort during physical activity
- higher risk of vaginal infections/urinary tract infections
- lower levels of natural vaginal secretions
- tightening of the vaginal opening
- narrowing of the vagina
Treating Vaginal Dryness
Unfortunately, there is no single test to diagnose vaginal dryness. However, a doctor will base a diagnosis on any symptoms you may be having. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available including some over-the-counter and prescription options. Some treatments include:
Topical Estrogen Treatment- A medicated cream applied directly to the vagina can help relieve symptoms. This may include using a vaginal ring replaced every 90 days, vaginal cream applied according to a prescription, and a vaginal tablet placed in the vagina. These options replace some of the estrogen hormones that your body is no longer making.
Over-The-Counter Treatments- This includes lubricants and vaginal moisturizers to increase moisture.
Prescriptions- An oral drug can be taken once a day.
It is important to avoid some products that irritate or dry vaginal tissue. Avoid using douches, fragrant soaps, bubble baths, and lotions around the vaginal area.
Contact Our Female OBGYN Provider
At Central Park South Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates, we are here to help you with vaginal dryness and pain during sex. If you have been trying different treatments or home remedies for a few weeks and it is not improving, give our office a call. Also give us a call if the dryness and pain are affecting your daily life, causing you to bleed, or you are having unusual discharge. Our compassionate team can help determine the issue and provide you with the best treatment option. Call us today for more information or to schedule services.