What Is Vaginal Dryness?

Vaginal dryness is a result of depleted estrogen levels. It is a common condition for many women who are going through menopause. Vaginal dryness can also happen at other times in a woman’s life for several reasons. Treatment for this condition may involve estrogen replacement therapy.

A Female Taboo: Vaginal Dryness Cause and Effect

Although menopause is the most common cause of vaginal dryness, because of low estrogen levels, it may also be due to other conditions which decrease estrogen. These include breastfeeding, smoking, immune disorder, or oophorectomy. The estrogen hormone helps to keep the vagina lubricated, maintain its elasticity, and keep a healthy pH balance. When it is reduced, it causes the vaginal tissues to thin and produce less lubrication.

Vaginal dryness can cause a burning or itching sensation. It can also result in painful intercourse and light bleeding after intercourse. These symptoms can cause anxiety and depression for some women, who may feel uncomfortable discussing the condition with their doctor.

Speaking out and seeking treatment

Vaginal dryness is not something women should feel embarrassed about. It is a common condition for women of all ages. In fact, 25% of women who take birth control pills experience vaginal dryness. The good news is, vaginal dryness can be easily treated. The first step is talking to a doctor. Although this can be a difficult subject to talk about discussing symptoms with a physician is important in finding a  solution. Writing down the symptoms and giving the list to the doctor at the beginning of the appointment can also help.

Next stop: treatment options

Once any serious conditions have been ruled out, there are several treatment options which will lubricate the vagina in a natural way. Low-dose estrogen creams can be applied with the finger inside the vagina and to the labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening. They are very effective and have minimal side effects. Estrogen tablets and vaginal rings which slowly release estrogen are equally effective. Hormone-free vaginal moisturizers and lubricants are available.

Supplementing your vaginal health

Nutritional supplements, such as vitamin E, may also help to reduce vaginal dryness. It works by boosting the supply of blood to the vaginal walls. The suggested dose is 50–400 IU per day. Vitamin D also reduces vaginal dryness and balanced vaginal pH. The suggested dose is 600 IU daily.

Vaginal dryness is a common problem which affects 50% of women during menopause. Although many women feel it is an embarrassing question, it is one that should be addressed. There are several solutions which can treat vaginal dryness very effectively.