Causes of Vaginal Dryness
Falling oestrogen levels are often the cause of vaginal dryness. Women begin to produce less oestrogen as they age. This leads to the end of menstruation during a time called perimenopause.
However, menopause isn’t the only condition that causes a decrease in oestrogen production. Other causes include:
- cigarette smoking
- excessive stress
- immune system disorders, such as Sjögren syndrome
- rigorous exercise
- some cancer treatments, such as radiation to the pelvis, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy
- surgical removal of the ovaries
Some medications can also reduce secretions in the body. Douching may also cause dryness and irritation, as well as some creams and lotions that are applied to the vaginal area. This is one of the many reasons that women should only use a douche if prescribed by a physician
When to seek medical help
Vaginal dryness rarely indicates a serious medical condition. If you are experiencing painful sex because of temporary vaginal dryness, making use of a water based lubricant may solve the problem. But seek help if the discomfort lasts beyond a few days or if you experience continued discomfort during sexual intercourse. If left untreated, vaginal dryness can cause sores or cracking in the vagina’s tissues.
If the condition is accompanied by severe vaginal bleeding, seek immediate medical attention.
During an exam, your doctor may examine the vaginal walls to look for lacerations or feel for thinning skin. They may also take a sample of vaginal discharge to test for the presence of harmful bacteria.
Additionally, hormone tests can determine if you are in perimenopause or menopause.
How is vaginal dryness treated?
There are many over-the-counter lubricants that can be applied to the vaginal area to reduce dryness and discomfort. These lubricants and moisturising creams can also change the vagina’s pH, reducing the likelihood of getting a UTI.
Women should choose a lubricant specifically intended for vaginal use. The lubricant should be water-based. They shouldn’t contain perfumes, herbal extracts, or artificial colours. These can cause irritation.
Lubricants such as petroleum jelly and mineral oil will damage latex condoms and diaphragms used for birth control.
In some instances, a healthcare provider may prescribe oestrogen therapy in the form of a pill, cream, or ring, which release oestrogen. Creams and rings release oestrogen directly to the tissues. Pills are more likely to be used when you have other uncomfortable menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes.
Because many products can irritate delicate vaginal skin, it’s important to seek evaluation and treatment advice at a physician’s office if the condition persists.
How can I prevent vaginal dryness?
Refrain from using irritating products, such as douches. Avoid condoms that contain nonoyxnol-9, or N-9. They have a chemical that can cause vaginal dryness. Have a lubricant on hand to assist when you feel that you are experiencing a bout of vaginal dryness. It’s important to know that age, or reproductive-related changes to the vagina can’t be prevented.
Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort in the vaginal and pelvic regions. There are several causes for this condition.
Vaginal dryness is rarely a serious, and there are several treatments that can help treat it. There are also ways that you can help prevent it.
However, if you experience vaginal dryness that doesn’t go away, discuss it with your doctor so they can help you find the right treatment.