What to Know About Vaginal Dryness

What to Know About Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness can happen at any age but is common during or after menopause as estrogen levels decline. Learn more about its symptoms and causes and what you can do to minimize it.

Your Body

From Women's Health Foundation

Although vaginal dryness can happen at any age, it is common during or after menopause. Vaginal walls are coated with a thin layer of moisture. As estrogen levels decline during menopause, the amount of moisture drops and its consistency changes. As a result, the vaginal walls become thinner and inflamed.

Common symptoms of vaginal dryness include:

    • Itchiness, burning, discomfort, and soreness around vaginal walls
    • Frequent and urgent urination
    • Light bleeding or pain during intercourse
    • Slight vaginal discharge
    • Recurrent urinary tract infections

Influences/Causes

        The main cause of vaginal dryness is a decreased level of estrogen. The following conditions contribute to reduced estrogen levels:
        • Menopause
        • Childbirth
        • Breast-feeding
        • Cigarette smoking
        • Radiation and hormone treatment around pelvic areas
        • Chemotherapy
        • Anti-estrogen medications, such as those used to treat breast cancer
      The vagina can be further inflamed or irritated due to:
      • Immune disorders
      • Douching
      • Certain tampons and condoms

Treatments/Remedies

      To minimize vaginal dryness, avoid douching, lotions, perfumes and scented soaps, and try one or more of these strategies:
      • Vaginal moisturizing creams, usually available without a prescription
      • Water-soluble vaginal lubricants (for use during sex)
      • Prescription estrogen, available as a ring, tablet, or cream
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