Are you experiencing painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness? Talk to your doctor.
What is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness is a condition where the vaginal wall tissue has thinned and lacks lubrication. Vaginal dryness can occur gradually due to decrease in estrogen production or secondary to previous use of medications. It is one of the main reasons why a woman may feel pain when having sexual intercourse.
What causes vaginal dryness?
- Decrease in vaginal estrogen due to menopause/perimenopause
- Decrease in vaginal estrogen due to breast feeding
- Medical therapy such as chemotherapy
- Recurrent yeast or bacterial infection
- Sjogren’s syndrome (rare autoimmune disorder)
What are the signs and symptoms of vaginal dryness?
Women suffering from vaginal dryness may display some of these signs and symptoms:
- Pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Itching/ discomfort around and at the lower part of the vagina
- Vaginal irritation
- Bleeding after having sex
- Urinary tract infections
When is vaginal dryness most likely to occur?
Vaginal dryness can occur in any woman. It is estimated that over 50% of women in menopause and post menopause experience symptoms. However, it can also occur in women who find themselves in stressful situations for long periods of time. It is also common in women soon after giving birth or who are breast feeding. If you have had chemotherapy treatment or radiation in the past this can also lead to vaginal dryness.
Are there natural vaginal dryness treatments?
Yes. Most of the non-hormonal treatments for vaginal dryness reduce symptoms of dryness but do not treat the underlying cause.
How is vaginal dryness diagnosed?
During a physical exam by your physician, vaginal dryness is a very common finding. Typically, if you are not complaining of symptoms, your physician may not mention the finding to you as it is only recommended that treatment be given to women with symptoms.
Vaginal Dryness Treatment
Before your physician treats you for vaginal dryness, they must first determine the cause of the condition. Decrease in estrogen is treated differently from other causes such as infections. If lack of estrogen is the cause from a perimenopause/ menopause state, then the main treatment involves vaginal estrogen cream.