Vaginal dryness is a common menopause symptom that can create a variety of associated side effects, including itching and pain. Dryness can also make sexual intercourse feel uncomfortable, which may affect your relationship. Luckily, you do not have to live with vaginal dryness, because there are creams available to address this symptom before it affects your well-being. However, it can be difficult to know which treatments to use and which to avoid; read on to understand some of the common misconceptions about vaginal dryness.
Sex Will Be Uncomfortable Until the Dryness Has Been Treated
Not necessarily. You can still enjoy comfortable and pleasurable sex with your partner, provided you use a lubricant. Over-the-counter- products (e.g., vitamin E products, oils, vaginal moisturizers, and water-based vaginal lubricants) can be applied intimately in place of the natural lubrication your body produces less of during menopause. Frequent sex could also ease vaginal dryness by increasing regular production of lubrication in the vagina.
Vaginal Creams Only Provide Temporary Relief
No. Creams are formulated to improve the overall health of vaginal tissues over long periods of time. Many contain phytoestrogens to help naturally replenish declining estrogen levels in order to treat vaginal dryness on a long-term basis with regular use.
Vaginal Creams Are Only Useful to Treat Dryness
No. Vaginal creams are slightly acidic to help fight infections, and this acidity prevents the likelihood of contracting a yeast infection (i.e., thrush).
Estrogen Creams Are the Best Treatment for Dryness
Not necessarily. Most menopause symptoms occur as a result of an imbalance of estrogen in the body, so it is natural to assume that estrogen creams are a safe form of treatment. However, though proven to address several menopause symptoms, including vaginal dryness, questions have been raised about the long-term health impact of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has been linked to several types of cancer. If your menopause symptoms become unbearable, talk to your doctor about the risks involved in HRT before opting for this form of treatment.
Creams Are the Only Solution to Dryness
No. As well as vaginal creams, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help combat vaginal dryness: drinking plenty of water aids hydration and helps the body's natural production of lubrication. Eating a balanced diet and incorporating regular exercise into your routine also boosts overall health, which can ease uncomfortable menopause symptoms.
Understanding the truths about the treatments for vaginal dryness will help you to make an informed decision about the most suitable course of action for treating your symptoms. Vaginal dryness is something no woman should have to tolerate; with treatment, you can rid yourself of the uncomfortable side effects of vaginal dryness and maintain a regular and pleasurable sex life.
- American Cancer Society. (2013). Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Cancer Risk. Retrieved January 15, 2014, from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/medicaltreatments/menopausal-hormone-replacement-therapy-and-cancer-risk
- Barrett-Connor, E. & Stuenkel, C.A. (2001). Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)- risks and benefits. The International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(3), 423-426. doi: 10.1093/ije/30.3.423
- National Health Service UK. (2013). Water and drinks. Retrieved January 15, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/water-drinks.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). Estrogen vaginal: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 15, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a606005.html