Menopause can bring with it a number of unpleasant symptoms, like hot flashes, night sweats, and hair loss. Another menopause symptom that affects many women is vaginal dryness. This symptom can significantly disrupt a woman's life, and there are a number of myths surrounding it that can make women feel embarrassed or reluctant to seek treatment. Continue reading for three of the common myths about vaginal dryness.
MYTH: You Should Be Ashamed of Your Vaginal Dryness
Though vaginal dryness occurs in an area of the body that is widely considered taboo, you shouldn't feel ashamed of this condition. Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause. Taboos change over time and are dictated by social norms and prejudices rather than truth.
Issues concerning the vagina are not talked about openly, meaning many women are too embarrassed to seek treatment. It is important to remember that your doctor has seen and heard about all manner of problems, and that vaginal dryness is a perfectly natural and very common issue. Your doctor will not be embarrassed or shocked, and you need not be, either.
MYTH: Sex Is Impossible with Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is caused by fluctuating estrogen levels, which cause the vagina to lose its usually soft and moist lining. This can make intercourse unpleasant and even painful, but not impossible. Engaging in sexual activity with your partner will lead to increased blood flow to the vaginal area, which can help increase moisture levels.
If you are experiencing severe vaginal dryness, lubricants are available that can make intercourse easier. If you do use a lubricant, you should ensure that it is water based, colorless, and fragrance-free. If intercourse remains painful because of vaginal dryness, alternative approaches to intimacy do exist.
MYTH: Vaginal Dryness Is Rare
Because it is not openly spoken about, it may seem that vaginal dryness is a rare condition. In reality, it is quite the opposite. Vaginal dryness is one of the most common menopause symptoms. It is caused by the hormone imbalances that occur inside your body during this time. Estrogen helps regulate things like the menstrual cycle and fluid and sodium intake. When estrogen levels are disrupted, it may result in the loss of moisture along the vaginal wall.
Though vaginal dryness may feel embarrassing and out of your control, remember that scores of other women experience it, too, and there are ways to overcome it. Communicate openly with your partner and your doctor, and don't feel ashamed to seek treatment. For more information about this menopause symptom, explore the links below.
- Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Sex after the menopause. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/women4060/Pages/sex-after-the-menopause.aspx