While vaginal dryness can affect women of all ages, it is particularly prevalent during menopause, affecting over 50% of women between 45 and 55. Because the symptoms of vaginal dryness during menopause can be painful, it is important to understand the symptoms, causes, and treatments for vaginal dryness in order to overcome this condition. Read on to discover more.
Reasons for Vaginal Dryness before Menopause
Research says that 17% of women between the ages of 18 and 50 experience vaginal dryness during sex. This is primarily the result of not being sufficiently sexually aroused, which can be caused by reasons such as lack of foreplay, fatigue, and stress. Other reasons for vaginal dryness may include the use of hygiene products such as sprays and soaps. Some medications may also contribute to vaginal dryness.
Reasons for Vaginal Dryness during Menopause
During menopause, the ovaries stop producing estrogen, so its levels begin to decrease. One of the first signs of reduced estrogen levels caused by menopause is reduced lubrication during sex. Without estrogen, the skin and support tissues in the vagina become thinner and dryer.
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
In addition to a loss of lubrication and pain during sex, there are many other symptoms that are caused by vaginal dryness.
- Pain and irritation. Vaginal dryness can make it painful to sit, stand, exercise, urinate, or even work.
- Vaginal discharge. Many women find that their discharge changes, becoming more watery, discolored, and smelly, or it begins to be accompanied by a burning feeling.
- Loss of libido. Physical changes can be difficult to accept and the pain and discomfort caused by vaginal dryness can lead to a loss of self- confidence and libido.
What Can I Do to Overcome Vaginal Dryness?
If your vaginal dryness is causing significant pain and discomfort, you should visit your doctor in order to look for relief, and to rule out any more serious conditions. For less severe cases, there are simple ways to relieve vaginal dryness.
For example, make sure to avoid perfumed soaps. There are also a number of estrogen treatments, along with vaginal rings and creams, your doctor can discuss with you. In addition, there are many alternative remedies that help stimulate estrogen production.
For more specific vaginal dryness help, click on the link below.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- "Vaginal Dryness." Mayo Clinic Health Resource. 2007.
- The Changing Body: Menopause Handbook.(n.d)."Vulvovaginal Symptoms.".Retrieved from www.menopause.org.