Vaginal dryness occurs when a lack of lubrication in the vagina leads to feels of burning and itching, as well as pain during sexual intercourse. While vaginal dryness occurs in women of all ages, it's a common symptom of menopause.
What Are the Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness?
Vaginal dryness is often associated with the following symptoms:
- Pain or light bleeding during sex
- A feeling of pressure on the vagina.
What Are the Causes of Vaginal Dryness?
There is a host of conditions that may be responsible for vaginal dryness. These include:
- Decreased estrogen levels
- Chronic yeast infections
- Vaginal bacterial infection
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Certain medications
- Sexually transmitted diseases
What Are the Treatments for Vaginal Dryness and Itching?
Fortunately, there are several treatments available for vaginal dryness and itching.
Check your soap
The vagina produces its own biological bacterial control, mainly by maintaining a natural level of pH acidity. Use a hypoallergenic soap with no dyes or fragrances.
If your vaginal dryness and itching is a reaction to a substance that you are allergic to, you may wish to consider an allergy test to identify the trigger. Two common allergens are the fragrances and dyes found in laundry detergent and toilet paper. It may be a good idea to change to not scented laundry detergent and toilet paper, just in case.
If the sensation of dryness is only occasional, use a water-based lubricant during sexual intercourse. Avoid oil based solutions (such as Vaseline) which tend to clog up pores and dissolve condoms.
Talk to your doctor
A dermatological problem may be causing vaginal dryness and itching. This can be treated with prescription creams or antibiotics.
Maintain a healthy sex-life
When you have sex on a regular basis the body naturally increases the amount of vaginal lubrication and reduces the amount of vaginal dryness and itching. Sexual activity is important in reducing the thinning and drying effects on the vaginal tissue.
Since most symptoms of menopause, including vaginal dryness are caused by hormonal imbalances, re-stabilizing hormones is also a good way to counter the effects of vaginal dryness.
Click on the following link for more specific information concerning treatments for vaginal dryness and itching.
- "Vaginal Dryness". Mayo Clinic Health Resource. 2007
- "Vulvovaginal Symptoms". The Changing Body: Menopause Handbook. www.menopause.org
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.