For many women, menopause can be a difficult transition. This is especially true for women experiencing unpleasant symptoms, such as vaginal dryness. One of the more frustrating, painful, and often embarrassing menopausal symptoms, vaginal dryness affects more than 60% of all women going through menopause.
While it is not possible to prevent vaginal dryness, there are many different treatment options available for managing your symptoms. Read on to learn more about the causes of vaginal dryness during menopause and what you can do to manage this condition.
Estrogen, Lifestyle, and Other Causes of Vaginal Dryness
As with most menopausal symptoms, vaginal dryness is due to a decrease in estrogen production. This causes your vaginal walls to become thinner, a condition known as atrophy. There is also less blood flow and, therefore, less lubrication in your pelvic organs, leading to unpleasant symptoms like itching, burning, and pain during intercourse.
Though menopause is the primary reason for vaginal dryness in most women, certain triggers can worsen the problem, including:
Douching. Cleansing your vagina with liquid can cause it to become dry and irritated.
Emotional problems. Psychological and emotional factors such as excessive stress, depression, and anxiety all work to prevent sexual arousal, increasing the likelihood of vaginal dryness.
Medications. Many over-the-counter medications, anti- estrogen medications, certain antidepressants, and especially cold and allergy medications containing decongestants diminish moisture levels in your vagina and throughout your body.
Soaps, hand lotions, vinegar, etc. Many women seeking relief to vaginal dryness will attempt applying lotions and other products to their vagina. Though these methods can provide temporary relief, they often make the problem worse over the long term.
Making certain lifestyle changes can relieve vaginal dryness. Avoiding products that make worsen your symptoms and actively reducing your stress should alleviate your vaginal dryness. If, however, these methods prove ineffective, you may want to consider herbal remedies or prescription medications. A medical professional can help you choose the right product for relieving your symptoms.
Vaginal dryness during menopause is painful, but it doesn't have to take over your life. Understanding what causes your symptoms will allow you to find the best means of relief. Click on the link below for more information about vaginal dryness treatments.
- 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.