What to Do About Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness affects women of all ages and is especially common as women age. The important role of estrogen in vaginal lubrication means that women with declining estrogen levels are impacted the most. Vaginal dryness is more than a mere annoyance; it has a far-reaching impact on women’s sexual wellness.
Here at Caring for Women’s Health gynecologist Dr. Lori Davidson dedicates her practice to helping women maintain health throughout all phases of life. Vaginal dryness is a subject that comes up often when women are transitioning through menopause and sometimes years after. The first thing we want women to know is that vaginal dryness is treatable.
Women don’t have to suffer from uncomfortable symptoms that impact their sexual health.
Why does vaginal dryness occur?
The female hormone estrogen plays a key role in women’s wellness. Maintaining the integrity of vaginal tissues is one way it contributes to sexual health. Estrogen keeps the lining of the vaginal tissue lubricated, thick, and flexible.
Lack of moisture can cause vaginal atrophy, a condition where vaginal tissue becomes thin
and dry. When the ovaries wind down their estrogen production, many women begin noticing vaginal dryness, among other issues.
Other factors that can cause or contribute to vaginal dryness include:
Certain autoimmune conditions (Sjogren’s syndrome)
Certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants etc.)
How does vaginal dryness impact wellness?
Vaginal tissue that becomes dry, thin, and less elastic is more fragile, it tears easily, and is easily irritated. This can cause sex to feel uncomfortable and even painful. Lower estrogen results in decreased sensation, reducing a woman’s pleasure and causing weaker orgasms. Many women report that vaginal dryness negatively impacts their sex life. Some women express feeling less feminine as a result.
A satisfying sex life is important during all phases of life. Painful sex can interfere with gratifying sex and have a negative impact on intimate relationships and self-esteem.
The impact of vaginal dryness extends beyond sexual health. Decreased estrogen causes the lining of the urinary tract to become thin, leading to symptoms like frequent urge to urinate, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections.
Other symptoms that accompany vaginal dryness include vaginal:
Treating vaginal dryness
Fortunately, women have several options for treating vaginal dryness and getting relief from related symptoms. Dr. Davidson will first perform a thorough exam and discuss your health history and symptoms.
A pelvic exam helps Dr. Davidson spot changes in the vaginal wall to rule out other causes of vaginal dryness, such as an infection.
Restoring the estrogen your body no longer makes is an effective way to treat vaginal dryness and other symptoms related to low estrogen levels. Estrogen replacement is available in various forms including:
With the help of a gynecological professional, you can gain control and put a stop to vaginal dryness. Call our Greenwood, Indiana office and speak with one of our team members to learn more and schedule an appointment with Dr. Davidson or book online today.