I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of us have experienced vaginal dryness at some point in our lives. Most women tend to shy away from talking about this kind of stuff to their partners, friends and even doctors. Let’s break that pattern by encouraging each other to be more open and take the necessary steps to regain our sexual confidence and quality of life.
When we are talking about our vaginas, sex tends to come up often. The reality is that vaginal dryness can be very painful for many women of all ages during intercourse, before and after menopause, in turn, having a negative effect in women’s lives and relationships.
Have you ever had that burning sensation during sex when all you can think about is “oh my gosh my vagina is on fire”? Perhaps you have experienced, irritation or even bleeding after sex. You may even think to yourself that your vagina looks different. Isn’t it supposed to be pink and plump?
Fortunately, there are several treatments available to relieve the symptoms of vaginal dryness.
Vaginal dryness causes
Estrogen is a hormone that helps keep the tissues of the vagina lubricated and healthy. As menopause approaches, our estrogen levels decrease, and the lining of the vaginal wall becomes thinner, dryer and less elastic.
Estrogen levels may also drop for other reasons such as:
- Childbirth and breastfeeding
- Chemotherapy and or radiation
- Surgical menopause (removal of the ovaries)
- Anti-estrogen medicines used to treat breast cancer or endometriosis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
Vaginal dryness during menopause
Vaginal dryness is a common symptom experienced by women as they go through menopause. Estrogen levels decrease which causes the vaginal lining to become thinner and less elastic. Lack of moisture can become a reoccurring problem for some women as it can make intercourse painful and add stress to their relationship with their partner.
Vaginal dryness relief
Treatments for vaginal dryness may vary depending on the cause of your problem. There are several treatment options available; some can be prescribed by a doctor, other can be over the counter treatments and at home remedies.
- Lubricants and creams can help moisturize the vagina for several hours
- Topical estrogen when applied can reduce the overall dryness
- Staying sexually active will increase the blood flow
- Exercising regularly, this will aid with hormonal balance
- Staying well hydrated will help maintain healthy levels in the body
- Avoiding perfumed products including powders, soaps, and vaginal deodorants will keep your vagina healthy
- Stop smoking, smoking decreases estrogen levels
- Using CO2 fractional laser for vaginal rejuvenation can stimulate the production of collagen, helping your body to produce healthy vaginal tissues.
Vaginal dryness cream treatments
Estrogen creams and therapies can be an option for treatment when vaginal dryness is an issue. Some creams are available over the counter, and some may need to be prescribed by a doctor.
- Topical estrogen cream, this is a medical cream applied directly to the vaginal area
Examples of topical estrogen therapies include:
- Estring (vaginal ring). Example: this flexible ring is inserted into the vagina and continuously releases low amounts of estrogen into the tissue.
- Estrace, Premarin (vaginal cream). Example: an applicator is often used to apply the cream into the vagina.
- Vagifem (vaginal tablet). Example: this treatment also involves an applicator to place a tablet into the vagina.
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