Many women have vaginal dryness at some point in their lives. Vaginal dryness is a common condition that affects several vagina owners, particularly those going through menopause or breastfeeding. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal changes, medications, and certain health conditions.
The Channel 46 collaborated with Dr Reema Shah (MBBS, Ob-Gyn), Clinical Lead at Pinky Promise, to discuss all you need to know about vaginal dryness.
4 Possible Signs Of Vaginal Dryness
In some cases, vaginal dryness can lead to the following symptoms:
- Pain during sex
If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, don’t lose hope! This is a really common condition that is unfortunately clouded in secrecy and shame. When diagnosed properly, managing vaginal dryness is quite easy and with the right support, your days of discomfort, pain and dryness can soon be done with!
2 Treatment Options For Vaginal Dryness
The available treatment options are as below:
- Lifestyle changes, such as using a water-based lubricant during sexual activity
- Hormone therapy
It’s important to remember that experiencing vaginal dryness is nothing to be ashamed of, and seeking help from a healthcare professional is always a good idea. With the right care and attention, it’s possible to manage vaginal dryness and continue living a happy, healthy life.
3 Common Causes Of Vaginal Dryness
1. Hormonal Changes
One of the most important culprits for vaginal dryness is hormonal changes. Oestrogen levels are directly linked to the amount of moisture in the vagina. Oestrogen helps keep the vaginal tissues healthy and lubricated, so a decrease in the levels of this hormone can lead to dryness of the vagina.
During menopause, the levels of oestrogen in a woman’s body naturally decline, which can cause a range of symptoms, including vaginal dryness. For many women, using a lube is more than enough. For others experiencing a range of menopausal symptoms can lead to dryness down there.
2. Hormonal Therapy
Gynaecologists sometimes recommend hormone therapy, also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This involves taking medications that contain hormones to help relieve the symptoms of menopause.
Oestrogen therapy is the most common type of hormone therapy used to treat vaginal dryness in menopausal women. This therapy involves using oestrogen in different forms, such as pills, creams, rings, or patches, to increase the levels of oestrogen in the body.
Oestrogen therapy can help improve vaginal dryness in several ways. It can increase blood flow to the vaginal area, which can improve vaginal lubrication and reduce discomfort during sex. It can also help increase the thickness and elasticity of the vaginal tissues, which can reduce the risk of vaginal infections and other complications.
Oestrogen therapy can be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as vaginal moisturisers or lubricants, to help relieve the symptoms of vaginal dryness. However, it’s important to note that this therapy may have some risks and side effects, especially for women with a history of certain medical conditions, such as breast cancer, heart disease, or stroke.
Therefore, it’s important to consult a doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of oestrogen therapy. An expert opinion will also enable you to determine the appropriate treatment option for you based on your individual medical history and symptoms.
Other treatments for vaginal dryness, such as non-hormonal medications or natural remedies, may also be recommended depending on your situation.
If you have recently delivered a baby, you may also be experiencing vaginal dryness. During pregnancy, oestrogen levels rise significantly, which can lead to increased blood flow and lubrication in the vaginal area. However, after giving birth, oestrogen levels drop rapidly, which can cause the vaginal tissues to become dry, thin, and less elastic.
Additionally, if a postpartum woman is breastfeeding, the hormone prolactin can further suppress oestrogen levels and exacerbate vaginal dryness. This can cause discomfort, itching, and pain during sexual activity or other vaginal procedures. Fortunately, there are several ways to manage vaginal dryness during the postpartum period, such as using a water-based lubricant or consulting with a healthcare professional about hormone therapy options.
Apart from hormonal reasons, stress is a huge reason for vaginal dryness because stress plays a role in affecting the hormonal balance too! Additionally, medicines like antihistamines and antidepressants, medical conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome, and certain soaps, perfumes, and douches can irritate the vagina and lead to dryness.
5 Preventive Hacks For Vaginal Dryness
If you experience vaginal dryness, there are several things you can do to take care of yourself:
1. Use Lubricants
Lubricants can help reduce friction during sex and relieve discomfort. There are many types of lubricants available, so it’s important to find one that works for you.
2. Avoid Irritants
Avoid using products that can irritate the vagina, such as scented soaps and perfumes.
3. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water can help keep the body hydrated, including the vagina.
4. Wear Breathable Clothes
Wearing loose clothing of a breathable material like cotton to help reduce irritation and keep the vagina dry. Avoid synthetic materials as that lead to the accumulation of sweat, making it the right breeding ground for bacteria and virus-induced infections.
5. Practise Good Hygiene
Keeping the vagina clean and dry can help reduce the risk of infections and other issues.
When To Contact A Doctor?
If you experience vaginal dryness that is persistent or severe, you should contact a doctor. They can help determine the underlying cause of your dryness and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Vaginal dryness is a common condition that can cause discomfort and pain. There are many reasons why women experience vaginal dryness, but there are also preventive measures to combat it,
If you experience persistent or severe vaginal dryness, it’s important to contact a doctor to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. By taking care of yourself and seeking medical attention when needed, you can reduce the impact of vaginal dryness in your life.
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