Painful sex, itching and burning are some symptoms of vaginal dryness. Also known as vaginal atrophy, this refers to the medical terminology used to refer to the thinning of the inner wall of the vagina which occurs usually during menopause. The walls of the vagina are usually plump, full of moisture and quite rich in colour. A change in discharge, absence of fluid is vaginal dryness. But what causes these changes, how is it diagnosed and how to prevent it? Here are some answers to some vital questions about vaginal dryness.
Causes Of Vaginal Dryness & Atrophy
Now, that we know what, by definition vaginal atrophy and dryness are, let us see what can be underlying conditions that can lead to the same. Besides vaginal dryness before periods and during menopause, below listed are some of the causes that have been associated with vaginal dryness and atrophy:
- Childbirth and breastfeeding
- Common treatments of cancer like chemotherapy and radiation
- Surgical removal of ovaries called surgical menopause
- Intake of anti-estrogen drugs for cancer treatments or endometriosis.
- Not enough foreplay before sex
Besides the causes mentioned above, there are other causes as well. These includes:
1. Sjögren’s Syndrome: This is an autoimmune disorder that involves extreme inflammation of salivary and tears glands. This can also lead to a similar inflammation of the walls surrounding the vagina and hence, can cause dryness.
2. Antihistamines: These drugs are used for cold and allergy treatments and can result in vaginal atrophy as a side effect of the same.
3. Antidepressants: Taking depressants can have side-effects which include vaginal dryness.
Symptoms Of Vaginal Dryness & Atrophy
Here are some vaginal dryness symptoms that are observed in women:
- Vaginal itching
- Tightening of the vaginal opening
- Narrowing of vagina
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Urinary symptoms
- Memory problems
How To Diagnose Vaginal Dryness?
If you feel any changes in your vaginal health or any of the following symptoms. Consult a doctor.
- Intercourse pain
- Vaginal dryness during sex
If so, then the doctor would most likely carry out a pelvic examination and study your health history to get a better perspective of the causes of the vaginal dryness in your body. A pelvic examination helps the doctor check for the vaginal changes and rule out other possibilities of discomfort and uneasiness like some intimate infection. To diagnose vaginal atrophy, there are no fixed tests.
Vaginal dryness during sex or symptoms like vaginal dryness and itching can be a matter of concern and requires you to see the doctor on immediate terms.
Home Remedies For Vaginal Dryness & Atrophy
Following are some home remedies for vaginal dryness so that we could lessen the dryness and regain the moisture:
1. Indulging In Regular Sex
Having sex frequently or on regular basis is one of the widely recommended remedies. When a woman is aroused blood flow to her genitals increases which lead to moisture production. It pleasures a woman more if there is adequate foreplay and arousal is involved before sex.
2. Using Hygiene Products
Normal body products like creams and soaps contain fragrances and dyes that not only irritate and dry out vaginal walls but also alters the pH which is harmful to our intimate health. There are vagina-specific products with no fragrances and harmful chemicals and are soft on vaginal walls. This helps in maintaining hygienic intimate health without harming our genitals.
3. Eating Food Containing Phytoestrogens
We studied how the main reason for vaginal dryness is the declining level of estrogen in a woman’s body. To cope up with this deficiency of estrogen, doctors recommend estrogen-rich foods like soy, nuts, seeds and tofu. Phytoestrogens are very closely related to improvement in vaginal dryness and hot flashes.
4. Wearing The Right Underwear
Underwear is the fabric that we wear that is closest to our vagina. And hence, the quality of underwear you wear matters a lot and contributes to your intimate health. If you are regularly using underwear made up of synthetic material, the irritation around the area can worsen and result in restricted air movement. This can cause rashes and vaginal infections. Use cotton underwear for comfort and better ventilation.
5. Use Of Lubricants
Apart from these, some lubricants like coconut oil, jojoba, aloe vera are used which also act as natural vaginal moisturizers without any side effects in the long run. Water-based, glycerin-free lubricants help in vaginal dryness and itching and dryness during sex too.
Medical Treatments For Vaginal Dryness & Atrophy
The most common medical treatment for vaginal atrophy pr dryness is topical estrogen therapy. In this therapy, the estrogen intake is much less as compared to pills and hence it faces lower risks of side effects. Some known vaginal dryness treatments are:
1. Vaginal Ring (Estring)
This includes a flexible ring being inserted into the vagina where it secretes small amounts of estrogen into vaginal tissues. Replace the ring every 90 days.
2. Vaginal Cream (Estrace)
In this method, an applicator is used to apply the cream into the vagina. This acts as a vaginal moisturizer and keeps it moisturized and devoid of dryness.
3. Vaginal Tablet (Vagifem)
This includes an applicator to place tablets into the vagina and can be a little riskier.
- Vaginal dryness before periods and during menopausal span is a common occurrence in women.
- Visit a gynaecologist if the vaginal dryness is accompanied by itching and burning sensation.
- Vaginal dryness can cause utmost irritation and unease in the pelvic region. There can be many underlying causes that we need to take care of.
- Regular sex and good lubrication are very important to maintain the moisture of the vaginal tract.
- Avoid using normal body products and switch to intimate hygienic products. They help in maintaining a good pH level of our genitals.
- Stress and addictions like smoking, drugs and alcohol can also result in vaginal dryness with greater severity.
- If none of these remedies seems to work and be effective, kindly consult your doctor for medical treatment.
- You don’t have to stress about vaginal atrophy, this is a just normal condition and good intimate healthcare can cure it.
- Always visit your idea if you can and get a professional opinion to resolve issues like vaginal dryness effectively.