Why am I Experiencing Vaginal Dryness?
Your vaginal health may change throughout your life, and it’s common to experience vaginal dryness at one point or another.
Understanding the cause of vaginal dryness can help you find the right treatment to improve your symptoms and your sexual health.
The Most Common Causes of Vaginal Dryness
Many of the causes of vaginal dryness are perfectly normal and the issue may eventually resolve itself, but you may be able to make changes that can make you more comfortable in the meantime.
Childbirth and breastfeeding
During pregnancy, your level of hormones increase and after you give birth these hormone levels drop. This can cause vaginal dryness and your vaginal tissue can shrink and become thinner, which can lead to symptoms including vaginal burning and itching. If you choose to breastfeed, your estrogen levels will continue to be low while you breastfeed.
After giving birth, or after stopping breastfeeding, your hormone levels will go back to normal and the vaginal symptoms should go away. In the meantime, however, there are products you can buy at the store to help relieve dryness and discomfort during sex.
Menopause, when a women stops menstruation, also causes a decrease in hormone levels and results in vaginal dryness for almost one in every three women. Symptoms caused by menopause can begin in a woman’s 40s or 50s. Lifestyle changes, medications, or vaginal rejuvenation treatments can help improve your vaginal health.
Surgery or another Treatment
Radiation, chemotherapy, or removal of the uterus or ovaries, can cause estrogen levels to drop and lead to vaginal dryness regardless of your age. Certain cancer treatments can make it unsafe for women to use medication that contain estrogen to treat vaginal dryness, which can limit your treatment options. Talk with your gynecologist about alternative medications to try that do not contain estrogen.
Treatment Options for Vaginal Dryness
If the problem is severe or ongoing, talk with your gynecologist about ways you can find relief. The most common and helpful treatments for women experiencing vaginal dryness include:
- Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizes. These products typically don’t contain estrogen and can be applied regularly or as needed.
- Estrogen therapy. Estrogen can be prescribed by your doctor in the form of a pill, a patch, or a cream. Women can also use vaginal estrogen in the form of a vaginal ring, a table inserted into the vagina, or a cream.
- Vaginal rejuvenation. Vaginal rejuvenation is an in-office treatment that can improve vaginal dryness, usually over the course of a few treatments.
Discuss your symptoms with your OBGYN to find the best treatment for you. Schedule an appointment at Women’s Health Services of Central Virginia.