A decrease in estrogen is one of the main reasons for vaginal dryness, although there are other reasons as well. It can occur at any time in a woman’s life, but is noticed especially during menopause. It makes sexual intercourse uncomfortable and even impossible. Let’s learn about how to manage vaginal dryness and the reasons why this occurs.
Common Causes of Vaginal Dryness
As already mentioned, when a woman reaches perimenopause and menopause, many changes occur like decreased estrogen. This is a pretty universal consequence of menopause. You can suffer through it, or do something to reverse it.
Need for Arousal
For many women, regardless of their age, if arousal is not sufficient, the vagina is not going to be lubricated enough for sex.
If you have cancer, you might not have been told that undergoing chemotherapy and radiation may cause vaginal dryness. This is a common cause, and besides dealing with the treatments, you also have to experience this uncomfortable problem.
Other causes of vaginal dryness include the following:
- Childbirth and breastfeeding
- Medications used to treat fibroids and endometriosis
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
- Certain antidepressants, cold and allergy medications, and douching
- Birth control pills
So the fact is: some women might have to deal with vaginal dryness many times during their lifetime.
Overcoming Painful Intercourse (Dyspareunia)
Talk with an OBGYN about options to help you overcome and manage vaginal dryness. You don’t have to live with it.
There are some natural ways, over-the-counter options, and prescription medications.
Prescription medications (HRT) include the Estring which is a ring inserted into the vagina to provide a steady stream of estrogen. It must be replaced every 3 months.
Another prescription (Vagifem) is a tablet with a disposable applicator placed in your vagina once a day for 2 weeks. Then twice a week until you no longer need it.
Next is a cream (Premarin) placed into your vagina every day for 1 to 2 weeks. After that it is only needed 1 to 3 times per week.
You can purchase over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers (Replens) at your local drug store. Water-based vaginal lubricants work best when applied just before intercourse.
There is a procedure known as Vaginal Rejuvenation which uses lasers to encourage collagen production resulting in healthier vaginal tissue.
Tried and True
Lastly, don’t underestimate the simple technique of better and longer arousal times. Take you time, and work with your partner to find ways to lengthen arousal time and provide increased lubrication in your vagina.