Suffering from exterior dry skin is one thing, but suffering from interior vaginal dryness is a whole different issue. Vaginal dryness can be caused by a myriad of things, such as hormonal changes, stress, anxiety, and certain medications…
…and it can affect women of all ages.
Sure, there are ways to fight off these dry spells; hormone therapy, for instance, or various kinds of vaginal moisturizers and lubricants, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that vaginal dryness is frustrating, unpleasant, and disruptive to everyday life — especially if you are in a sexually active relationship.
Unfortunately, one of the main results of vaginal dryness is painful, uncomfortable sexual intercourse, which would explain why vaginal dryness is one of the most common reasons women might experience a decreased desire for sex, become less aroused, or just back away from the idea of intercourse in general. Although vaginal dryness shows no age discrimination, it’s most commonly seen in older woman who are going through perimenopause or menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen being produced in the body. This female hormone, estrogen, keeps vaginal tissue healthy and is a crucial component to the production of vaginal lubrication, tissue elasticity, and acidity. Aside from perimenopause and menopause, reduced estrogen levels in the body can also be caused by childbirth, breast-feeding, smoking cigarettes, immune disorders, effects on the ovaries from cancer therapy, ovary removal surgery, or use of anti-estrogen medication.
Treatment for vaginal dryness depends on the cause. Aside from the changes in hormones seen during perimenopause and menopause, additional causes include:
- Medicines such as those containing antihistamines or asthma medications, which can both have a drying effect on the body.
- Insufficient arousal caused by a low libido or sexual problems with your current partner.
- Irritants in soaps, hygiene products, dyes, and perfumes — even some lubricants can also contain allergen, so be aware of the ingredients in any vaginal products you are using.
- Anxiety, which results in insufficient blood flow, affecting the production of normal vaginal lubrication.
Luckily, there are ways to reverse this bothersome feeling. Some doctors may recommend treatments such as estrogen inserts for those who are suffering from reduced estrogen. For women who experience vaginal dryness coupled with hot flashes, oral medicines or skin patches that release estrogen may be the most helpful. A combination of both types of treatments can be used as well. If estrogen-based therapy is not your cup of tea, you can find relief from silicone-, oil-, and water-based lubricants, depending on your personal preference. While these lubricants will help make intercourse more comfortable, it is not a long-term treatment option. Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers are an effective option for minimizing dryness for a prolonged period of time after just one use.
If you’re experiencing this uncomfortable sensation and need women’s health advice from a Fort Lauderdale obstetrician, Dr. Ghea is the female obgyn in Plantation you should reach out to. Call Westside OB/GYN Group at 954-473-2011 to book an appointment with Dr. Ghea, a top choice female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale.