VAGINAL DRYNESS: SYMPTOMS, CAUSES AND TREATMENT.

 

Although vaginal dryness is a common symptom during and after menopause,  it can occur at any age and for many reasons. A thin layer of moisture covers the walls of the vagina. This moisture produces an alkaline environment that sperm can thrive in and travel in for sexual reproduction. These vaginal secretions also lubricate the vaginal wall, reducing friction during sexual intercourse.

Changes in hormone production can cause the vaginal walls to thin as a woman ages. The thinner the walls the fewer the cells that secrete moisture. This can result to vaginal dryness.

Causes of vaginal dryness range from physiological factors, such as hormonal changes or medication side effects, to emotional and psychological issues, like a lack of desire or even anxiety.

Hormonal changes are the most common cause of vaginal dryness, but they aren’t the only cause. Estrogen is the hormone that keeps the lining of the vagina lubricated, thick, and elastic. A drop in estrogen levels reduces the amount of moisture available.

It may appear like a minor discomfort, but the lack of vaginal moisture can have a colossal impact on your sex life.  It can lead to  pain during intercourse, contributing to a loss of sexual desire. It can also result to light bleeding following intercourse as well as vaginal itching and urinary tract infections (UTIs) that don’t go away or that reoccur.

The good news is, there are nearly as many options for dry vagina relief as there are causes.

Causes Of Vaginal Dryness

The first step in treating vaginal dryness is figuring out the source of the discomfort, especially if a dry vagina is causing painful sex. A number of conditions can lead to a lack of vaginal lubrication:

  1. Hormonal Changes

Reduced estrogen levels are the major cusses of Vaginal Dryness. Estrogen is responsible for keeping the tissues lining the vagina thick, moisturized, and healthy. As levels decline, the lining becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic. These changes are known as vaginal atrophy. Decline in estrogen levels can be caused by the following;

  • Menopause
  • Breastfeeding
  • Depression
  • Removal of the ovaries, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy of the pelvis
  • anti-estrogen drugs for treating breast cancer or endometriosis
  • Reduced blood supply to the vagina.
  • Childbirth
  • Rigorous exercise

 

  1. Medications

Some medications can also reduce secretions in the body. Drugs containing antihistamines as well as asthma medications can have a drying effect inside the body and cause reduced vaginal lubrication.  Also, antidepressants, which sometimes have sexual side effects such as vaginal dryness, decreased libido, and difficulty having an orgasm.

 

  1. Douching

Douching may also cause dryness and irritation.  The use of perfumed soaps as well as some creams and lotions  around the vagina can result to vaginal dryness.

 

  1. Inadequate Arousal

Lack of sufficient  arousal before and during intercourse can cause vaginal dryness add result of low libido or sexual problems with partners. Experts stated that  if a partner has poor performance and early ejaculation, it can contribute to vaginal dryness

5. Flammer syndrome, in which blood vessels react in an unusual way to stimuli such as cold and stress.

6. Immune system disorders, such as Sjögren syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that involves inflammation of the salivary and tear glands.

 

  1. Smoking

Cigarette smokers have been shown to have an increased risk of an earlier menopause transition as compared to non-smokers. This means that atrophic vaginitis symptoms may appear at a younger age in this population.

 

Diagnosis of Vaginal Dryness

People should see their doctors when they experience the following symptoms.

  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Dryness
  • Intercourse pain
  • Irritation

Your doctor may ask about your past health and find out how long you’ve had symptoms and what seems to make them worse or better. He or she may likely do a pelvic examine on you and in some cases, take a swab for a lab test.

It is important to note that no single test can diagnose vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness. Your doctor will usually base the diagnosis on the symptoms.

 

Remedies for Vaginal Dryness

  1. Tropical Estrogen Therapy: This is the most common treatment for vaginal dryness caused by low estrogen levels. These replace some of the hormone your body is no longer making. A person using a topical cream will absorb less estrogen compared with taking estrogen as a pill. As a result, the risk of adverse effects is relatively low.
  2. Lubricants and Moisturizers: There are many over-the-counter lubricants that can be applied to the vaginal area to reduce dryness and discomfort. These lubricants and moisturizing creams can also change the vagina’s pH, reducing the likelihood of getting a UTI. The lubricant should be water-based. They shouldn’t contain perfumes, herbal extracts, or artificial colors. These can cause irritation.
  3. Try to enjoy more foreplay so you feel more aroused during sex

use unperfumed soaps and washes around your vagina‎

  1. Regular Sex: Regular sexual activity, whether alone or with a partner, can help manage vaginal dryness. Blood flow to the vaginal tissues increases during arousal, and this helps stimulate moisture production.

However, if you experience vaginal dryness that doesn’t go away, discuss it with your doctor so they can help you find the right treatment.

 

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