During and after menopause, many significant and often unwelcome changes happen in a woman’s body.
The changes are a result of a dramatic fluctuation in estrogen levels in the female body. At the onset of menopause, the production of estrogen tails off before finally stopping altogether, leaving the body working to adapt to the changed environment.
Symptoms of these changes can include hot flashes, a deeper voice, mood swings and even more facial hair. They also include vaginal dryness. A third of all women experience vaginal dryness at this time in their life, making it common, albeit uncomfortable, reality. There are various causes that are thought to trigger the condition and though many people dismiss it as a minor discomfort, vaginal dryness can have a significant impact on your life, particularly your sex life.
The good news is that there are a number of medications, treatments and therapies that can help women deal with vaginal dryness. We’re going to look at these, as well as examine why you might be suffering with the condition, which is a necessary step in beginning your treatment.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
As we mentioned earlier, the leading cause of vaginal dryness is hormonal fluctuations. However, menopause is not the only thing that causes hormones to fluctuate. Oestrogen levels rise and fall during and after menopause sure, but they also change dramatically after childbirth and during breastfeeding. Treatments for cancers, including pelvic radiation and chemotherapy, have also been known to lower oestrogen levels, which in turn results in uncomfortable dryness.
Other causes include:
Medical conditions aren’t always the cause of vaginal dryness. Sometimes it is just the result of a lack of satisfaction from the woman about her sex life. If she has issues in enjoying sex or stresses about climax, or if her partner has been having problems with performance or premature ejaculation, vaginal dryness can result.
Cold or allergy drugs that have antihistamines can leave a drying effect in the body, thus, impacting negatively on vaginal lubrication.
Some women are allergic to chemicals found in soap, dyes, perfumes, and other hygiene products. Other allergens that may trigger vaginal dryness include lubricants and other objects that can be placed inside the vagina.
When a woman has psychological or emotional problems such as depression or anxiety, it may inhibit sexual desire, reducing vaginal lubrication and leading to dryness. When a woman is anxious or is undergoing depression, there is also insufficient blood flow, especially in the vaginal area.
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is admittedly something of a vague term when in reality there are several symptoms common with the condition that are not widely known. These include:
- a burning sensation in the area
- general soreness
- itching or stinging in the lower part of the vagina and around the vaginal opening
- pain or light bleeding during intercourse
- consistent and recurring urinary tract infections
- more frequent and urgent urination.