No matter your stage in life, vaginal dryness has most likely come your way at some point. Many women with this issue suffer in silence, and don’t ask for or get help.
While almost half of post-menopausal women have trouble with a dry vagina, about 90% don’t seek care for their symptoms according to a Harvard Health 2019 article.
For women who have periods, it can also be a source of distress, causing discomfort with daily activities or sex according to a Mayo Clinic report. About 17% of women ages 18-50 face problems with this issue during sex.
Dryness is uncomfortable, along with physical symptoms, there can be an emotional effect for women who may lose self-confidence or sexual confidence.
Why is good vaginal health important?
A 2019 health.cornell.edu article reports that the overall health of your vagina is important regardless of your level of sexual activity. The vagina is rich with small, helpful bacteria to prevent other viruses from infecting it and keeping a normal, mildly acidic, environment.
What causes dryness?
A WebMD overview states: The walls of the vagina normally stay moist with a layer of clear liquid. The hormone Estrogen helps to keep the lining of your vagina healthy, thick, and elastic.
But when the Estrogen level drops, it reduces the amount of moisture available. As we age, that change in hormone making can cause the walls to become thinner, drier, and less elastic.
Why do our levels fall?
There are several reasons the levels may fall according to the Mayo Clinic, including:
- Childbirth and breastfeeding
- Radiation or chemo treatments for cancer
- Surgical removal of ovaries
- Use of anti-estrogen meds
- Immune Disorders
- Use of allergy and cold medication
Other reasons for dryness before “the change” may include the use of hygiene products, feminine sprays, harsh soaps, swimming pool and hot tub chemicals, and some washing powders.
How do you know if you have vaginal dryness?
Do you sometimes feel sore or itchy in or around your vagina or have pain or discomfort during sex? Are you peeing more often or keep getting UTIs?
Do you experience bleeding or spotting during or after sex? If you continue to experience symptoms, make an appointment to talk with your ob-gyn for evaluation and treatment.
Are there ways to prevent dryness?
- Avoid using douches
- Bubble baths
- Scented soaps
- Lotions around the sensitive vaginal area
Cotton underwear is the best choice to wear regularly, as they are breathable and absorbent. Change out of wet swimsuits or sweaty workout clothes as soon as possible. Shower and bathe regularly.
What are the treatments are available?
At BlueRidge OB-GYN, a Duke Health practice, we are here to help women who suffer from vaginal dryness. Our specialists offer a variety of treatments, including Laser Treatment for vaginal dryness. Mona Lisa Touch is a non-invasive procedure that helps with the growth of new blood vessels, and the production of elastin, helping to restore the vaginal walls.
Remember the importance of maintaining good vaginal health for life. Vaginal dryness is a common problem that women face but don’t have to keep secret.