Vaginal Dryness: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Health Tips

Just do not think that vaginal dryness is an age-related phenomenon. Women who turn to the gynecologist with this complaint are completely different. Alina is 17 years old, she had her first sexual contact two months ago. Anna is 22 years old and takes birth control pills. Stanislava is 27, she is a nursing mother, the child is six months old. Irina, 33, works at a chemical plant and regularly takes allergy medication. Svetlana is 53, she is a successful business woman, she accepted the marriage proposal and is getting married.

The mucous membrane of the vagina is dry, thin and easily vulnerable. The condition that we gynecologists call vaginal atrophy.

Symptoms of vaginal dryness:

  • dryness, burning, itching in the genital area;
  • insufficient hydration during intercourse (even with sufficient arousal);
  • pain during sexual contact;
  • frequent urination.

A situation where the amount of much-needed moisture tends to a minimum, at least once in a lifetime, but it will certainly occur in every woman. There is no need to panic, but it’s worth it to see a gynecologist. Because this is exactly the situation when the hidden causes can be more dangerous than the expressed consequences.

The reasons:

Hormonal changes (insufficient levels of estrogen). Most often this happens in perimenopause and menopause, and therefore it is generally accepted that the problem is “age”. However, often these symptoms develop against the background of lactation.

Medications It is logical that vaginal dryness develops when taking antiestrogenic drugs (such are prescribed, for example, for the treatment of breast cancer). However, certain antidepressants, antihistamines, asthma medications, and even combined oral contraceptives can also cause discomfort in the genitals.

Allergic reaction – as a rule, on latex condoms or chemical irritants contained in detergents, sanitary napkins or tampons, intimate perfumes.

Sjögren’s syndrome A condition in which the immune system attacks its own moisture-producing glands. Then dryness is felt not only in the genital area: few tears, little saliva, dry throat and nose …

Lack of arousal is a solvable problem. And it does not bother you all the time, but only during sex. The vagina simply does not have time to moisturize when the partner is inexperienced and does everything quickly, or if there are any psychological problems between the man and the woman.

Treatment

Obviously, depending on the cause of dryness, a doctor should deal with the problem: a gynecologist, an endocrinologist or an immunologist. “Through the Internet” we can only discuss symptomatic remedies. If the symptoms of vaginal atrophy are mild, then you can try to pick up special moisturizers and lubricants on your own.

Humidifiers are sold in pharmacies. Their specific name is “moisturizing creams (gels) for intimate hygiene”.

Lubricants (lubricants) are available in pharmacies and sex shops.

The former are used regularly, like a face cream, – (daily or two or three times a week), regardless of the presence or absence of sexual activity. The second – only during sex.

Of course, these remedies will not eliminate the cause of dryness, but they will create the necessary comfort and improve the quality of life. Lubricants, as you know, are water-based or silicone-based, less often oil-based. The effectiveness of all three types is approximately the same, but each has its own sensations. As a gynecologist, I must admit that I do not see any obvious contraindications for silicone. When using oil lubricants, be aware that they do not work with condoms. Water and without my advice, no one doubts. It is worth trying several brands in order to find the one that suits you.

If dryness in the intimate area is associated with estrogen deficiency, and the symptoms cause significant suffering, then the gynecologist will select special estrogen-based products for you. These can be suppositories, creams or vaginal rings.

The results of some studies with cautious optimism indicate the beneficial properties of a therapeutic laser when exposed to the vaginal mucosa. However, this issue is still under study.

Photo: istock

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