Have you experienced the pain and discomfort of vaginal dryness?
Also known as vaginal atrophy, vaginal dryness is known to affect women of any age, though it is most common post-menopause. (1) Symptoms include soreness in the vaginal area; an itchy, burning feeling; and a burning sensation during urination. (2) A routine pelvic exam will show if the vaginal walls are thin, red, or pale. (2)
There are a number of factors that can cause vaginal dryness:
- Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease in which attacks the body’s moisture glands causing dryness throughout the body (3);
- Douching can lead to vaginal dryness by disrupting the balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina. Doctors recommend that women do not douche, as it can lead to several health problems (4);
- Certain medications, such as blood-pressure medicines, antidepressants, and allergy and cold medicines can also lead to vaginal dryness (5,6);
- Anxiety and stress can affect sexual arousal (7); and
- A drop in estrogen levels caused by menopause and perimenopause, childbirth and breastfeeding, surgical removal of ovaries (2,6), treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy (8), and nicotine dependence. (9)
Vaginal dryness can be eased by adhering to these tips:
- Don’t douche
- Quit smoking
- Relieve stress and anxiety
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid scented soaps and lotions (2)
If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, don’t worry! You are not alone and treatments are available. Talk to your health-care professional about possible solutions.