Smiling menopausal woman

What causes vaginal dryness?

Vaginal dryness is a common symptom resulting from a number of conditions such as menopause, auto-immune disease, side effects of cancer treatment, and endometriosis among others.

The condition effects over 50 million women in the U.S. each year with varying degrees of severity.

Source: Women’s Health Concern

What are my options?

Women suffering from vaginal dryness have a handful of options, some of which include:

  • Vaginal Estrogen: Vaginal estrogen is the most effective treatment option for women with vaginal dryness. It requires a prescription from your healthcare provider.
  • Vaginal Moisturizers and Lubricants: Vaginal moisturizers are used to moisturize the vagina and should be used on a regular basis for best results. They provide moisture around and inside the vagina (if used with an applicator) and help with the ongoing symptoms of vaginal dryness.

    Lubricants, on the other hand, are to be used at the time of sexual activity and applied to the vaginal opening and to your partner to provide lubrication and reduce pain associated vaginal dryness. Neither moisturizers or lubricants require a prescription and are available “over-the-counter” in stores and online.

    While generally considered to be safer than estrogen, women have varying degrees of success with these products. Most common complaints include: “only somewhat effective” and “messy/leaky.”

  • Vaginal Laser Rejuvenation: Vaginal laser treatment was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for gynecologic use in 2014. It uses laser technology to help treat vaginal atrophy (including complaints related to vaginal dryness).

    There are risks including reports of temporary side effects such as redness and swelling. However, the biggest complaints are: cost (it is not covered by insurance), and inconvenience (requires up to 5 treatment sessions over a period of 2-4 weeks).

Source: Mayo Clinic