Vaginal dryness is an uncomfortable and often painful condition that occurs naturally during and after menopause. Menopause causes oestrogen levels to decline and can cause vaginal dryness. It involves the inability of the vagina to produce lubricant (vaginal juice), thinner vaginal wall and can cause painful coitus. Painful intercourse can kill sex drive and is detrimental to a sex life.
Beyond menopause, certain medications and immune disorders can also cause vaginal dryness. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the right treatment for this condition, which may mean oestrogen therapy or alternative methods, such as topical creams or dietary changes.
Vaginal dryness is prevalent in women going through menopause and for postmenopausal
Oestrogen is the hormone that helps to maintain the vagina’s lubrication, acidity levels, and elasticity. Therefore, when oestrogen levels decline, the lining of the vagina becomes thinner and less elastic, and the vagina produces less lubrication.
Oestrogen levels can drop during and after menopause, during childbirth, and during periods of breastfeeding. You may also experience a loss of oestrogen if you smoke cigarettes, have had your ovaries removed, have been treated for cancer, or have specific immune disorders.
Some medications cause dryness throughout the body, including inside the vagina. Cold and allergy medicines can have this effect; also, antidepressants medications and chemotherapy medications can cause vaginal dryness.
The use of vaginal cleanser or douche can disrupt the natural balance of chemicals in your vagina. The pH disturbance can cause inflammation or dryness. Also, a rare disease called Sjögren’s syndrome, which produces dryness in the eyes and mouth can also cause vaginal dryness.
HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
As soon as the vaginal dryness begins to interfere with your lifestyle, make an appointment with your doctor! The treatment for the vaginal dryness is hormone replacement therapy. However, replacing natural oestrogen can help with dryness, but can also trigger side effects. These include side effects includes weight gain, fluid retention, nausea, headaches and increased risk of breast / ovarian cancers etc.
Hormone therapy may not be the right treatment for everyone. However, some women aren’t good candidates for hormones because of a past medical history of diseases like cancer. There are several alternatives to oestrogen therapy that work very well and are often worth trying before using oestrogen therapy.
Firstly, water-based lubricants can help to add moisture to the vaginal lining. Their effectiveness can last for hours at a time, making them a better option if dryness causes pain during sexual intercourse. The vaginal cream that is made especially for addressing vaginal dryness can be used to relieve symptoms for up to three days with just one application.
Compounds in soybeans and soy products mimic the effects of oestrogen. If you add soy to your diet, you may experience some relief from vaginal dryness. Also, foods rich in Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Zinc, Magnesium and essential fats have been shown to relieve vaginal dryness. Black cohosh is a herbal supplement that’s considered by some to relieve menopausal symptoms. There are no significant clinical studies that show its effectiveness.
In addition to these alternatives, it’s also a good idea to avoid vaginal cleansers or douches. These douches will only increase vaginal dryness. Even though vaginal dryness can make sex uncomfortable; regularly intercourse can promote natural vaginal lubrication. Vaginal dryness is a painful condition, but it can be managed and treated.