Vaginal dryness can be a painful and uncomfortable problem. If you struggle with vaginal dryness, it is helpful to understand common causes as well as treatments that can help you deal with the symptoms.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
The primary cause of vaginal dryness is changing hormones during menopause and post-menopause. Estrogen levels decrease at the start of menopause and continue to stay low afterwards. One of the purposes of estrogen is to act as a lubricant, so the decline in that female hormone can cause dryness.
Vaginal dryness can also be caused by certain medications and hygiene practices. If you’ve had recent changes in medications, particularly allergy medications or antidepressants, talk to your doctor about this side effect. Douching or using too much soap can also cause dryness because they can throw off the balance of good bacteria in your vagina.
Treating Vaginal Dryness
Treatments for vaginal dryness vary depending on what is determined as the root cause, but most treatments attempt to increase the amount of estrogen in the vaginal area. Some doctors may recommend estrogen therapy, during which estrogen is taken orally. This option, however, can have adverse side effects, so it may not be the best option.
Other treatments include:
• Vaginal creams. Common creams are Premarin, estriol and estradiol. These creams contain various types of estrogen and are generally applied at bedtime.
• Vaginal rings. A few types of silicone-based vaginal rings are available. The ring is inserted into the vagina and releases small amounts of estrogen every day. Vaginal rings typically need to be replaced every 90 days.
• Vitamin E suppositories. For women who want to avoid hormone-based treatments, vitamin E vaginal suppositories can also be an effective way to alleviate vaginal dryness.
Sometimes women are embarrassed to admit that they struggle with vaginal dryness, but it’s important to let your doctor know about your symptoms so that he or she can find the cause and determine the right treatment for you.
At All About Women, our dedicated staff in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida is committed to helping you through any women’s health issues you may experience, including vaginal dryness. Make an appointment today to speak with a compassionate well woman care gynecologist or obstetrician.