Vaginal dryness can lead to pain with sex.
So if you are experiencing dryness, irritation, itching, burning, or pain with sex it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. There are treatment options.
What is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness occurs when the tissue of the vagina loses lubrication and becomes unhealthy. It can be painful for women.
How many women does it impact?
Most women will experience vaginal dryness at some point in their lives. Vaginal dryness is most commonly reported during menopause, but it can also occur after childbirth, during cancer treatment, with breastfeeding, and with anti-estrogen drugs. Non-hormonal causes, like infections, and certain medications, can also cause vaginal dryness.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of vaginal dryness include:
- Irritation, itching, and burning
- Pain with sex
- Bleeding after sex
- Vaginal discharge
- Burning with urination
- Urinary frequency
- Increased urinary tract infections
Many treatment options are available to treat vaginal dryness. Specific treatment options will be tailored to target the root cause of the vaginal dryness.
Treatment options include:
- Use of lubricants or vaginal moisturizers
- Hormone therapy
- Avoiding scents and perfume products near the vagina
What to expect on your visit
During your visit, you can expect your care team to listen to and address all of your concerns in a safe and trusted space. A consultation for vaginal dryness may include:
- A history and physical examination
Many women do use vaginal moisturizers to help with dryness. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) options.
Water-based lubricants can evaporate quickly. Oftentimes, women who experience chronic vaginal dryness will need to use silicone or oil based lubricants, which tend to last longer. In certain situations, you may need prescription medication, or treatment with a device, to improve collagen, elastin, and blood flow to the area.
Hormonal variations. When the hormone levels decrease cyclically, women can experience vaginal dryness.
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