Why Vaginal Dryness Is a Problem You Shouldn’t Ignore

Jan 12, 2024
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While vaginal dryness is an incredibly common symptom of menopause, it doesn’t mean you have to simply endure it. Find out how we can effectively address vaginal dryness here.

The walls of your vagina are lined with a thin layer of moisture. This moisture not only provides the right environment for sperm to survive and travel but it also lubricates your vaginal walls to reduce friction during sex.

However, as you age and eventually reach menopause, your estrogen levels drop, your vaginal walls thin, and fewer cells exist to produce moisture, causing vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness can lead to pain during intercourse and diminish your sexual desire as a result. It can also cause discomfort during physical activity and increase your risk of vaginal infections.

Some women may not even realize that vaginal dryness is an issue that you can seek help for, but our team of women’s health specialists led by Karen Mass, MD, FACOG, at Women’s Specialty Care wants you to know that’s not the case. 

In this blog, we discuss more about vaginal dryness, including when to seek treatment for it.

What leads to vaginal dryness?

While declining estrogen levels during menopause is the chief cause of vaginal dryness, there are many other things that can not only cause loss of vaginal lubrication but also exacerbate the issue. These factors include:

  • Surgical removal of ovaries
  • Taking antidepressants or anti-estrogen drugs used to treat endometriosis
  • Going through cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation
  • Having an immune system disorder
  • Using harsh soaps, lotions, or douches on your vagina

In addition, smoking can cause you to enter menopause earlier, leading to vaginal dryness at a younger age. 

What are your treatment options?

Vaginal dryness isn’t a serious medical problem; however, it can cause undue stress in your sexual life and can lead to sores and cracks in your vaginal tissues. So, if you experience vaginal dryness for several days, make sure to come in and see us for proper diagnosis and treatment.

We start out by examining your vaginal walls to look for thinning skin or any lacerations. We also take a sample of vaginal discharge to check for harmful bacteria and perform hormonal tests to see if you’re in perimenopause or menopause. 

You have a few different treatment options when it comes to addressing vaginal dryness. We offer topical vaginal lubricants and creams that are generally low-risk and should help reduce your symptoms. However, if you don’t find this effective, or if you also have other hormone-related symptoms such as hot flashes, we can offer you hormone therapy. 

In addition, making some lifestyle changes like losing excess weight, quitting a smoking habit, and exercising regularly may help regulate hormones and lubricate your vaginal walls as a result.

Dealing with vaginal dryness can be a thing of the past when you come see our team of women’s health specialists at Women’s Specialty Care. Schedule an appointment at our Lake Forest or Grayslake, Illinois, office by giving us a call or by using our online booking tool today.