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What Is Vaginal Dryness? Here Are the Reasons and Treatments for It

What Is Vaginal Dryness? Here Are the Reasons and Treatments for It

The most common reason is a drop in estrogen levels, but there could also be

There are times where our lives depend on moisturizers, and that's the only thing that can help our skin bounce back to its natural state instead of the dry, itchy condition. Our vagina is similar, there's a thin layer of moisture that coats the walls to it help it from drying out. 

According to Healthline, this moisture provides an alkaline environment, thus enabling the sperm to survive in and travel in for sexual reproduction. During intercourse, the vaginal walls also secrete more of this lubricant, which in turn reduces friction and pain. 

“One may experience vaginal itching, burning, redness, discomfort, some kind of urinary symptoms like frequency of urination or urgency of urination or and even very difficult intercourse, painful intercourse, dyspareunia in case of vaginal dryness. So, once we know the reason for vaginal dryness, we can remove the cause and it will get better,” says Dr Aruna Kalra, director, obstetrics & gynecology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, per Health Shots.



 

 

So, what exactly causes the moisture to reduce? Here are a few reasons:

1. A drop in estrogen levels

As a woman ages, their estrogen levels drop. Medical News Today states that estrogen is a hormone that helps develop and maintain both the reproductive system and female characteristics, such as breasts and pubic hair. Though this hormone is found in both males and females, women tend to create more of it. 

Now, when these hormone levels drop, it also reduces the moisture within the vagina, as the walls begin to lose its thickness. Though this is most common with menopausal women, it can occur at any age, states Cleavland Clinic.  

2.  Medication 

Along with that, there are a few medications that also reduce secretions in the body.  Also, douching, and some creams and lotions applied to the vaginal area could also be the culprit. “Some kinds of drugs also cause vaginal dryness. If you are taking anti-estrogen cream for uterine fibroids, for endometriosis, or if you are on anti-allergic drugs for a cold, you can experience vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness can also be caused by many other drugs like antidepressants,” says Dr Kalra. 



 

 

3. Breastfeeding and childbirth

It's only natural for there to be a change in hormones after giving birth and while breastfeeding, which may cause vaginal dryness. However, it is very likely that your hormone levels will go back to normal after you give birth or stop breastfeeding. 

4. Treatment for cancer

Cancer treatments including chemotherapy, any other sort of radiation, or hormonal therapy can cause vaginal dryness. According to Cancer Connect, this occurs because chemotherapy can damage your ovaries so that they no longer produce estrogen and progesterone. 

5. Diabetes

A diabetic person is twice as likely to experience vaginal dryness. When someone is diabetic, the high sugar content can cause damage to the blood vessels in your vagina. This causes a lack of lubrication and makes intercourse feel painful. Restricted blood flow and nerve damage could cause you to feel less stimulation. Along with that, someone who has diabetes is also prone to UTIs and vaginal yeast infections, which ultimately lead to a dry vagina.

This is very common, and it is something that a quick visit to the doctor can fix, along with a prescribed course of treatment. Here are some ways to treat vaginal dryness:

1. Use an estrogen cream

The most common course of treatment is topical estrogen therapy, a medication in the form of a cream or ointment that a person can apply directly to the vaginal area to relieve symptoms. "Estrogen creams are safe but there are some contraindications for estrogen creams,” explains Dr Kalra. 

2. Use a lubricant during sexual intercourse

Lubricants mimic the moisture in your vaginal walls, thus making intercourse painless. "For painful intercourse, the first thing to go for is enough foreplay. It will give you better natural lubrication but if you still go through vaginal dryness, whether it’s because of menopause and breastfeeding, use a water-based moisturizer," adds Dr Kalra. There are also natural oils that you can try to help with vaginal dryness. You could try natural oils, such as grape seed, olive, sweet almond, sunflower, or coconut.



 

 

But, make sure you consult a doctor before you take any such medical decision, because it's always better to be safer than sorry.

References: 

https://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-dryness

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277177

https://www.healthshots.com/intimate-health/feminine-hygiene/3-reasons-that-are-likely-to-cause-vaginal-dryness/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21027-vaginal-dryness

https://news.cancerconnect.com/treatment-care/side-effects-of-cancer-treatment-vaginal-dryness

Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | vchal

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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