While it can be quite embarrassing to talk about for some, vaginal dryness happens to many women within a variety of age groups. Normally, the walls of the vagina are consistently lubricated with a clear fluid that prevents this dryness from happening. However, various circumstances can cause this fluid to dissipate causing a few discomforts, and quite possibly pain, for the women experiencing this problem. However, you don't have to live with this problem as it can be treated in a variety of ways.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
There isn't one specific cause for vaginal dryness. Everything from the age of the individual to certain medications to combat illnesses can attribute to this condition. Although a large portion of this complication is brought on by personal physical attributes, you could be inadvertently causing the problem yourself with various activities. Coincidentally, you can easily combat some of these causes by merely changing your habits or daily activities without investing in medications or excessive OBGYN visits.
Douching – Many women admit that they feel “cleaner” after using a douche. However, this has been linked to causing a variety of problems such as vaginal dryness, infections, increased risk of cervical cancer as well as other severe complications especially while pregnant. Experts at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest that women don't douche in this fashion. Warm water and a mild soap used to wash the vagina is a safer alternative especially when the vaginal fluids are acidic enough to control various forms of bacteria anyway.
Menopause – Experiencing menopause is a quite common cause for vaginal dryness. One out of three women may experience this complication during the time in which the body is changing gears. During this time, your body begins to develop less estrogen which is used to regulate the lubrication of the vaginal walls. Without this hormone, the fluid levels will drop causing you to experience a great deal of discomfort. After menopause has lapsed, the condition becomes more prevalent as time continues.
Simple Medications – Some medications used to treat allergies and colds have been linked to decreasing estrogen levels or otherwise causing vaginal dryness. This isn't saying that you should avoid over-the-counter drugs for illnesses, but they can be the cause of your problem should you begin to feel discomfort or a burning sensation. Even prescribed medications can have the same adverse effects and you should seek your physician should the problem occur.
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
As the name suggests, this affliction is nearly self-explanatory. However, there are a variety of additional symptoms that accompany vaginal dryness that you could experience. Most of these are an aftereffect from the lack of maintaining those fluids that keep you from becoming dry.
Itching – A common symptom of vaginal dryness is the onset of a terrible itch near the opening and base. Without fluids to keep the area lubricated, the dryness can cause the same problems that many people have related to skin. Severe dryness can cause an ever present itch that simply will not go away without moisture.
Burning – During the onset of this condition, you could experience a severe burning sensation. This could make it very difficult for you to walk or move as every motion of your body can irritate the afflicted area.
Bleeding During Intercourse – Without lubrication, intercourse can cause a light bleeding to occur as the walls of the vagina are essentially rubbed raw. Of course there are other reasons why this bleeding could occur, but dryness should be considered one of them.
Urinary Tract Infections – Any kind of an imbalance in your pelvic region can cause a variety of urinary tract infections. Without your body's natural acidic defense against various bacteria, it becomes increasingly easy for you to experience an UTI. This is not to be confused with those that are developed by an onset of a yeast infection.
Soreness – It is common to feel a degree of soreness when experiencing an increase of vaginal dryness. This soreness is caused from the vaginal walls being irritated from the lack of moisture. It can be similar to how the throat becomes sore after a workout as it becomes dried from regular and intense breathing. Coincidentally, both of these situations can be cured by essentially the same process – adding moisture.
Treatments of Vaginal Dryness
Depending on the circumstance surrounding the problem, there are several ways you can treat this condition. While some simply require a change of your routine, others may require the use of medications. In most cases, the treatments are simplistic and don't require a great deal of trouble or invasive operations.
Lubricants – Creams are available that can deliver a great deal of comfort by adding moisture to the vaginal walls. While water-based lubricants can last several hours, other creams could provide comfort throughout the entire day. Always apply vaginal creams as directed and in suggested amounts.
Vaginal Estrogen Ring – This ring is inserted into the vagina which regularly produces estrogen directly to the lining of the walls. This increase of the hormone can regulate and maintain the natural fluids of your body for up to three months at a time.
Sexual Stimulation – Prior to intercourse, an increase of foreplay can help stimulate the body's natural lubrication process as you become sexually aroused. This stage of arousal can reduce the onset of bleeding as mentioned above.
Vaginal Estrogen Tablet – This tablet is inserted by you into the vagina once per day for the first few weeks of treatment. The regulation of this tablet then decreases to two times per week until you no longer need the extra boost of estrogen.
Other Topical Estrogen Therapy Methods – Many doctors recommend using topical methods of estrogen therapy rather than oral pills as it doesn't flood your entire body with an excess of the hormone. Creams, tablets and other ointments provide adequate lubrication and the ones that contain estrogen allow your body to maintain itself naturally – with a little help from the product. Keep away from products and soaps that are scented as they could exacerbate the situation and make matters worse for you.
You don't have to live with the burning, itching or uncomfortable problem of vaginal dryness. There are many ways that you can be comforted, and you should seek council from your OBGYN for methods that are ideal for your situation. It could be anything from the usage of a douche to more severe complications regarding the medications you're taking. Make an appointment to find out today if your problem is worse than what a simple fix can eliminate.
Always curious, Ashley Hardway is constantly learning and passionate about sharing what she learns with others. Based in Houston, Texas, she loves to help families grow stronger, help their environments and communities, and keep moving forward! Check out @NannyLady on Twitter to connect and find out more.