Vaginal dryness is a problem faced by lot of women. It is a very common and uncomfortable situation. It normally occurs during or post menopause but it can be faced by women of any age. It is due to the inflammation and thinning of the walls of vagina due to decline in estrogen levels.
There are various vaginal dryness causes and treatments:-
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
- Menopause – generally the vaginal walls remain lubricated with a thin layer of clear fluid. Estrogen hormone helps in maintaining the fluid and the making lining of vagina thick, elastic and healthy. During menopause, estrogen levels reduces the moisture. This results in thinner and less elastic vagina. This is called vaginal atrophy.
- Childbirth and breast feeding – birth of a child and giving him/ her breast feed can also cause temporary reduction of estrogen levels in vagina resulting in vaginal dryness.
- Chemotherapy treatment or radiation for cancer – rays emitted for the treatment of cancer can also lead to vaginal dryness.
- Surgical removal of the ovaries – getting ovaries removed with the help of a surgery can also lead to drop in estrogen level and hence causing vaginal dryness.
- Anti-estrogen medications – Anti-estrogen medication is recommended for the purpose to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis. Therefore, these medicines reduce the level of estrogen.
- Allergy and cold medications – certain medicines such as anti-depressants can also lead to vaginal dryness.
- Lack of foreplay– a lack of foreplay during sexual intercourse can also lead to dropping in estrogen levels and creating a dry area around vagina.
Treatments for Vaginal Dryness
- Topical estrogen therapy – this is the most common treatment for vaginal dryness. Topical estrogen replaces some of the hormones of the body which it is no longer making. But this does not generate as much estrogen in the body as much as oral hormone therapy (HT).
- Vaginal estrogen tablet – a disposable applicator is to be inserted into the vagina once a day for the first two weeks of starting the tablet and then it has to be inserted twice a week till required.
- Vaginal estrogen ring– a soft and flexible ring is inserted in the vagina for a steady release of stream of estrogen directly into the vaginal tissues. The ring has to be replaced in every three months.
- Vaginal estrogen cream – there are various creams available in the market for the direct application on the vagina to keep it lubricated. Different creams have different method of application.