Vaginal dryness

Definition

Vaginal dryness is the insufficiency or lack of natural moisture in the vagina. Indeed, thanks to the constant flow of secretions designed to protect the vaginal walls and manifest female arousal, the vagina maintains its elasticity and maintains a soft texture. Vaginal secretions mainly consist of water, electrolytes, urea, different types of acids, proteins and bacteria naturally present in the vagina.1 Astrea Pharmacie (Swiss health magazine), June 2021 issue dedicated especially to vaginal dryness [/ efn_note]. It is important to remember that these secretions can vary with the stages of a woman’s life (for example, pregnancy, menopause). During sexual arousal, secretions are more abundant and contain more mucus. The purpose of vaginal secretions is, in particular, to protect the vaginal region against attacks (eg infectious agents). Also read below onCauses

Consequences of vaginal dryness: 
In addition to pain, vaginal dryness can affect the harmony of the couple and lead to psychological problems in women. Stress , fear , guilt and low libido are all obstacles to personal development.

Epidemiology

34% of women experience menopause
An American study that took into account data from the Study of Women across the Country (SWAN), following more than 2,400 women over a period of 17 years, showed that, at the beginning, 19.4% of women women (aged 42 to 53 years) reported vaginal dryness. By the time the women in the study were between 57 and 69 years old, 34% of them had complained of symptoms of vaginal dryness. However, over 50% of women did not report vaginal dryness to their doctor or other health specialist, indicating that vaginal dryness is taboo. These data were notably studied and presented in a study published on June 20, 2018, in the scientific journal Menopause .

Causes

The causes of vaginal dryness are numerous, including:

– Stress , fear and tiredness whatever its origin, stress causes poor lubrication of the vaginal walls. Menopausal women are the most affected by stress. Tiredness and fear are one of the main factors that block the process of sexual arousal and the natural humidification of the vagina.

– Taking certain medications, if you need to take antidepressants, acne treatments, antihypertensives, vasoconstrictors, antihistamines, birth control pills or other medications, be sure to read the leaflet. If a drug can cause dry mouth, it can also dry other mucous membranes, such as vaginal dryness. If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult a doctor. Chemotherapy and radiation can also increase the risk of vaginal dryness.

– Menopause : at the time of menopause, hormonal disorders and estrogen deficiency are inevitable, and result in an imbalance of vaginal lubrication.

– Hormonal disorders (estrogens) and ovarian disorders.

– Pregnancy: During the first three months of pregnancy, women can suffer from vaginal dryness, which usually recovers once the pelvic area begins to be more irrigated by blood.

– Breastfeeding can also cause hormonal disruption.

– Vaginal infections.

– Do intimate hygiene too much.

– Smoking, due to the vasoconstrictor effect induced by nicotine.

– Consumption of alcohol, source of dehydration of the body.

– The absence or scarcity of sexual intercourse.

– Congenital malformation.

– Certain diseases: cancers (as well as certain cancer treatments), diabetes, multiple sclerosis or chronic hypertension.

Physiological origin:
When a woman goes through menopause and her estradiol levels drop, her body undergoes many changes. Among these changes is a decrease in vaginal blood flow, resulting in vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse.

Symptoms

Painful penetration is one of the most common symptoms of vaginal dryness. This can be accompanied by burning and itching. The appearance of microlesions on the vaginal walls, caused by friction and the absence of mucus, can also indicate the presence of an imbalance in the natural humidification of the vagina. Sometimes itching and burning sensations in the vagina can appear without intercourse.

Women with vaginal dryness may also be more susceptible to vaginal infections and inflammation accompanied by itching or loss of odor.

Complications

Vaginal dryness is often benign.

Treatments

There are many treatments to alleviate vaginal dryness.

hormone-based treatment

An estrogen-based treatment, usually used in the form of a vaginal cream, vaginal ovule, vaginal ring or even gel, is an effective remedy for vaginal dryness. They are indicated especially in advanced cases of vaginal dryness. For less advanced cases, lubricants and moisturizers are more recommended (read below).
Certain products such as, for example, ova or vaginal pills contain, in addition to a hormone such as estriol, Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria .
When estrogen is applied locally (vagina), the safety of these products is good. That is, the studies do not show a statistically increased risk of breast cancer or blood clots.

In the United States, however, doctors may prescribe a pill (to be taken by mouth rather than vaginally) called ospemifene that is taken every day. This medicine is especially indicated in case of painful intercourse in postmenopausal women. Ospemifene activates estrogen receptors in vaginal tissue.
In the United States, prasterone (or DHEA), applied as a vaginal suppository, allows for increased lubrication and elasticity.

The use of lubricants

Vaginal dryness often causes discomfort and pain during intercourse. For this reason, the use of lubricants can be helpful. Attention, the use of this type of product requires great caution, consider seeking advice from a pharmacist. Give preference to the use of silicone or water-based lubricants, those based on oil or vaseline that can make condoms porous and irritate the mucous membranes.

Some lubricants contain hyaluronic acid, vitamin PP and glycerol. These products have the advantage of rehydrating and lubricating the vagina at the same time. This rehydration can last from a few hours to several days. These gels are particularly suitable for postmenopausal women for everyday use.

It is advisable to apply the lubricant to the partner and the opening of the vagina.

the vaginal moisturizers

Vaginal moisturizers (in English: vaginal moisturizers ) can act on the vaginal tissue, increasing the amount of water in the cells of the vaginal wall. Unlike lubricants, which do not affect vaginal tissues, moisturizers can help cure vaginal dryness, at least in part. In general, vaginal moisturizers are applied 2 to 5 times a week to the vagina and vaginal opening. Hyaluronic acid is a frequently preferred moisturizing molecule.
But, as we saw above, there are also products that have a lubricating and moisturizing function.

Other treatment (CO2)

Some doctors (in the United States in particular) offer their patients a CO2-based laser treatment (in English: CO2 laser) that aims to stimulate and regenerate vaginal cells. It is advisable to have a gynecologist perform this procedure.

Herbal medicine

Many plants such as sage , flax or black cohosh are known for their beneficial effects against vaginal dryness. Thanks to its content of phytoestrogens, which have the ability to activate the natural hydration of the vagina.
Red clover also has these virtues and can be prescribed in case of insufficient humidification of the vagina. Despite the effectiveness of these plants, avoid self-medication, the advice of a herbalist doctor is necessary because phytoestrogens may be contraindicated for some people.

Tips

To prevent vaginal dryness, it is advisable to:

– Limit intimate hygiene to twice a day to maintain the balance of Doderlein flora or vaginal flora.

– Use a product that will not affect the acidity of the vaginal flora during intimate hygiene, for example, a mild soap with a neutral pH. Avoid using scented soap.

– Do not use pads and tampons for a long time, because their long-term absorption capacity can contribute to dry vagina.

– Avoid wearing tight pants that can irritate the vulva due to friction. Cotton underwear is preferred.

– Regularly maintain sexual activities, as it improves blood circulation in Organs genitals and prevents the risk of atrophy.

– Get rid of stress and regain self-confidence.

– Protect yourself with a light application of day cream before swimming because chlorinated water can promote itchiness.

– Taking dietary supplements containing vitamins D or E can help improve vaginal health.

For more information visit: 10 tips on how to deal with menopause

Jeanne Kenney
 | Website

I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *