Womens Health

Treat Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is a common condition many women experience. The condition is most often associated with menopausal women because menopausal women have lower levels of progesterone and estrogen, the hormones that are crucial to the production of vaginal fluid. But women of all ages can experience this condition.

Vaginal Dryness Symptoms

Vaginal dryness can cause intensely uncomfortable itching and burning. It can make sexual intercourse painful and women may experience light bleeding with sex. Women often experience a general, overall soreness in the vaginal area. Some women find they need to urinate more often or can't hold their urine for very long and must go as soon as they feel the urge.

Top Causes of Vaginal Dryness

Potential reasons for vaginal dryness include the following:

· Menopause

· Normal Aging

· Soap, perfume, douche, dye or hygiene product allergy

· Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

· Childbirth

· Breastfeeding

· Smoking

· Surgical removal of ovaries

· Immune disorders

· Ovary damage due to radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hormone therapy

The Mayo Clinic reports that douching can be a major contributor to vaginal dryness, even if you're not allergic to the douche product you're using. Although douching (flushing your vagina with a liquid solution) is often promoted a good way to keep your internal genital area clean and free of germs, it actually does more damage than good. Douching disrupts the natural chemical balance inside your vagina which can cause vaginitis that can ultimately make your vagina feel irritated and dry.

Some medications can also cause dryness of the vagina. Examples include antidepressants and some allergy and cold medications. These are designed to decrease the moisture in many parts of your body, which is good for treating some conditions, but also tends to dry out your vagina.

There are a variety of diseases that can cause this condition as well. One example is Sjogren's syndrome. This syndrome is an autoimmune disease where your immune system turns against itself and starts attacking healthy tissue. Those with Sjogren's syndrome often have dry mouths and dry eyes. Women with the syndrome often complain about vaginal dryness.

Talk to Your Doctor

The first step to getting help and treatment for vaginal dryness is to visit a doctor. You may begin with your family doctor and she may refer you to a specialist if she feels you'll receive better help that way.

Come to the appointment prepared. Try not to feel uncomfortable discussing this problem. Many women experience vaginal dryness. Write down your symptoms and make sure you have a list of all medications you're taking including herbal or vitamin supplements.

Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. When making the appointment ask if there's anything you need to do ahead of time to prepare for any diagnostic tests.

Be prepared to answer questions. Your doctor may want to know if your have regular periods. She'll likely want to know how long you've been experiencing symptoms and if you use feminine hygiene spray or over-the-counter lubricants or moisturizers.

Your doctor may conduct a pelvic exam that includes an inspection of your external genitalia, cervix and vagina. She may conduct a pap test. You may also be asked to provide a urine sample to rule out any urinary conditions.

Treatment Options

Once a diagnosis of vaginal dryness has been made, your doctor may suggest vaginal estrogen therapy. This type of estrogen therapy is available as a cream that's inserted by applicator, a soft, flexible ring inserted into your vagina, or a tablet that you insert into your vagina.

Creams are used daily for a few weeks and then up to three times weekly. A ring remains inside your vagina and releases estrogen for about three months. Tablets are inserted daily for the first two weeks and then two times a week after that.

Lifestyle changes like eliminating allergens and using lubricants can also help treat vaginal dryness.


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