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Vaginal Dryness: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…bam, it feels like sandpaper is taking up space where your vagina used to be. 

  1. You are not going crazy
  2. Believe it or not, it’s normal (for the most part)
  3. It doesn’t (always) have to do with the level of sexual desire towards your partner

Vaginal dryness, a prevalent issue during perimenopause and menopause, 

It can significantly impact comfort and quality of life. 

This condition, often referred to as vaginal atrophy, arises predominantly due to declining estrogen levels and can lead to symptoms like painful intercourse, increased susceptibility to urinary or vaginal infections, and exacerbated incontinence symptoms 

The primary culprit is the reduction in estrogen levels, however, several other factors contribute to this condition:

  • Cancer treatments like radiation or chemotherapy 
  • Surgical procedures like oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) 
  • Certain medications, including anti-estrogen drugs for uterine fibroids or endometriosis 
  • Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder 
  • Allergy and cold medications (who knew?)

Several treatments and lifestyle adjustments can help.

  • Over-the-Counter Solutions: Water-based lubricants and moisturizers are high. They are less likely to cause irritation compared to oil-based products. 
  • Vaginal Estrogen Therapy: Providers can prescribe estrogen treatment in gels or creams. This method directly targets the tissues, easing dryness 
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Engaging in alternative sexual activities that promote natural lubrication, using fragrance-free hygiene products, and applying suitable internal moisturizers can help maintain natural moisture levels. These changes can enhance comfort during intimate moments

The important thing is to not feel alone in this, ask your medical practitioner for help, even if it is sometimes embarrassing to bring up.

Treatments for Vaginal Dryness

There are several treatments available to help alleviate vaginal dryness and its associated symptoms:

1. Over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers: Many over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers can be used to relieve dryness and pain in the vaginal region[3]. Water-based lubricants are recommended as they are less likely to irritate the vagina than oil-based products[4]. Some popular brands of lubricants include Uberlube, KY Silk-E, Aloe Cadabra, and Good Clean Love[4][13].

2. Vaginal estrogen therapy: In some cases, a healthcare practitioner may prescribe estrogen treatment in the form of a tablet, cream, or ring that releases estrogen directly into the tissues[3]. This treatment can help alleviate vaginal dryness and other menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes[3].

3. Lifestyle changes: Engaging in other sexual acts, such as clitoral stimulation and oral sex, before vaginal penetration can help increase vaginal lubrication[16]. Additionally, using fragrance-free products for washing and applying vaginal moisturizers suitable for internal use can help maintain the vagina’s natural moisture[16].

It is essential to consult a Medical Practitioner for an examination and treatment if the problem persists, as many products may irritate sensitive vaginal skin[8]. Your healthcare provider can help you determine the best course of treatment based on your specific needs and symptoms[2].

For more information on vaginal dryness, you can refer to resources from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists[5] and Mayo Clinic[1][2][3].


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

[2] https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/vaginal-dryness-symptoms-causes-and-remedies

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginal-atrophy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352294

[4] https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/best-lubricants-menopause-dryness

[5] https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/vulvovaginal-health

[6] https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/vaginal-dryness/basics/causes/sym-20151520

[7] https://www.everydayhealth.com/vaginal-dryness/guide/

[8] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321615

[9] https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment-side-effects/menopause/treating-symptoms/vaginal-changes/dryness-irritation/lubricants

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6136974/

[11] https://www.acog.org/womens-health/experts-and-stories/the-latest/experiencing-vaginal-dryness-heres-what-you-need-to-know

[12] https://www.uptodate.com/contents/vaginal-dryness-beyond-the-basics/print

[13] https://www.wellandgood.com/best-lubes-vaginal-dryness/

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6764929/

[15] https://www.webmd.com/women/vaginal-dryness-causes-moisturizing-treatments

[16] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/best-lubricants-for-menopause-dryness

[17] https://chapelhillobgyn.com/blog/dry-vagina/

[18] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaginal-dryness/

[19] https://www.buoyhealth.com/blog/health/best-lubricants-for-vaginal-dryness

[20] https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/vaginal-dryness

[21] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326450

[22] https://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-dryness

[23] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/expert-answers/vaginal-dryness/faq-20115086

[24] https://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/vaginal-dryness.aspx

[25] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-works-for-vaginal-dryness-and-is-natural-best/

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