You Don’t Have To Live With Vaginal Dryness

Health Topics

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If you’ve experienced vaginal dryness, you’re not alone. Many women do at some point in their lives. You can blame it on the hormone estrogen, which helps keep vaginal tissue healthy. When your estrogen levels drop, the tissue in your vagina shrinks and thins, which causes dryness and inflammation.

What Causes Estrogen Levels To Drop?

It may occur throughout your lifetime, and can be caused by treatment for other medical conditions. The most common reasons for your estrogen level to drop are:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Anti-depressants
  • Cold and allergy medications
  • Surgery to remove your ovaries
  • Childbirth and breastfeeding
  • Menopause: before, during, and after
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Douching
  • Smoking cigarettes

What Are the Symptoms?

Your health care provider likely can recognize vaginal dryness during a pelvic exam. Discussing your symptoms also will ensure a proper diagnosis. The most common symptoms of vaginal dryness are:

  • Vaginal irritation
  • Painful intercourse
  • Light bleeding after intercourse
  • Burning when you urinate
  • More frequent urination
  • Repeated urinary tract infections

You may also notice irritation of your external genital area.

Is It Treatable?

Some women find appropriate treatment with over-the-counter solutions:

  • Vaginal moisturizers. They can be used several times a week to replenish lost moisture and soothe dryness and irritation. You’ll find them as suppositories that dissolve within your vagina, or contained within disposable applicators
  • Vaginal lubricants. They come in liquid or gel form to be used during sexual activity. Apply with fingers to your vaginal opening or on your partner’s penis before intercourse. Avoid warming or flavored lubricants as they can be irritating. And never use petroleum jelly.

Your health care provider may recommend vaginal estrogen, which is only available as a prescription. Various brands are available as a suppository, vaginal ring, or with a disposable applicator.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.