Understanding Vaginal Dryness
We get it…no one wants to talk about vaginal dryness. Most women find it an embarrassing topic. Unfortunately, that embarrassment means many women suffer unnecessarily in silence. When we say suffer, we really mean it. Aside from the itching and burning vaginal dryness causes, it can also rob a woman of her sex life, leaving her feeling frustrated and inadequate.
To anyone reading this we say: Don’t be shy. If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, you’ve come to the right place. We’re very comfortable talking about this delicate topic. And we hope we can help you to feel more comfortable, too.
Vaginal Dryness Defined
Prior to menopause, mucus membranes within the vagina work to keep it lubricated. Plenty of lubrication equals good elasticity and strong vaginal walls. But during menopause, these mucous membranes begin to produce less fluid. The result: vaginal walls that become thin and dry. This is sometimes called vaginal atrophy.
A vagina that is dry and inelastic generally makes for painful intercourse. Other unpleasant consequences can include itching and burning around the vaginal opening, greater susceptibility to infection, and even incontinence.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
For the most part, vaginal dryness is the result of a drop in estrogen, specifically estriol. Estriol is one of three different estrogens produced by the female body, and is responsible for stimulating the mucus membranes we talked about above. So when estriol levels drop during menopause, lubrication within the vagina diminishes.
You may be surprised to know that testosterone also plays a part in stimulating vaginal lubrication, and is another hormone that declines during menopause and perimenopause.
Treatment for Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is very manageable. Most women will get relief by restoring estriol and testosterone to healthy levels. For women who need a little more help, our doctors can prescribe vaginally applied estriol. Your discomfort will be gone, and sex will be enjoyable again.