Vaginal dryness is a medical condition that affects many women. What women will notice is irritation, itching, burning pain during intercourse, and a lack of the healthy white milky discharge that is normal for a reproductive aged woman. It is most common in perimeno pause and menopause due to declining estrogen levels. As these levels decrease, the epithelial levels of the vagina change, becoming thinner, shiny, and more friable. When in this state, it becomes more irritated and painful, especially during intercourse. The pH of the vagina also becomes more alkaline, predisposing women to more urinary tract infections, bacterial infections, and yeast infections. Maintaining vaginal lubrication through hormone balance, or otherwise is not only going to lead to a higher level of comfort, but also to lead to better overall vaginal health as well.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of vaginal dryness are vaginal pain with intercourse, vaginal irritation, itching, and burning. Urinary symptoms are also frequently associated with vaginal dryness. Women often complain of urinary frequency, urgency, or dysuria, which is burning or irritation with urination. Requiring lubrication during intercourse when it wasn’t required before, or reporting that intercourse is still painful even with lubrication are also signs that vaginal dryness is occurring.
The main cause for vaginal dryness is decreased or declining estrogen levels. The vaginal epithelium or the lining of the vagina is directly linked to estrogen levels. So as women age and estrogen levels decline, the epithelium becomes thinner, paler, and dryer leading to vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse. It is very important that women understand that the vagina is a self-cleaning oven! Never insert anything into the vagina that isn’t medically prescribed. Douches, objects not designed for the vagina and fragranced fluids or gels can all disrupt the microbiome of the vagina. This can lead to irritation and vaginal dryness. Medications can also affect the lubricity of the vagina. Cold and allergy medications are one of the most common medications due to antihistamines which reduce glandular secretions.
Typically, vaginal dryness is a symptom that occurs during perimenopause or menopause as women age. However, vaginal dryness can occur in women at younger ages due to medications or medical conditions. Hormonal contraceptives like birth control can cause vaginal dryness in younger women. Other medications, chemotherapy and radiation therapy could also lead to vaginal dryness.
Vaginal lubrication is important for sexual arousal. As a woman becomes stimulated and aroused, there’s increased blood flow to the genital area. When this occurs, there’s engorgement of the genital tissue, of the labia, the clitoris, the erectile tissue around the urethra, all leading to increased lubrication. The main contributor to vaginal lubrication is increased blood flow so if a woman is not adequately lubricated, she will not become adequately aroused. Inadequate arousal may lead to decreased ability to orgasm or lack of sexual desire.
When to See a Doctor
If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness or genitourinary symptoms of menopause, which include vaginal irritation or dryness, vaginal itching, urinary frequency, urgency, dysuria, or burning when you urinate, urinary tract infections or recurrent urinary tract infections or yeast infections, it is important to speak with your health care provider. If you have any further questions or want to book an appointment, contact Jennifer Berman today!
It’s estimated that 1 in 10 women have HSDD, which makes the most common sexual dysfunction in females. Women’s low sex drive and related distress can negatively impact a woman’s life, but can be fixed.
Luckily, women who suffer from low sex drive or hormone deficiency don’t have to face their problems alone any longer. Dr. Jennifer Berman is world-renowned as a leading authority in the field of women’s sexual health and has a vast amount of experience in treating women who live with hypoactive sexual desire. Women who go through menopause, experience hormone deficiency, and need compassionate low libido therapy from an experienced urologist, come to The Berman Women’s Wellness Center in Beverly Hills. Here, Dr. Berman offers a wide variety of treatments for women experiencing low libido, and can custom create a solution to bring back your passionate play. She also supports the initiative of the ‘Right To Desire’ movement to raise awareness around this condition.
To learn more about HSDD, women’s low sex drive and what to do to fix it contact Dr. Jennifer Berman today to schedule your consultation with a credible and relatable authority in women’s sexual and menopausal health.