A healthy vagina is slick and moist, but yours may be arid and dry, causing burning, itching, painful sex, and even bleeding. It’s a common problem. More than 50% of menopausal women and about 17% of women 18-50 suffer from vaginal dryness, but they don’t have to.
Many women assume vaginal dryness is something all women have to deal with, so they grin and bear it in silence. But our team here at Woodlands Aesthetics Center in The Woodlands, Texas, wants you to know that restoring vaginal health is easy. Here’s what you need to know about vaginal dryness.
Menopause is the primary cause of vaginal dryness, but it’s not the only reason. The link between menopause and vaginal dryness is low estrogen, the hormone responsible for keeping the glands in your vagina and cervix producing lubricating mucus. Estrogen also promotes elasticity and thickness in your vaginal skin; without it, your tissues dehydrate, thin out, wrinkle, and tear.
Women also experience low estrogen levels for reasons other than menopause. For example, postpartum and breastfeeding moms produce less estrogen, and cancer and anti-estrogen treatments can also affect your natural production.
Because cold and allergy medications aim to reduce mucus, they may also cause vaginal dryness. Some medical conditions, such as the autoimmune disease Sjӧgren’s syndrome, lead to dry mouth, eyes, and vaginal tissues.
Many women feel embarrassed talking about vaginal dryness. We get it — it’s an intimate problem. That’s why we go the extra mile to make you feel relaxed and comfortable. Our women’s health nurse practitioner, Ashley Cook, WHNP-C, and board-certified family nurse practitioner, Shelly Campbell, FNP-C, are highly trained, experienced, and compassionate, and they create a safe space where you can feel free to talk about your sexual health with no embarrassment or judgment. Rest assured that vaginal dryness is common and treatable. Here are five ways to address it.
If medication is causing your vaginal dryness, the solution may be as simple as changing your prescription.
If your condition stems from a temporary situation, such as postpartum- or breastfeeding-related dryness, your vaginal tissues will regain their natural moisture as soon as you transition out of those phases.
If Sjӧgren’s syndrome is drying out your vaginal tissues, treatments for the disease often restore vaginal moisture, as well.
Just like the skin on your face and hands, your vaginal skin can lose moisture. And just like your other skin, it can be rehydrated with moisturizing creams formulated specifically for your delicate vaginal skin. We can recommend products that moisturize your internal and external vaginal tissues.
Glands near your cervix produce natural lubrication that bathes your vaginal tissues and keeps them moist and healthy. During arousal and sexual activity, two more glands kick into gear near the entrance of your vagina to facilitate intercourse. If these glands have slowed down or shut down, you can use a topical lubricant in addition to a moisturizer to make the environment slicker and more inviting.
Choose a water- or silicon-based lubricant over oil-based, as they won’t compromise the effectiveness of condoms.
Low estrogen is the primary cause of vaginal dryness, so replenishing the hormone can address the problem, as well as several other common menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain.
However, you don’t need oral or implanted hormone replacement therapy to address vaginal dryness. We offer estrogen creams and suppositories that you apply weekly or vaginal rings that slowly release a steady, low dose of estrogen over three months.
Vaginal dryness is only one sign of vaginal atrophy, the aging process that triggers symptoms like:
If this sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right place. We offer a nonsurgical treatment to revitalize your aging vaginal tissues — the quick and painless Juliet™ laser treatment. We use a slender wand to make two passes over your vaginal tissues. The first pass vaporizes the mucosal tissue and triggers a fresh supply of collagen and elastin, two proteins essential for your skin’s structure and resilience. The second pass uses those proteins to remodel the damaged tissue.
As your vaginal skin responds and transforms, you’ll notice increased moisture, tighter tissues, fewer wrinkles, less sagging, less urine leakage, and better sex. You’ll experience minor results immediately and continued improvement over the following weeks and months.
Whichever treatment you choose, you can resolve vaginal dryness quickly and easily. Click or call to schedule a consultation with one of our women’s health experts to discuss your vaginal dryness treatment options.