‘If you have a vagina there is an 80% chance you will experience dryness at some point in your life’!
This is much more common than many think and can cause problems that many women just put up with and are unlikely to chat about with friends over a coffee, (well maybe after a few gins if you’re feeling brave enough)??? It may not seem like a big deal, but it can actually cause daily discomfort or soreness, irritation, burning, stinging or bleeding and lead to painful sex (dyspareunia) or persistent pelvic pain.
What causes vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness is not necessarily about a lack of arousal and is actually very common in the postnatal period, especially if you are breast feeding and also during perimenopause and post menopause. This is due to hormonal changes; low oestrogen levels, which is natural. Some might even notice being dryer at certain times of the month.
It can also be caused by fatigue, (who could be more tired than a new mum)? Anxiety, depression and stress can also be a factor, making it can be hard to ‘get in the mood’ and will affect the body’s ability to lubricate itself. Some infections or illnesses such as cancer and it’s treatments. Some medications can affect it too including some contraceptive pills (I’m sure their effectiveness was not intended to put women off sex altogether by making it painful)!! Some antidepressants can also affect your hormones creating vaginal dryness and medications treating incontinence can cause dryness throughout the body.
It could simply be due to scented soaps or washing powders that can affect the pH of the vagina, causing dryness.
What can you do about vaginal dryness?
Of course firstly, if you are suffering with any of these symptoms, it is important to be assessed by a professional to rule out any other conditions or causes. You could try changing to use unperfumed products to see if that helps. If stress and anxiety are a factor then try creating some time to take the pressure off, de-stress, relax and reconnect with your partner.
Dietary changes can help, supplements such as oral soy or probiotics that enhance vaginal health but it would be wise to consult a nutritionist or naturopath for advice on this.
You can also try using something to ease the dryness by using a vaginal lubricant or vaginal moisturiser. They restore the natural vaginal pH, are absorbed by the vaginal tissue to hydrate, protect and moisturise vaginal and vulval tissue effectively soothing the area.
Vaginal lubricants during intercourse are key. You can use water-based lubricants if using condoms and oil based if not using condoms, or you can use a combination of both creating a ‘double glide’! I recommend you choose a natural organic product.
Some women require vaginal oestrogen treatment which is highly effective and can be prescribed by the GP or a gynaecologist.
The main thing to remember is, you do not need to live with the symptoms and you can get help and advice.
If you have any concerns, please contact us to make an appointment on 07307 641071 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Practice for Women, Private Gynaecology with specialist, experienced Gynaecology Consultants