Vaginal Dryness: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies
Many post-menopausal women and some younger women experience a significant amount of distress in their daily activities and during sexual intercourse.
Due to a common problem known as vaginal dryness. Normally, the vaginal mucosal lining creates a thin layer of clear fluid that helps keep it healthy and moist. Vaginal dryness occurs when the lubrication within the canal is not sufficient, and the dryness can lead to inflammation.
During menopause, approximately 1 out of 3 women will experience the symptoms of vaginal dryness. These symptoms primarily include soreness, itching, and/or burning of the vagina. There can also be complications during and after intercourse, such as pain and light bleeding. Due to the declining health of the tissues, there is increased risk of bacterial and yeast infections.
Vaginal dryness is influenced by a number of factors, with the hormone estrogen being the most integral to vaginal function. Estrogen levels control the lubrication of the vaginal tissues and vary during the monthly menstrual cycle. Its blood levels are lowest in the days immediately before and after the start of the menstrual bleeding. When estrogen hormonal levels are abnormally low because of timing in the menstrual cycle or menopause, vaginal dryness can cause discomfort. Women who are taking oral contraceptive medications are unlikely to have this experience.
There are also non-hormonal causes of vaginal dryness. The use of certain soaps, lotions, perfumes, and douches can lead to vaginal dryness because they disrupt the natural chemical balance within the vaginal canal. Some anti-histamine medications for allergies, colds, and asthma have an overall systemic drying effect on the body and can also reduce vaginal lubrication. Anti-depressants may contribute to the condition as well. Some women experience a high amount of anxiety and/or stress that negatively impacts their sexual drive, leading to vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, this can lead to the formation of a vicious cycle in which the vaginal dryness further lowers libido, increases the dryness, and so on.
There are various types of treatments available to treat vaginal dryness and its symptoms, depending on contributing factors. Topical estrogen is a common prescription that can alleviate symptoms if lowered estrogen is the root cause. It is often recommended to use products that will not alter the chemical balance, composition, and/or pH of the vaginal canal.
Leading-edge, non-surgical laser therapies can restore mucosal health and moisture. The IntimaLase laser by Fotona gently stimulates collagen and elastin formation to reinforce healthy vaginal walls, and renewed moisture is often noted soon after treatment. Another benefit of Fotona laser therapy for vaginal rejuvenation is improved tissue circulation, which goes on restoring vaginal tissue function for weeks and months after your quick, easy sessions.
If you are suffering from discomfort due to vaginal dryness, it is important to speak to a gynaecologist to learn which safe, effective treatment options will work for you. We welcome you to call and schedule your private medical consultation with Dr Colleen McDermott, gynecologist at the Torgerson Clinic.
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