Dry vaginal skin is a common condition typically associated with modifications in estrogen levels. Although it might be a typical condition, one may obtain medical treatments or home treatments to have more comfort especially during sexual intercourse.
Dryness in the vaginal area is a hallmark of vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis wherein the walls of the vagina become thinner and swelling occurs due to the decrease in levels of estrogen.
Usually the vaginal walls are coated by a thin layer of wetness. During sexual arousal, there is a boost in blood circulation to the pelvic organs, which produces more vaginal fluid for lubrication. However, hormonal changes happen during the menstruation and other durations such as giving birth and breast-feeding. Additionally, aging and menopause might also impact the consistency and quantity of your vaginal wetness, resulting in dry vaginal skin.
Symptoms of Dry Vaginal Skin
Dryness of the vaginal area might be accompanied symptoms such as:
- Itching around the lower part of your vaginal area and its opening
- Burning or stinging sensation
- Pain during sexual relations
- Light bleeding during sex
- Regular or urgent urination
- Persistent infections in the urinary tract
Dry vaginal skin influences many women but just a few would ask their doctors about it. If this impacts your sex life and lifestyle, consult your doctor. Uncomfortable vaginal skin dryness does not need to be a problem as you get older.
Causes of Dry Vaginal Skin
Vaginal dryness may be caused by numerous factors such as:
Decline in estrogen levels
Dryness in the vaginal area is frequently related to a decline in estrogen levels. Estrogen is a female hormone that keeps normal lubrication, level of acidity, and flexibility of the vagina.These elements are part of the female’s natural defenses versus infections in the vagina and urinary tract. However, as estrogen levels decrease, this natural state causes thinning of the vaginal lining, which becomes more fragile and less flexible, with an enhanced risk for urinary tract infection (UTI).
There are various reasons why estrogen levels might reduce, including:
- Giving birth
- Perimenopause (transition period prior to menopause).
- Results of cancer treatment, including hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
- Surgical elimination of ovaries.
- Immune disease.
- Tobacco smoking cigarettes.
Certain medications for allergy and colds might include decongestants that reduce wetness in numerous parts of the body, consisting of the vaginal area. Medications used to alleviate breast cancer can likewise lead to vaginal skin dryness.
Autoimmune illness like Sjogren’s syndrome can lead to dryness of numerous tissues such as the eyes and the mouth, including the vaginal area.
Douching the vaginal area can interrupt the normal environment and modify the chemical balance in the vaginal area, leading to vaginitis or swelling in the organ. This results in dry vaginal skin and irritation.
Diagnosis and Tests of Dry Vaginal Skin
The reason for dry vaginal skin might be diagnosed by doing the following assessments:
- Pelvic assessment. After taking a thorough medical history and physical examination, the doctor might examine your genitalia, consisting of the vaginal area and cervix. Your doctor will place and palpate (feel) your vagina and rectum with gloved fingers to examine your pelvic organs for any sign of disease.
- Pap test. The doctor gets a sample of your cervical cells for lab examination and may also collect a sample of your vaginal secretions to test for signs of vaginitis (vaginal swelling) and to check for vaginal modifications due to estrogen shortage.
- Urinalysis. A urine test may be done if you have urinary symptoms.
Treatments for dry vaginal skin
Vaginal skin dryness might be alleviated with over the counter or medically prescribed products. The main cause or condition must be attended to, if any, and symptomatic treatment may be obtained utilizing any of these:.
The best method to deal with dry vaginal skin is to use topical or vaginal estrogen preparations instead of taking estrogen orally or using a skin patch. Topical estrogen uses very little doses of the hormone, which reaches the bloodstream successfully. Low doses of estrogen do not influence one’s testosterone levels, which is also important for sexual function. Treatment with topical estrogen likewise decreases one’s likelihood for UTI.
Consult a doctor about vaginal estrogen therapy, which might come in different forms:
- Vaginal estrogen creams such as Premarin or Estrace are positioned directly into the vagina using an applicator, ideally at bedtime. Your health service provider will advise you on the appropriate way to use this preparation.
- Vaginal estrogen rings such as Estring are soft, flexible rings that placed into the upper part of the vaginal area either on your own or by your doctor. The ring delivers a consistent dosage of hormone while it stays in place. Nevertheless, this needs replacement every 3 months.
- Vaginal estrogen tablets like Vagifem are put into the vaginal area utilizing a non reusable applicator. The doctor will advise you on how frequently to effectively insert the tablet.
Women experiencing menopause may use systemic estrogen (through tablets, gels or spots) and another hormone called progestin. Vaginal estrogen therapy might also be used in women who have breast, cervical or ovarian cancer, and medical examination needs to be sought for correct guidance on its threats and benefits.
Use a vaginal lubricant/moisturizer – Over-the-counter products that can assist ease dry vaginal skin are readily available in drug stores and groceries, but it is best to talk with your healthcare carrier before using them:
- Water-based vaginal lubricants like Astroglidelubricants can keep the vaginal area oiled for many hours. Products that do not include glycerin are recommended. These lubes are used to the vaginal opening or to the partner’s penis prior to sexual intercourse.
- Vaginal Moisturizers like Lubrin and Replens mimic normal vaginal moisture can assist relieve vaginal dry skin for approximately 3 days with one application. These might be used to preserve defense from inflammation due to vaginal dryness.
Consult your doctor before using alternative or complementary treatments such as vitamins or estrogen-containing items making sure they are safe and effective.
Healthy sexual practices – One of the reasons for vaginal dryness is insufficient sexual arousal. Vaginal lubrication is typically accomplished when one is relaxed and adequately aroused during intimate sex. Talk to your partner about having adequate time to be intimate and about routine intercourse which promotes higher vaginal wetness.
Preventing certain items – Certain items might aggravate the vaginal area and must be avoided, such as:
- Virginal douches
- Vinegar or yogurt
- Hand lotion
- Fragrant and antibacterial soaps
- Bath oils or bubble baths
- Aromatic cleaning agents and toilet papers
Dry vaginal skin is a typical problem experienced by the majority of women around the time of menopause. It is also associated with insufficient lubrication, which can take place at any age.