At some point in their lives, the majority of women will experience vaginal dryness. And even though it may be common, a dry vagina feels uncomfortable and can make sex painful.
- A feeling of Pressure
- Pain or light bleeding with sex
Some symptoms such as vaginal itching, burning or irritation and pain, whether constant or intercourse-related, should be brought to the attention of your physician or medical care giver, and may be treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
The causes can be anything from low estrogen levels to outside factors such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, tampons, condoms or diaphragms. Taking antihistamines or decongestants will interfere with your vaginal moisture, as will washing with certain soaps.
For most women, however, vaginal dryness is a direct result of lowered estrogen levels. This occurs during pregnancy or following childbirth, and when a woman enters perimenopause or menopause. Nursing, menstrual cycle changes, contraceptives, infertility drugs, hysterectomy or related surgeries, fatigue, stress and rigorous exercise also may contribute to reduced levels of estrogen.
Treating Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness may also be alleviated by increasing your water intake or with Kegel exercises to increase circulation to the pelvic area and help boost production of vaginal moisture. Using a personal lubricant in conjunction with any of the foregoing is recommended. In addition, increasing the frequency of sexual intercourse can naturally produce more vaginal lubrication.
Always use a personal lubricant that's water-based and water-soluble, and slightly acidic (pH balanced) to match normal body fluids. This slight acidity inhibits the growth of certain harmful microorganisms, particularly yeast. Never use a petroleum-based product, petroleum jelly, mineral oil or edible oil in place of a good personal lubricant. These home remedies can adhere to the vaginal walls where they mask infections and provide a place for harmful organisms to multiply. They can also damage latex condoms and diaphragms, rendering them ineffective for safe sex or birth control.