Vaginal dryness is a condition that occurs in most women across all ages, but more common in women going through menopause. The condition occurs when the thin sheet of moisture that coats the walls of the vagina fails to produce more mucus. Vaginal secretions not only help to reduce friction during sexual intercourse, but also help to lubricate the vaginal walls against abrasion when walking, moving, and other activities.
In fact, it is believed that vaginal dryness affects half of the total number of post menopausal women. The shocking thing about this is that almost 90 percent of the women do not seek any treatment for the symptoms, which include pain during sexual intercourse, irritation, and dryness.
As women age, they experience changes in hormonal production in their bodies. The reduced production in estrogen is one of the factors that contribute to the thinning of the vaginal walls.
However, vaginal dryness is not only associated with menopause. The condition may sometimes be a symptom of other underlying medical conditions. For this reason, women are encouraged to visit a doctor for check up when they experience vaginal dryness, instead of assuming it as a normal occurrence in women.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
Decline in Estrogen production
As discussed above, estrogen is the hormone responsible for keeping the tissue lining in the vagina moisturized, thick and healthy. As the hormone levels decrease, the lining becomes thinner and less elastic. The changes that take place in the vagina are known as vaginal atrophy. Other than menopause, here are a number of reasons that could cause the levels of estrogen production to drop:
- Breast feeding
- Removal of the ovaries by undergoing surgery
- Taking anti estrogen drugs such as those used in treating endometriosis or breast cancer
- Undergoing cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.
This is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of various glands in the body, especially the tear and salivary drugs. The syndrome also causes low levels of mucus production, which decreases the supply of mucus in the vaginal walls leading to dryness.
Use of antihistamines
Although the medication is effective in managing allergies and the cold, it causes the secretions released by the body to dry up. Since vaginal secretions fall in this category, the antihistamines cause drying of the vaginal walls, which may result in a lot of pain during urination.
Unfortunately, though taking antidepressants can be a relief to your mental health, the drugs are known to have negative sexual side effects. Apart from having difficulty reaching an orgasm and experiencing a decrease in libido, the anti depressants also cause vaginal dryness.
The syndrome causes the blood vessels to react unusually to stimuli such stress and the cold. As a result, it causes reduced blood supply to the vagina resulting in dryness.
The symptoms of vaginal dryness include:
- Itching sensation in the vagina
- Pain during sex
- Burning sensation when passing urine
- Discomfort in the vagina when doing physical activities
- Other vaginal infections arising from the dryness such as urinary tract infections (UTI).
Treatments of Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is a treatable condition. Some treatment options are easily available over the counter and others require medical consultation and prescription.
Some of the common treatment methods include:
A woman suffering from vaginal dryness can buy estrogen creams or ointments from a pharmacist. The cream is applied directly to the vaginal area, where it will help to relieve the symptoms. Examples of estrogen creams include Estrace and Premarin.
Over the counter treatment options, that may assist with vaginal dryness include using water based lubricants and vaginal moisturizers.
Avoiding some hygiene products
Some lotions, shaving creams, and soaps used around the vagina may contain chemicals, dyes and fragrances that can dry the vaginal tissues. Therefore, scented products and soaps should be avoided.
Vaginal rejuvenation is a procedure that not only promises to tighten the vagina after childbirth, but also works to eliminate vaginal dryness. Many women turn to vaginal rejuvenation for cosmetic reasons or for a better quality of life. The treatment is relatively new in the medical industry, but it is proving effective and very helpful to thousands of women. Women undergoing menopause or those who have had multiple child births and experiencing vaginal dryness can benefit from the treatment.
Methods of Vaginal Rejuvenation
The procedure can be done through two procedures:
The surgical method is recommended for vaginal rejuvenation options like:
- Vaginoplasty- it involves tightening of the vagina that has increased diameter due to multiple childbirths.
- Labiaplasty- it is done to reshape the labia and reduce the labia minora.
- Vulvoplasty-the surgery involves reshaping of the vulva.
The non surgical procedure of vaginal rejuvenation mainly involves the following two energy based methods:
- Use of radio frequency-the procedure involves use of electromagnetic waves, which are almost similar to those produced in a microwave.
- Use of laser-in this procedure, a wand is inserted inside the vagina. The wand heats the tissue in the vagina, which causes the tissues to produce more collagen that makes the vaginal tissues tight and firm. This helps to improve issues like vaginal dryness.
Laser vaginal rejuvenation is one of the best vaginal rejuvenation procedures for the purpose of improving dryness. Energy based treatments are not permanent, so patients will have to undergo the procedure severally over time.
The radio frequency and laser treatment are able to improve the lubrication of the vagina and get rid of dryness due to improved blood flow. When the tissues in the vagina are heated during the treatment, the blood vessels expand and cause more blood to flow to the vaginal area.
Women with vaginal dryness seeking treatment via vaginal rejuvenation can opt for the non surgical approach since it is less invasive and more efficient for dealing with the specific condition of dryness.