Menopause vaginal dryness is a frequent report amongst women going through the “the change”.
About one in every three women will experience this problem.
Menopause and vaginal dryness are closely related because the vaginal
lining is very sensitive to the hormonal changes of occurring during the
The sexual impact of this condition may be
potentially serious for some women. Fortunately, there exists effective
treatments today to treat it.
How Does The Dryness come About?
Normally, the walls of the vagina stay lubricated with a thin layer
of clear fluid that seeps through the walls of the blood vessels
encircling the vagina. The hormone estrogen helps maintain that fluid
and keeps the lining of the vagina healthy, thick, and elastic. When
you’re sexually aroused, more blood flows to your pelvic organs,
creating more lubricating vaginal fluid and prevention sexual
Menopause transition causes a drop in estrogen and hence vaginal fluid causing dryness.
also that there are other causes of vaginal dryness that may occur in
premenopausal women such as autoimmune diseases, drugs or douching.
Menopause vaginal itching is one of the major symptoms of vaginal dryness. Other symptoms may include
- Painful intercourse
- light bleeding with sex
- Frequent urination or sudden urge to urinate
The diagnosis of menopause vaginal dryness often not difficult to make. The main procedures are
- Pelvic exam.
This will involve visual inspection of the vaginal wall to make sure
there is no other complaints and also a digital examination with a
- Pap smear. This may or may
not be done during your visit to the doctor. The test will look for
cervical and vaginal cells to look for evidence of estrogen deficiency
- Urinary examination. This may be requested if you have prominent urinary symptoms to make sure there is no urinaray tract infection.
There are effective treatment strategies now available for menopause
vaginal dryness. Probably the most difficult part of treatment is to
seek it because many women often do not report this problem to their
doctor. You do not have to take it as part of the “third age” if it is
having an important impact on you. Talk to your doctor about it!
Also remember to allow time for sufficient sexual arousal before intercourse.
The mainstay of treatment is the vaginal estrogen therapy. Other home therapies are also effective.
Vaginal estrogen therapy
This replaces estrogen to the vaginal epithelium. You get it by prescription only. There are three forms
- Vaginal estrogen cream (Estrace, Premarin, others). You insert this cream directly into your vagina with an applicator, usually at bedtime.
- Vaginal estrogen ring (Estring).
A soft, flexible ring is inserted into the upper part of the vagina by
you or your doctor. The ring releases a consistent dose of estrogen
while in place and needs to be replaced about every three months.
- Vaginal estrogen tablet (Vagifem).
You use a disposable applicator to place a vaginal estrogen tablet in
your vagina. Your doctor will let you know how often to insert the
tablet, for instance daily for the first two weeks and then twice a week
The amount of estrogen from
the vaginal application that reaches your bloodstream is really small.
Also, the vaginal treatment does not decrease testosterone which is
necessary for normal sexual function as estrogen pills.
Lifestyle measures and nonprescription medications
lubricants or moisturizers
can further help especially when used before sexual intercourse. Some
women may obtain sufficient relief with these products only and never
need the vaginal estrogen. Some may latter need vaginal estrogen for
better symptom control. You may need to try many to find which one works
best for you. There are many commercial brands available.
- Lubricants (Astroglide, K-Y). Water-based
lubricants like these lubricate your vagina for several hours. Apply
the lubricant to your vaginal opening or to your partner’s penis before
- Moisturizers (Replens, Lubrin).
These products imitate normal vaginal moisture and relieve dryness for
up to three days with a single application. Use these as ongoing
protection from the irritation of vaginal dryness.
What To Avoid
These measure should be avoid to prevent further irritation of the vagina.
- Douching is a no go zone. Avoid vinegar, yogurt or other douches
- Hand lotions
- Bubble baths
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