Vaginal Dryness: What Is It?

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What Is Vaginal Dryness?

Learn about vaginal dryness, the symptoms, ways to prevent it and when you should see a doctor.

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is a common problem experienced by up to one in three women, particularly those who are going through menopause or those who experience early menopause symptoms. Vaginal dryness occurs when the natural lubricant in your vagina, which normally keeps your vagina moist, decreases. The female sex hormone estrogen is responsible for maintaining your natural lubricant. When your estrogen levels decrease, you are more likely to experience vaginal dryness.

Normally, glands in your cervix produce a natural lubricant that keeps your vagina moist. This natural lubricant travels down your vagina, which helps to maintain a clean and healthy environment. A small amount of white discharge is a healthy sign — your vagina is naturally well lubricated and keeping itself clean.

What Are the Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness?

If you’re suffering from vaginal dryness, rest assured you’re not alone. While vaginal dryness is common during and after menopause, women of any age can experience it.

Most women experience symptoms such as:

  • Burning, soreness or pain inside the vagina or the lower vagina
  • Itching, burning or soreness around the entrance to the vagina (vulva)
  • Pain during sex, sometimes accompanied by light bleeding
  • Recurring urinary tract infections
  • Frequent need or urge to urinate
  • Thinner vaginal lips (labia)

How to Prevent Vaginal Dryness

If you suffer from frequent vaginal dryness, there are some preventative measures you can take. Follow the tips below to help you feel comfortable in your daily life and also when you’re having sex.

Top tips for avoiding vaginal dryness:

  • Avoid using deodorants and heavily perfumed products in and around your intimate area.

  • During sex, enjoy more foreplay so your body has longer to produce its own natural lubricant.

  • Use lubricant during sex.

  • Ask your doctor about estrogen treatments.

  • Ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

  • Use an intimate moisturiser or gel regularly to soothe vaginal dryness.

When to Visit Your Doctor

If vaginal dryness is interfering with your lifestyle, relationships or sex life, talk to your doctor about your symptoms to get the right treatment. Vaginal dryness doesn’t have to hinder your daily life at any age.