Vaginal dryness – why it occurs and what can help against it – causes, treatment

Vaginal dryness – why it occurs and what can help against it

Many women suffer from it, but few talk about it: vaginal dryness. Especially in old age, the number of those affected increases – as a result of a lower estrogen level. However, vaginal dryness can also occur in younger women and lead to problems. One trigger, for example, is the removal of the ovaries , but many women also suffer from vaginal dryness while breastfeeding.

Other causes are also possible , for example physical aspects such as infections, vaginal fungi or cystitis. However, due to the complexity of the vagina, hormonal changes can also lead to dryness. Likewise, there is also the possibility that a dry vagina occurs as a result of psychological or psychosomatic causes. Here, among other things, problems in the partnership should be mentioned, nervousness or a lack of sexual desire.

What are the symptoms of vaginal dryness?

Anyone who suffers from vaginal dryness can sometimes notice various symptoms. These vary from person to person, as do the causes. The most common symptoms include:

  • burning sensation in the intimate area
  • itchy intimate area

Under normal circumstances, the cells of the vaginal lining and uterus secrete a milky secretion that keeps the vagina moist. In addition, the secretion protects against various pathogens.

During sexual arousal, glands and blood vessels produce additional moisture. This serves as a natural lubricant during intercourse. However, prolonged dryness of the vagina can make it more porous and the risk of injury increases. At the same time, the risk of fungal and bacterial infections increases, as does the possibility of developing cystitis.

Interpersonally, vaginal dryness can also lead to problems. In many cases, sexual intercourse is then perceived as unpleasant and the penetration of the penis causes pain.

What can you do about vaginal dryness?

Luckily, women suffering from vaginal dryness have a few ways to help. Below are some tips and hints on how to deal with the problem and ideally how to fix it:

  • Avoid tampons: It is advisable not to use tampons during menstruation and to use pads instead. Although tampons reliably absorb menstrual blood, they can also absorb vaginal secretions. This in turn can make vaginal dryness even worse.
  • Relaxation can be helpful: If the dryness of the vagina is caused by stress, yoga, autogenic training and other relaxation techniques can sometimes be helpful.
  • Keep an eye on hormones: If a woman suffers from a lack of estrogen and thus vaginal dryness, hormone-free preparations from the pharmacy or drugstore can be tried out. There is now a large selection here.
  • Don’t overdo it when it comes to hygiene: In most cases, it makes sense to be more cautious when it comes to hygiene in the intimate area. Clear water is usually sufficient, possibly together with a gentle and skin-neutral washing lotion.

These tips can be helpful, at least for general vaginal dryness. However, if there are problems during sex due to a dry vagina, they are often not sufficient. However, these tips can then lead to an improvement in the situation:

  • Lubricating creams from the pharmacy: Lubricating creams or lubricating gels can be used to compensate for the dryness of the vagina before sex. This reduces friction and resistance, which means that affected women feel less pain. Products for relief are available in pharmacies, but increasingly also in drugstores or even supermarkets. When using condoms, care should be taken to ensure that the products are water-soluble.
  • Massage oil can also help: Some women also use massage oil or baby oil to increase the lubricity of the vagina. However, such oils should not be used with condoms.

Basically, vaginal dryness is not necessarily a reason to completely abstain from sexual intercourse. Regular sex, especially during menopause, can help reduce vaginal dryness by improving the blood supply to the vagina. Extensive foreplay is often recommended in this context.

When should you go to the doctor?

Despite all the discomfort and inconvenience, many women today still refrain from asking their gynecologist for advice. Shame is completely inappropriate here. If you have the feeling that you are suffering from a dry vagina, you should consult a gynaecologist. Because: In many cases, vaginal dryness can be treated very well.

In addition, a disturbed vaginal environment often means that pathogens can settle more easily and there is an increased incidence of vaginal thrush or other diseases – this is why vaginal dryness should always be clarified.

The gynecologist will first carry out some examinations. After the medical history has been taken, the question is asked how long the problems have existed and what their extent is. Possible previous illnesses or reasons for the dry vagina also play a role. Possible causes can be diabetes or high blood pressure , for example, and taking medication or birth control pills can also be triggers.

The doctor will then carry out a gynecological examination and find out whether pathogens also play a role. For example, the pH value of the vaginal flora is measured, which should be in the acidic range between 3.5 and 4.5. If the value is higher, hormonal changes could promote vaginal dryness.

How is vaginal dryness treated?

The ultimate treatment for vaginal dryness depends on the specific cause. It is therefore not possible to make a general statement about this. If high blood pressure or diabetes are identified as the cause, these diseases must first be treated correctly. If drugs are already being taken for these conditions, it must be considered whether the dosage can be adjusted or whether other drugs can improve the situation.

If, instead, mental and psychological problems lead to dryness of the vagina, psychological treatment or psychotherapeutic advice is advisable. Sexual counseling can also be helpful in these cases.

The hormone-free preparations mentioned can also be considered for treatment. This is especially the case if no hormones should be taken for medical reasons. Then, for example, hyaluronic acid is used, which supports the function of the vaginal mucosa. This can be particularly helpful if no hormones can be taken after breast cancer therapy.

If there is an estrogen deficiency , appropriate preparations with estrogen can be taken. There are ointments or suppositories, sometimes tablets. However, all advantages and disadvantages should be discussed with the doctor treating you.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.