Treating Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness may be a problem for women at any age, although it occurs more frequently in older women, particularly after menopause.
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.
Top gynecologist in Kenya, Prof. Rafique Parkar provides you with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and needs.
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
You will notice dryness the most during intercourse, which turns painful and could lead to light bleeding afterward from minuscule tears in your vagina. The tiny tears allow bacteria to enter your body and potentially cause infections.
Most women also 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).
- Recurring urinary tract infections.
- Thinner vaginal lips (labia).
- Frequent need or urge to urinate.
What causes vaginal dryness?
Reduced estrogen levels are the main cause of vaginal dryness. Estrogen, a female hormone, helps keep vaginal tissue healthy by maintaining normal vaginal lubrication, tissue elasticity and acidity. Other causes of vaginal dryness include certain medical conditions or hygiene practices.
Estrogen levels can fall for a number of reasons such as breast-feeding, childbirth, cigarette smoking, effects on your ovaries from cancer therapy, immune disorders, menopause/perimenopause, ovary removal surgery, and use of anti-estrogen medication.
Other causes include:
- Use of perfumed soaps, washes, or douches in and around your vagina.
- Have an underlying condition, such as diabetes or Sjögren’s syndrome.
- Use of allergy and cold medications.
When should you seek medical help?
Vaginal dryness affects many women, although they frequently don’t bring up the topic with their doctors.
If it affects your lifestyle, in particular your sex life and relationship with your partner, consider making an appointment with your doctor. Living with uncomfortable vaginal dryness doesn’t have to be part of getting older.
If left untreated, it can cause sores or cracking in the vagina’s tissues. If the condition is accompanied by severe vaginal bleeding, seek immediate medical attention.
Vaginal dryness can also lead to atrophy (shrinking of tissues), which can precipitate into incontinence and even prolapse (organ collapse or protrusion such as the uterus through the vagina).
During an exam, your doctor may examine the vaginal walls to look for lacerations or feel for thinning skin. They may also take a sample of vaginal discharge to test for the presence of harmful bacteria.
Hormone tests can determine if you are in perimenopause or menopause.
How Is Vaginal Dryness Treated?
There are many lubricants that can be applied to the vaginal area to reduce dryness and discomfort. These lubricants and moisturizing creams can also change the vagina’s pH, reducing the likelihood of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Women should choose a water-based lubricant specifically intended for vaginal use. The lubricants shouldn’t contain perfumes, herbal extracts, or artificial colors. All of these can cause irritation.
In some instances, a healthcare provider will prescribe estrogen therapy in the form of a pill, cream, or ring, which releases estrogen. Creams and rings release estrogen directly to the tissues. Pills are more likely to be used when you have other uncomfortable menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes.
Because many products can irritate delicate vaginal skin, it’s important to seek evaluation and treatment advice.
Feel free to reserve an appointment with a trusted gynecologist in Kenya, Prof. Rafique Parkar if the condition persists, he aims to offer safe and effective treatment options for women affected by vaginal dryness.
Prevention of 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.
- Avoid using deodorants and perfumed products in and around your intimate area.
- Use of the best vaginal products such as pH balanced cleansers and lubricants. Up to 40% of women experience pain with intercourse so it is important to be proactive about using products and not use them when it’s too late.
- Avoidance of the many types of drugs that have side effects of mucosal and vaginal dryness. The common ones are anti-depressants, anti-histamines and birth control.
- Use an intimate moisturiser or gel regularly to soothe vaginal dryness.
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