Vaginal dryness, which in official medicine is called atrophic vaginitis, is irritation caused by thinning of the walls and shrinking of the vaginal tissues, and a decrease in the amount of natural lubricant released from them.
This is manifested in that period of their life when they experience a transition from the cessation of the menstrual cycle to postmenopausal. This malaise, like many others, began to trap women at a rather early age.
Dry mucous membrane causes discomfort, which is manifested by pain during intercourse. There may be slight bleeding caused by microtraumas, as there was not enough moisture during sex.
Why does dry vagina occur?
During menopause, estrogen production gradually decreases and then stops completely. This process is accompanied by certain physiological changes in the woman’s body.
Menstruation becomes irregular, there are hot flashes, mood swings, voice becomes lower, the amount of facial hair increases. Another symptom of menopause, vaginal dryness, occurs in every third woman. It should be noted that such a problem can occur at any age and for various reasons. It significantly impairs the quality of sexual life, but, fortunately, is treatable.
Gynecologists identify many reasons for the development of vaginal dryness and agree that such a deviation from the norm can be both a consequence and a cause of a more substantial physiological disorder.
Among the most common causes of this phenomenon are:
- As mentioned above, the main cause of dryness is menopause. During this period, the production of estrogen, which is responsible for maintaining the proper moisture and acidity of the vagina, is reduced in the female body.
- Another age-related change that causes dryness in the vagina is a reduction in the production of hyaluronic acid. This substance is normally produced by the body to maintain tone, nutrition, tissue elasticity, selective diffusion of dissolved nutrients. It is hyaluronic acid molecules that interact with water molecules, retaining them in the skin and mucous membranes, which ensures smoothness, softness, elasticity. With age, the production of hyaluronic acid is reduced, which complements the mechanism for the development of vaginal dryness.
- Vaginal dryness caused by insufficient secretion of mucus can be a side effect of taking certain medications. A common cause is the use of for example antihistamines that suppress the symptoms of allergies.
- Any stress, regardless of the cause that provoked it, adversely affects health, disrupting the balance between hormones. As a result – the failure of the menstrual cycle, extinction of libido, the appearance of burning, itching and dryness in the vagina. In this situation, the occurrence of unpleasant sensations is temporary, if, of course, a woman has the opportunity from time to time to rest from the problems that have fallen on her fragile shoulders.
- Taking oral contraceptives is often the cause of dryness. Basically, vaginal dryness is caused by so-called mini-pili, containing only progesterone.
- Sjogren’s syndrome also contributes to the development of vaginal dryness. It consists of inflammation of the lacrimal, salivary glands and glands of the mucous membranes, resulting in dysfunction of the glands, manifested in the form of a reduction in the amount of secreted secretions.
- The development of dryness in the vagina also contributes to the appearance of an allergic reaction to certain hygiene products that contain hard alkalis (shower gel, lotion, perfume and
Dryness in the vagina, as well as its approach, is accompanied by dry skin and wrinkles due to the fact that the production of estrogen and progesterone and concentration of hyaluronic acid are reduced in the body.
During pregnancy and after delivery
Separately, it should be said that the woman is dry in the vagina during pregnancy and after childbirth. The fact is that during pregnancy the enlarged uterus constantly presses on this organ, its hormonal background and microflora change.
During pregnancy, hormones gestagens predominate in the body, and estrogen is produced much less than in normal life. In this regard, there is a dry vagina, expressed by such symptoms as itching, burning, pain.
How does it manifest itself?
Doctors-gynecologists identify several main symptoms that determine the phenomenon of vaginal dryness – we list them.
- burning in the perineum;
- feeling of dryness, tightness of the inner walls of the vagina;
- itching of the labia, vaginal opening;
- discomfort during intercourse, which is accompanied by pain;
- bleeding mucous due to the appearance of wounds, ulcers on the vaginal epithelium.
Also, dryness in the vagina often develops on the background of menopause. In this case, the woman also faces increased dryness of the skin, mood swings, problems with sleep and hot flashes. If these symptoms appear, it is also very important to visit a doctor. Based on hormone tests, the doctor can select the best therapies to quickly and effectively improve the patient’s condition.
How to treat vaginal dryness
To get rid of the sensation of dryness and discomfort in the vagina, it is necessary to know the reason for their appearance. If it is known for sure that vaginal dryness is not associated with serious pathological causes, it is enough to follow simple rules to eliminate it:
- A balanced diet with a high content of legumes, omega-3 fatty acids to normalize the secretion of vaginal glands and prevent dryness of the intimate zone ..
- Hygiene of the external genitalia using products intended for intimate hygiene. It is necessary to abandon any intimate cosmetics, toilet paper or wet wipes with aromatic additives.
- Refusal of bad habits that worsen the blood supply to the vagina and cause dryness, itching, burning.
- Psychological comfort. During stress, the body produces many chemical compounds that compete with estrogen.
- Elderly women who survived menopause have dry vaginal problems. The basis of atrophic vaginitis is a lack of estrogen, therefore, to eliminate the disease is possible only in one way – to fill this deficiency with medication.
To eliminate vaginal dryness, you need to use non-hormonal lubricants as intimate cosmetics, as well as lubricants having a low pH level, thus you will help to maintain a healthy environment in the vagina. In addition, you can use intimate water-based lubricants, lubricate the vaginal walls with vitamin E twice a week and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. In the diet it is recommended to include soy and fatty fish.
It has also been observed that women who regularly have sex experience fewer vaginal health problems than those who abstain from sex. Therefore, the answer to the question “how to get rid of vaginal dryness?” May be a recommendation to have sex more often.
In the premenopausal period, a woman often has atrophic vaginitis due to hormonal disturbances. When the vagina is dry while hormone levels decrease, estrogen-based replacement hormone therapy is prescribed. It is estrogen that helps to restore the functions of the vagina and the regeneration of its protective layer.
There are several types of vaginal hormone therapy during premenopausal or menopause.
- Vaginal suppositories are inserted into the vagina once a day for several weeks. After that, suppositories should be put twice a day until the signs disappear.
- Vaginal creams are inserted into the vagina with a special applicator daily for several weeks, after which the procedure is done from one to three times a week. The procedure is performed daily for several weeks, then according to the scheme 1-3 times a week.
- The estrogen ring is inserted into the vagina (it takes its shape), so that the estrogen better penetrates directly into the tissue. The ring needs to be changed every three months.
In most cases, women report a positive result after a few days of therapy. The reason for this is an increase in blood flow to the hip area, a gradual thickening of the vaginal walls, an increase in the amount of lubricant, the elimination of feelings of pain during intercourse. It should be noted that the intake of these drugs should be carried out only under the supervision of a specialist, so that in no case an excessive thickening of the walls of the uterus (hyperplasia), which can cause cancer, occurs.
Measures to prevent perception of pain when a woman is dry in the vagina are:
- wearing cotton underwear;
- maintaining a healthy lifestyle;
- sufficient drinking regime;
- full intimate life;
- rejection of frequent douching;
- treatment of all pathologies of the sexual sphere;
- the use of daily and conventional pads without fragrances, not abuse of tampons;
- the implementation of proper hygiene of the genital organs, the rejection of annoying, aggressive cosmetics;
- restriction of pickled food, sugars, the inclusion in the diet of vegetables, fruits, sea fish, vegetable oils.
Treatment for vaginal dryness sooner or later may be needed for every woman. But it is much easier to know the causes of this phenomenon and prevent them than to undergo therapy and experience painful symptoms of pathology.