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Understanding Vaginal Dryness, Vaginitis, and Vaginal Atrophy


Written by Dr. Chris Smith, Updated on February 8th, 2021
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Identification and Treatment of Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal Discomfort and Dryness is a frustrating yet common aspect of life for many women after Menopause. By recognizing the signs and treating the symptoms, you can improve your sexual health and preserve your romantic outlook.

Menopause leads to a great shift in Hormone Balance, which can impact women's sexual function. Many women complain about feeling overly tight and dry, to the point where sex becomes a painful chore rather than a great time. No woman wants to experience this!

What Causes Vaginal Dryness?

While Vaginal Dryness can occur at any point in a woman's sexual life, Menopause is one of the most common causes. A rapid drop in Estrogen Levels coinciding with Menopause leads to changes in vaginal function, which inhibit natural lubrication.

It can also happen to breastfeeding mothers who also have lowered Estrogen Levels due to the hormonal effect of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding stunts a woman's fertility, hence why lubrication isn't a priority at this time in a woman's life.

Vaginal Dryness isn't dangerous or physically damaging, but it can definitely be a bummer, especially for women with an active sex life.

The best rapid treatment for Vaginal Dryness is a sexual lubricant. There's no evidence that lube permanently solves the problem of Vaginal Dryness, but it gets the job done when it's most important. Silicone-based and water-based lubricants are the most common. It's usually down to personal preference as to which type is best.

Some doctors may recommend an Estrogen Gel or Cream as a more complete treatment for symptoms of Menopause.

Identification and Treatment of Vaginitis

Vaginitis is a common form of vaginal inflammation that can lead to discomfort, painful urination/sex, bleeding, itching, and discharge. In the case of some causes, including trichomoniasis, Vaginitis can also be associated with unpleasant odor. There are several conditions which can cause Vaginitis:

  • Thrush (yeast infection)
  • Chemical Irritants
  • Washing the Inside of the Vagina
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Genital Herpes
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia

If you've never had Vaginitis before, you should go see a doctor. If you've suffered from a yeast infection before, and the symptoms seem the same, you should just treat it normally.

If you've been having a lot of sex lately with new or multiple partners, you should get checked out for STDs. If you experience odorous discharge or itching, you should also go to the doctor.

Treatments for Vaginitis vary with the cause, but antibiotics and antifungals are among the most common effective therapies.

Identification and Treatment of Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal Atrophy is another condition that often results from Menopause. This condition is characterized by a thinning vaginal lining, which leads to discomfort, dryness, and itching. Declining Estrogen Levels contribute to Vaginal Atrophy but are not the only cause.

Local Estrogen Treatment is a common therapy. This is a topical form of Estrogen, which increases Estrogen Levels in the vaginal area to treat and reverse Atrophy.

After the vaginal lining is restored, your doctor will likely switch you to a combo Estrogen/Progesterone Cream to maintain hormone balance.

Easy Ways to Promote Vaginal Health

  • Keep genitals dry and clean
  • Take warm baths (not hot) and thoroughly dry off
  • Don't douche because it can make things worse
  • Don't use scented soaps on your genitals
  • Avoid feminine hygiene products
  • Wear loose-fitting underwear if you're experiencing discomfort/soreness
  • Choose pads over tampons while treating any vaginal conditions
  • Safe sex to prevent STDs

There are many natural ways to improve vaginal health from home, as illustrated here. Depending on the causes of the vaginal dryness, a more medical approach might be necessary. For example, Menopause has such a serious effect on a woman's hormones that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) might be something that a woman needs in order to remediate this problem and improve her quality of life.

It is simple to get your hormone levels checked and to discuss your options with a endocrinologist. Just call the number above!

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