Vaginal dryness is a condition that many women suffer from regardless of age. As many as 3 out of 5 women will suffer from vaginal dryness at some point in their life. The causes behind vaginal dryness are by and large due to a reduction of estrogen levels. When estrogen levels are low, the vaginal tissue struggles to maintain proper lubrication and the tissue can lose its elasticity that it maintains otherwise.
There are many reasons that estrogen levels can decline at various points during a woman’s life. For example, if a woman is breast-feeding her estrogen levels are much lower than normal. Pregnancy itself, childbirth and miscarriages or failed pregnancies can all cause a drop in estrogen levels as well. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), anorexia nervosa (eating disorder) and hypopituitarism are all medical conditions that can also lower estrogen levels. Extreme exercise or training, drugs such as clomiphene and aging itself also contribute to estrogen decline.
Other causes for vaginal dryness may include cancer treatments that effect the ovaries and reproductive organs in general, an immunodeficiency, an Oophorectomy in which the ovaries are removed through surgical means, and the use of cold or allergy medications. Douching, especially frequent douching, can exacerbate the problem of vaginal dryness. Women who are heavy users of nicotine are more likely to experience vaginal dryness than women who don’t.
Most women while experiencing menopause and perimenopause notice increased dryness of the vaginal area due to significant drops in estrogen.
Some periods of vaginal dryness are typical in the average woman’s life, especially with normal developments that tend to occur through pregnancy, childbirth and the natural aging process. Women who are suffering from vaginal dryness as a result of breast feeding typically find that their estrogen levels return to normal in due time. For women experiencing menopause however, this change may be permanent unless medically addressed.
Vaginal dryness can be very uncomfortable both physically and emotionally for the women suffering from such. Intimacy may be painful and lacking in pleasure and most patients report feeling less than confident in their femininity or in their intimate relationships due to vaginal dryness.
The good news is, there is help for women who seek it. The first step is to not be afraid to speak with your doctor about the condition and any discomfort or complaints. There are both hormonal and non-hormonal options offered to address vaginal dryness due to estrogen levels for women today. MonaLisa Touch Laser Treatments were the first FDA approved treatment option offered to women to treat vaginal dryness in a non-hormonal manner. For many patients hormones are not an option, such as women who have had cancer treatments especially for breast cancer. For a more traditional approach, BioTE Bioidentical Hormone pelletsare also offered at The Women’s Wellness Institute of Dallas. Dr. Brady and each woman seeking alleviation from vaginal dryness sit down and discuss primary complaints, treatment options and risk for each option at their consultation.
If vaginal dryness isn’t the concern but relaxation is, vaginal rejuvenation surgery can do wonders in restoring the vagina to a more youthful, more functional state while providing more of a sense of confidence and pleasure.
If you’re interested in learning more about your sexual wellbeing or how to alleviate your vaginal dryness we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us to learn more. We’re here to help you feel healthier, happier and more confident with your body.