It's not necessarily something women discuss, but don't let the lack of conversation about vaginal dryness make you think you're alone. More than 20 million women experience this common symptom of menopause yet, women don't usually discuss this among themselves or with their physicians.
This is unfortunate, because vaginal dryness is more than an embarrassing topic of conversation. It can be a painful problem that can interfere with daily life.
A recent survey revealed that more than one-third of American women ages 35 to 64 have experienced vaginal dryness.
However, whether due to inhibitions in discussing the problem or embarrassment buying products to remedy it, almost half of the women who live with vaginal dryness have taken no measures to deal with it.
The good news is that there is something women can do. Some potential causes (such as tampon use and frequent douching) can be controlled and others can be abated with remedies designed to improve vaginal comfort.
A Common Problem
Menopause and perimenopause (the three to six years before menstruation ends) seem to be the main culprit in causing vaginal dryness, but other causes can affect women at any age.
During perimenopause and menopause, women's estrogen levels decrease. According to the North American Menopause Society, this drop causes the vaginal lining to become thin and dry.
While other symptoms of menopause-night sweats, sleep disruptions, unpredictable moods-are bothersome, vaginal dryness is considered one of the most painful. Left untreated, it can lead to vaginitis, bleeding, discomfort while urinating, bladder infections and painful intercourse.
A Simple Solution
Many women used to rely on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to alleviate vaginal dryness and other symptoms associated with menopause. But recent reports about HRT's potential link to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer have many women thinking twice. Those who are choosing not to take HRT are seeking alternate solutions for vaginal dryness.
Water-soluble vaginal lubricants, such as KY-Jelly or Astroglide, can provide a temporary solution. However, they evaporate quickly and don't address the underlying problem.
Unlike lubricants, over-the-counter moisturizers specifically designed for vaginal dryness take a different approach-they work to replenish and maintain natural moisture for days at a time. With continued use, they can actually increase fluid volume an elasticity of cells lining the vagina.
Many gynecologists recommend moisturizers such as estrogen-free Replens for women suffering from vaginal dryness. Other alternatives that are found to improve vaginal dryness is a Progensa 20 Natural Progesterone Cream. This has shown to gradually over time (4-6 weeks) bring back a womens natural lubricants.
Don't suffer in silence. Talk to your gynecologist about steps you can take to help this condition.
Natural Progesterone Cream Plus
Vulval Pain Society