The discomfort of vaginal dryness is experienced by
almost every woman at some point in life. A dry vagina
can feel itchy and burning, and can take the joy out of
sex. In fact, vaginal dryness is a leading factor in
female sexual dysfunction and painful intercourse.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
A woman's vagina naturally produces a clear,
relatively odorless vaginal lubrication that assists in
sexual penetration. How much lubricant is produced is
influenced by a number of different factors and varies
from woman to woman.
Factors that can influence vaginal dryness are:
- Allergens such as dyes and fragrances in toilet
paper and laundry detergent
- Drying soaps
Low Estrogen and Vaginal Dryness
For most women, however, vaginal dryness is a direct
result of lower estrogen levels that
occur naturally during menopause, after
the ovaries are removed and at other times in life.
Estrogen causes the vagina to thicken. When estrogen
decreases, the tissues of the vagina naturally thin,
become less elastic, drier and more fragile.
Low estrogen levels may result from:
Over 80% of women suffer from vaginal dryness during
perimenopause and beyond. For women who stop using HRT,
vaginal dryness may be especially difficult.
- Menopause, perimenopause,
- Hysterectomy and related
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Some hormonal contraceptives
- Endometriosis drugs
- Infertility drugs
- Stress, fatigue
- Rigorous exercise