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Vaginal Dryness: Answers to Every Embarrassing Question6 min read

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In a world where social media and reality shows broadcast people’s personal thoughts and actions without embarrassment, it is strange that there are still topics that remain taboo. Menopause is something that women are happy to discuss, but they tend to stick to hot flushes and night sweat issues and steer clear of another common side effect: vaginal dryness. And it’s not just menopausal women who are suffering from this issue. Around 17% of women aged 17 – 50 suffer from vaginal dryness and over half of women once they hit menopause. With this many women suffering, isn’t it time to bring vaginal dryness out of the closet? We are doing that here for you now. Here are answers to those embarrassing (and sometimes awkward!) questions about vaginal dryness.

What is Vaginal Dryness?

Vaginal dryness happens when the levels of the estrogen hormone drop in a woman. This causes the thickness of the vaginal wall to decrease. As it thins out, it becomes less elastic, much more sensitive, and open to injury. Combine this with acidity levels decreasing and your vagina becomes more prone to infections and irritation. The third issue is the reduction of blood to the vagina which helps with sexual arousal which helps with lubrication which helps make intercourse pleasurable.

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What Causes Vaginal Dryness?​

There are a number of causes ranging from low estrogen to stress.

Hormones Levels Can Cause Vaginal Dryness

Low estrogen levels: This can be caused by menopause, perimenopause, breastfeeding and after childbirth. Low estrogen can lead to the thinning of the skin and tissues of the lips (vulva) and vagina which then becomes less elastic and dry.

Menopause: Estrogen levels will be reduced and stress can be increased due to the other symptoms of menopause which all contributes to  dryness.

Medications and Products Can Cause Vaginal Dryness

Medications: Cold and allergy treatements can have a drying effect inside of the body (think where does the mucus go?). Anti-depressants can also cause problems with sexual desire which impacts how bodies respond to sexual stimulation.

Products that can cause irritation: Detergent, body washes that bodies don’t like and react to can cause dryness. They can cause itching, discharge and make the area more sensitive. This can make a woman feel uncomfortable and not sexy which leads to stress and then dryness.

Stress and Anxiety Can Cause Vaginal Dryness

Stress and Anxiety: These 2 troublesome issues can cause a whole host of other issues. Both of them can lead to a low libido. When a mind is so taken over with anxious thoughts, relaxing enough to enjoy sexual attention is extremely hard to do. Your body is on high alert due to all the stress alerts racing through it.

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Many of the above causes are very interlinked. Irritation will cause to stress, medication will cause low estrogen, menopause is just plain irritating and stressful! Acknowledging the cause is so useful because it gives women an opportunity to own the issue and work on how to reduce the stress, irritation, maybe look at different medications and ask their doctor about how they can up their estrogen levels. Being in control is a great stress reliever!

Data from the Study of Women Across the Nation (SWAN) tracked more than 2,400 women over a 17-year-period showed that, at baseline, 19.4% of women (aged 42-53 y) reported vaginal dryness. By the time the women in the study were aged 57 to 69 years, 34% of them complained of symptoms.

How Can You Help Manage Vaginal Dryness?

There are a few options to help manage the dryness.

A doctor can prescribe estrogen tablets which are used internally to help keep the vagina moist and less fragile. There are also patches available which release estrogen into the body similar to smoking patches.

Lubricants can be used during intercourse to help alleviate the soreness and friction caused by dryness. Do not use petroleum jelly, it is not water soluble and could cause infections. Buy lubricants especially formulated for the vaginal area.

Take more time to become sexually aroused, more foreplay and make time to relax before so that you can mentally put yourself in the mood.

Have more sex and masturbate. The more you become aroused the more blood flow goes to your vagina which helps keep it moist and elastic. It is like resetting your mind and body and helping them remember how good sexual intercourse feels.

Change your body washes and detergent to see if there is less irritation. Wear looser clothing whenever possible.

What Can Cosmetic Surgery Do for You?

There is a cosmetic procedure that can help with vaginal dryness and tightening. The diVa laser stimulates the natural mucus production of the vagina and helps thicken and rejuvenate the vaginal tissue which improves blood flow and lubrication. 

Numbing cream is applied and then the laser is inserted into the vagina, and it delivers wavelengths to the vaginal wall with very little discomfort. The procedure takes around 10 minutes. After the treatment there may be some cramping and localized soreness. You can expect to have around 2 – 3 treatments. It is highly effective with 90% of patients reporting a decrease in painful intercourse.

The diVa also helps tighten the vagina which helps with urinary incontinence and sexual pleasure.

Don't Suffer from Vaginal Dryness in Silence

As mentioned earlier, vaginal dryness is very common. The more women talk about this issue, the less stress and insecurity they suffer. Suffering in silence can lead to relationship issues and the feeling of isolation from a partner. Vaginal dryness can make women feel unattractive, and this can lead to negative thoughts. Talk to friends, loved ones and go see a doctor. Don’t be afraid to open up and take back your sensuous side!

Ready to bring your sexy back?

For those wondering whether diVa laser treatment might be something to help with their vaginal dryness, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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