Menopause & Vaginal Dryness: The Connection

When a woman reaches menopause, her menstrual periods stop. A woman enters menopause if she has gone at least 12 months without having a period. It typically occurs in the 51st year of life. However, menopause can occur earlier than 50 years.

During menopause, the body goes through profound changes in its hormone levels. There is a decrease in female hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone. It may result in several symptoms, including vaginal dryness.

However, many women who experience vaginal dryness don’t seek medical attention because they might not think it’s a severe health concern.

When there is discomfort during sexual activity, a person’s desire to engage in sexual activity may decrease. It also raises the risk of vaginal infections and can be uncomfortable during sports and other physical activities.

In this article, you will know what it is the connection between menopause and vaginal dryness. How can you treat it? What are its causes and symptoms?

What Is the Connection Between Vaginal Dryness and Menopause?

The vaginal walls have a thin layer of moisture which is secreted by the cells of the vagina. It helps the sperm to survive and travel. Furthermore, it reduces friction at the time of intercourse. 

Several postmenopausal women complain of vaginal dryness. Menopausal genitourinary syndrome, sometimes called atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy, is termed vaginal dryness. As estrogen levels drop naturally throughout menopause, the vaginal lining becomes thinner and more prone to irritation.

Is It Normal to Have Vaginal Dryness?

Postmenopausal women who are experiencing vaginal dryness or soreness during sexual activity should know they are not alone. According to a survey of women between 40-84 age about 56 % of postmenopausal women had vaginal dryness. However, 83% of women who battle with vaginal dryness report that it causes them some level of discomfort. In addition, 26% of postmenopausal women said they had experienced unpleasant sexual encounters.

Vaginal Dryness During Sex

Most women experience vaginal dryness during sexual intercourse. Friction (or rubbing) during sexual intercourse can be painful and uncomfortable if adequate vaginal lubrication is not present. Make sure you’re properly stimulated before engaging in sexual activity. There is also some success with using water-based sexual lubricants. Sadly, if sexual activity is unpleasant, the couple may lose interest in sexual activity or grow apart as a result. Talk to your spouse about your symptom so that they can help you.

Menopausal Vaginal Dryness Symptoms

Symptoms of menopausal vaginal dryness are –

  • Irritation
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Bleeding before sex
  • Urinary tract infections

 If low estrogen levels are the cause of the dryness, women may havesymptomslike –

  • lower production of natural vaginal secretions
  • tightening of the vaginal opening
  • vaginal constriction

Cause of Menopausal Vaginal Dryness

Fluctuations in hormone production cause the vaginal walls to become thinner. Hence, results in vaginal dryness during and after menopause. It is because there are fewer cells there to produce moisture, which in turn causes the vaginal area to dry up. Vaginal dryness is most commonly brought on by menopause, which is due to low estrogen levels.

Premenopausal vaginal dryness can occur for several causes, but it is seen in some women nonetheless.

The following are some additional possible causes or factors of vaginal dryness:

  • abnormalities of the immunological system
  • some treatments for cancer
  • smoking
  • depression
  • stress

Menopausal Vaginal Dryness Treatment

Below mentioned are the treatment optionsfor vaginal dryness and painful intercourse (dyspareunia) related to the genitourinary syndrome of menopause:

  • Moisturisers for the vagina (such as K-Y Liquibeads and Replens) use these regularly to ensure the health of the vaginal tissues.
  • Vaginal lubricants (such as Astroglide, Jo, Sliquid, or another brand) during sexual activity can help reduce discomfort.
  • A vaginal lotion, pill, or ring containing a modest quantity of estrogen revitalises the vaginal tissues. Your doctor may consider a low-dose vaginal oestrogen treatment if vaginal dryness and similar symptoms persist despite systemic hormone therapy pills or patches. Discuss the potential side effects of vaginal estrogen therapy with your doctor if you have a history of breast cancer.
  • Ospemifene (Osphena) is an orally administered selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM) medicine used to treat vaginal atrophy and related pain during sexual activity. Women who have had breast cancer or who have a high risk of developing breast cancer should not take this drug. You can get it through free online pharmacy delivery on time.
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), is administered in the form of a vaginal suppository nightly. It is a medication that may alleviate menopausal women’s painful intercourse.

Regular sexual activity or vaginal stimulation, with or without a partner, also contributes to the maintaining of healthy vaginal tissues in postmenopausal women.

Which One is the Best Lubricant?

While it’s ultimately a matter of preference, many experts recommend using a water-based lubricant during sex if you suffer from vaginal dryness. These mimic the texture and performance of natural lubrication. Moreover, they are safe to use with any condom, and won’t leave any stains on sheets or clothing. It’s a good idea to experiment with different lubricants to find the one that suits your needs best.

Menopausal Vaginal Dryness Precaution

You can take precautions by making a few changes in your lifestyle such as –

  • Regular Sexual Activity

Regular sexual activity, whether done alone or with a partner, can assist in the management of vaginal dryness.

Vaginal excitement boosts blood flow, which in turn promotes moisture production. Foreplay and excitement can alleviate vaginal dryness and enhance sexual pleasure.

  • Don’t Use Several Hygiene Products

Numerous body care and personal hygiene items contain scents and colours that might irritate or dry up the vaginal tissue.

The vagina is self-cleaning and has a delicate balance of beneficial bacteria. Douching or using scented soaps in the vaginal region is unnecessary.

  • Phytoestrogen Supplements

Phytoestrogens are plant chemicals with estrogen-like biological effects. They may be found in various vegetarian options, such as soy, almonds, seeds, and tofu.

There is some evidence from a meta-analysis to show that ingesting phytoestrogens can alleviate menopausal symptoms including vaginal dryness and hot flashes. However, there is a lack of supporting data, so additional studies are required.

Vaginal Dryness Home Remedies

Atrophy of the vaginal lining can lead to dryness of the vaginal lining. If so, you may want to try the following natural remedies:

  • Herbal remedies
  • Herbal remedies
  • Diet
  • Exercise

You might also try some of the personal lubricants available over the counter, such as Astroglide or Replens. Natural oils, such as almond or coconut oil, may also be helpful. The stimulation of the vagina regularly promotes the flow of blood and fluids.

You must consult a medical expert before trying any home treatments for vaginal dryness.

Inquire as to the remedy’s efficacy and whether or not it has any recognised side effects. Even if a product claims to be all-natural or herbal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to use in the genital area.

Bottom Line

Menopause can cause several physical changes, including vaginal dryness. You may feel uncomfortable and would not like to talk about it. However, it’s easily curable and manageable.

You can enhance your quality of life and have mild symptoms by working with your doctor. They will provide a specific treatment plan for you.

Menopause-related vaginal dryness is a common but treatable problem. Changes in lifestyle, extra precaution, lubricants, moisturisers and systemic and local hormone therapy are all highly beneficial in addressing menopausal vaginal dryness.