A Caucasian woman is indoors in her house. She has cancer, and she is wearing a head scarf to hide her hair loss. She is sitting in a chair and smiling at the camera.
Vaginal dryness is a common result of menopause, yet women of all ages experience this uncomfortable condition. In addition to discomfort during intercourse, lubrication problems can cause stress, emotional issues, and relationship challenges. Fortunately, Dr. Shoengold and the experts at the Center for Female and Male Sexual Medicine have the experience needed to offer effective treatment for lubrication problems at our Millburn, NJ office.
Understanding Vaginal Dryness
The vagina’s walls naturally lubricate themselves with a clear, thin, and slightly acidic fluid. This keeps its lining healthy and elastic and helps the vagina stay clean and free of dead cells. The moisture forms in the cervix with the help of estrogen, and when this hormone level drops, vaginal dryness can occur. This condition affects women of all ages, though it is most frequently associated with menopause, and can result from a number of root causes, such as:
- Allergies to chemicals in soaps, hygiene products, detergents, dyes, perfumes, and other irritants
- Certain medications, specifically asthma medications and allergy/cold remedies containing antihistamines that cause dryness within the body
- Changes in hormones, with the most common cause being a decrease in estrogen
- Emotional and psychological factors that decrease a woman’s blood flow, including stress and anxiety
- Insufficient arousal, which is often the result of low libido, a partner’s poor performance and/or early ejaculation, and other sexual problems
Signs and Symptoms
As a lack of lubrication can be traced back to various physiological, hormonal, and emotional root causes, the condition can be accompanied by a host of symptoms aside from the feeling of dryness. These include:
Pain during intercourse and more
Vaginal dryness can lead to painful sex, frequently resulting in diminished sexual desire. This is especially true for women who have gone through menopause. As the skin around the vagina thins, it can easily become damaged – especially when there’s a lack of lubrication during intercourse. The condition can also cause pain when urinating, sitting, standing, exercising, and more. Some women even experience discomfort during routine cervical smears and overall vaginal examinations.
Differences in vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge is the female body’s way of disposing of fluid and cells. It can vary in consistency from woman to woman, but when a lack of lubrication is present, you may notice some changes. It can become discolored and/or watery and carry a strong smell, as well as cause a burning sensation and irritation.
Changes in appearance
Another result of lubrication problems entails the vagina and/or vulva changing in appearance. For instance, they can look discolored, or the lips can become thinner.
Emotional side effects
Any changes a woman experiences with her body can cause emotional effects, like anxiety, stress, fear, and more. But when it comes to a sensitive issue like vaginal dryness, women may also experience a lack of confidence in themselves and their sexual capabilities. It can also lead to feelings of confusion and put a strain on relationships with partners.
Explore Treatment Options
Since 1976, Dr. Shoengold has served as a leading expert in the area of sexual medicine and is specially trained in female sexual issues, including lubrication problems. After taking a medical history and conducting a thorough examination, he will likely recommend a local estrogen treatment, which comes in small tablets that are inserted with an applicator into the vagina. He may also suggest moisturizers and lubricants for women not suited for local estrogen. To learn more, contact us at 973-218-9400 and schedule an appointment today.