Vaginal dryness remains a common occurrence in women, but there is an increased likelihood of having it during menopause due to decreased amounts of estrogen in the body. The hormonal changes occurring during menopause even alter the moisture content in the body, more prominently at the vaginal area.
Therefore, vaginal dryness is experienced in around 40 to 60% women during their menopausal transition. Among the major menopausal symptoms, vaginal dryness remains the more prominent of all with a sudden onset at any point of the menopausal phase.
Cause And Treatment Of Menopause Dryness
Prevalence Of Menopausal Dryness
Menopausal vaginal dryness is observed to affect women of the age group 40 to 65 years. Around 80% of women in their menopause suffer from vaginal dryness and 50% of these continue to suffer from vaginal dryness post menopause too. Vaginal tissues may get re-moisturize by various factors and then revert back to their usual function and elasticity in some women, but the degree to which it is improved depends upon the level of atrophy that has been occurred to vaginal tissues.
Sexually active women tend to regain that as during intercourse, higher amount of blood flows to pelvic organs, thereby lubricating the vaginal fluid. Moreover, by improving emotional and physical well being, menopausal vaginal dryness can be improved substantially.
Estrogen Drop Responsible For Menopausal Dryness
Vaginal mucous membranes produce a natural lubricant or fluid that is responsible for keeping vagina strong, moist and elastic in nature. This vaginal lubricant is secreted by the body under the influence of estrogen and is acidic in nature that shields the vagina from fungal and bacterial infections. With menopause, there is a sharp decline in estrogen levels and hence, the vaginal tissues tend to produce very less amount of the vaginal lubricant.
This results in vaginal dryness, loss of elasticity and strength of vaginal tissues. The thinner vaginal tissues are much more sensitive and fragile, and results in menopausal vaginal itching. Vaginal itching is a distressing sign that can be caused by external or internal factors.
When it is caused by vaginal dryness, it is referred as external itching and leads to an increased risk of infections due to loss of protective moisture and acidic content. Under lack of adequate vaginal acidity, the protective vaginal shield is lost and the ability to fight off vaginal infections reduces considerably. Now vagina is prone to infections by micro organisms and yeast, like Candida albicans.
Menopausal Dryness – A Shocking Change
Women are very much let down by this menopausal driven change as the ‘warm moist feel’ of vagina that was always welcomed and assumed to remain forever, is lost. Moreover, it affects the charm of intimacy and sexual activity in certain women, leaving them zapped, confused, inadequate and guilty. But, not to feel guilty, it is nobody’s fault only the natural part of aging.
Possible Treatments For Menopausal Dryness
For recovering from menoapusal dryness and stimulating more of natural lubrication of vagina, women need to indulge in sexual intercourse more often and as much as possible. This aids in increased flow of blood that enhances production of natural lubricant and re-moisturizes the vagina. Lack of sexual activity is supposed to make menopausal vaginal dryness even worse, so use it to keep vagina fit, or lose it.
One can also go for application of local estrogen like vaginal creams, vaginal rings or hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Make use of lubricants during intercourse to experience less pain through the act. Moreover, vaginal moisturizers are also available that aid in re-hydration of vaginal tissues, similar to the role of facial moisturizers.