Jacque, 26, confesses that she usually suffers from vaginal dryness during intimacy. Well, she says at her age she never expected to be discussing what she considers a problem for much older women. Interestingly, more and more younger women are experiencing vaginal dryness.
This condition usually affects a woman’s quality of life as it is painful. Vaginal dryness can result in pain when sitting down, exercising or peeing and during sexual intercourse.
The vaginal lining is lubricated with fluid that keeps it thick and elastic. When the tissues in the vagina are dry, thin and not well-moisturised, vaginal dryness can occur.
What is vaginal dryness?
Experts say that the most common cause of vaginal dryness is a drop in oestrogen levels in a woman’s body. Oestrogen levels usually drop when a woman is going through menopause. Breastfeeding mothers or those who have recently given birth can also experience vaginal dryness as oestrogen levels drop. Vaginal dryness can occur at any age.
However, there are also many other factors that can cause your vagina to go dry. According to Dr Edward Sang, a Gynaecologic Oncologist, at MP Shah Hospital, vaginal dryness can be caused by physiological factors, such as hormonal changes or emotional and psychological issues like anxiety or a lack of desire. He also points out that physical factors like infections such as cervicitis can cause vaginal dryness.
“Anxiety can wreak havoc on your sex life as it can cause vaginal dryness even in younger women, which can result in conflict in relationships. A dry vagina also affects the partner as the sexual experience can be painful for both parties, even causing bruises sometimes,” says Dr Sang.
The doctor advises women to be relaxed and calm so as to allow the body to self-lubricate. “It is important to establish the root cause of vaginal dryness as a number of conditions can lead to a dry vagina.
It also helps with prescribing the correct treatment for each case,” advises Dr Sang, who says that doctors can give a vaginal moisturiser to reduce friction while making your sex wetter and more enjoyable even as they establish what is ailing your sex life.
What are some of the symptoms of vaginal dryness?
- An irritated, itchy or sore vagina
- Pain or discomfort during penetration/sex
- An urge to use the bathroom more often than usual
Common causes of vaginal dryness
- Hormonal changes in menopause
- Breastfeeding and childbirth
- Stress and anxiety
- Irritants such as chemicals in soaps, hygiene products, or perfumes
- When one is not fully aroused during sex
- Cancer treatments like chemotherapy
- If one has had a hysterectomy (removal of the womb)
- Have an underlying condition like diabetes
- Some experts say that taking anti-histamines (cold and flu medication) can also cause
- vaginal dryness
How can one relieve a dry vagina?
- Doctors can sometimes recommend oestrogen creams, topical oestrogen therapy and vaginal moisturisers.
- Enjoy sufficient foreplay and ensure that you are wet enough before penetration. Explore various ways as a couple that can put you both in the mood.
- Lubricants: can help make sex more comfortable. You can opt for water-based or silicone-based lubes, which are safe to use with latex unlike oil-based lubes.
- Stay hydrated.
- If you are in good health both physically and psychologically, then sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Your body will cooperate.
It is important to first establish the cause of dryness. Sometimes it might be a simple remedy like taking a little more time on foreplay and the juices start flowing. One also has to first resolve any psychological problems, like stress, that could be causing vaginal dryness.
Vaginas going dry is a common yet very frustrating condition. If it is coming between you and good sex or leaving you in pain instead of pleasure, make an appointment with your doctor to help establish the cause and give you personalised treatment.