Your body changes in many ways as you age. Wrinkles and lines appear on your face. Menopause stops your periods from coming. (Hooray!) And for many women, vaginal lubrication decreases, leading to vaginal dryness.
Not all women experience vaginal dryness. However, it is a common, age-related condition that affects many women.
The bad news is that vaginal dryness can cause a range of frustrating symptoms, including pain during sexual intercourse. But the good news is that various types of treatment can provide relief.
At Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati, our team of care providers have extensive experience helping women deal with vaginal dryness. Here, we invite you to learn more about this common problem, including the symptoms it can cause and the treatments used to manage it.
About vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness in older women is typically caused by falling levels of estrogen. During perimenopause (the years before menstrual periods stop for good), estrogen levels decrease, which can contribute to a reduction in vaginal moisture.
The hormonal changes of menopause also cause the walls of your vagina to become thinner and lose elasticity. Vaginal walls tend to lose collagen, a naturally occurring protein that provides flexibility and strength to vaginal tissue.
In addition to pain during intercourse, common symptoms of age-related vaginal dryness include:
- Increased urinary frequency
- Irritation and burning within your vagina
- Irritation or itching in the outer genital area
- Urinary incontinence
- Urinary tract infections
Treating vaginal dryness
Treatment options for vaginal dryness depend on the type and extent of your symptoms. They include the following:
Moisturizers and lubricants
Various types of over-the-counter moisturizers and lubricants can add moisture to the vagina. Some are used on a regular basis; others are inserted only during intercourse. Your provider can help you decide which products might work best for your situation.
Restoring estrogen may provide relief for vaginal dryness and other menopausal symptoms. Hormone therapy comes in pill form, or estrogen can be inserted into the vagina directly in the form of tablets, creams, or vaginal rings.
In some cases, non-hormonal prescription medication, such as ospemifene, can help relieve vaginal dryness. This is sometimes recommended to women who are advised against using hormonal treatments.
Laser therapy is a nonsurgical, non-hormonal treatment for vaginal dryness. This minimally invasive treatment uses gentle laser energy to stimulate healing and increase the production of collagen.
Our practice offers vaginal laser therapy with the MonaLisa Touch™ vaginal laser and the FemiLift laser. In addition to addressing vaginal dryness, these therapies can also reduce certain other types of aging-related symptoms, such as urinary incontinence or chronic urinary infections.
Laser therapy is a safe, effective treatment for vaginal dryness and other menopause symptoms.
Alleviate your vaginal dryness
There's no need to put up with vaginal dryness as you age. Treatments can alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life. To learn more, schedule an evaluation, or tell your provider about your symptoms during your well-woman exam. Call our office at 513-794-1500, or request an appointment via our online portal today.