If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, you aren’t alone. Many women find that as they age, their vagina feels drier and less elastic, especially after menopause. Blame it on your hormones: As estrogen levels go down during perimenopause and after menopause, the tissue in your vagina may lose the natural lubrication and elasticity to which you became accustomed during your younger years.
Even though chronic vaginal dryness is, for many women, a natural part of aging, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it or suffer in silence. In fact, there are several reasons – which we will explore here – to seek care for vaginal dryness.
The care providers at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati would like you to understand why you should tell your provider if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness. Fortunately, simple treatments can restore some of the moisture and suppleness to your vaginal tissues.
Not only can these treatments increase your vaginal comfort, but they may also reduce your risk of developing other common conditions. Keep reading to learn more.
About vaginal dryness
There are lots of downsides to vaginal dryness. If you have pain with intercourse, it can make sex less enjoyable, which can interfere with your relationship and lower your libido.
Chronic vaginal dryness can lead to a condition known as vaginal atrophy, in which your vaginal walls become inflamed, dry, and thin. In addition to sexual symptoms, untreated vaginal atrophy can cause or contribute to the following:
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Increased urinary frequency and urinary incontinence
- Vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal burning, itching, or irritation, even apart from intercourse
You shouldn’t ignore vaginal dryness because, over time, symptoms could worsen, and the impact on your quality of life and your sex life could multiply. For example, today’s vaginal irritation could contribute to increased urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence in the future.
Treatments for vaginal dryness
The type of treatment your provider may recommend for your vaginal dryness depends on the type of symptoms you’re experiencing, the impact on your quality of life, and any other medical conditions you have.
To determine your treatment options, your provider talks with you about your symptoms, their effect on your life, your treatment goals, and your medical history. Your provider then performs an internal exam to check on your vaginal/gynecological health.
Once your provider has all pertinent information, they recommend a personalized treatment plan that is customized to address your symptoms and your needs. The treatment plan may include one or more of the following:
Vaginal moisturizers: These can be applied internally and/or externally to increase moisture inside and around the vagina:
Vaginal lubricants: These add moisture to your vagina during sexual intercourse.
Hormonal treatments: Adding back some of the hormones you lose with menopause may help relieve vaginal dryness, as well as other menopause symptoms. Hormones may be taken orally or inserted into your vagina via creams, rings, or tablets.
MonaLisa Touch®: MonaLisa Touch is a gentle laser treatment that stimulates the generation of new collagen, a protein found naturally in your body’s tissues. As you age, collagen levels decrease, but laser treatment with MonaLisa Touch helps encourage the growth of collagen in your vaginal walls.
Patients receiving therapy with MonaLisa Touch typically have three, five-minute treatments over the course of 12 weeks. This pain-free, in-office procedure requires no anesthesia and no downtime, and it causes few or no side effects.
Speak up about vaginal dryness
Your care provider wants to know if you’re living with chronic vaginal dryness. To schedule an appointment for an annual well-woman exam or a vaginal symptom evaluation, or to learn more about treatments that address vaginal dryness, call our office at 513-794-1500, or request an appointment via our online portal today.