The hormone estrogen keeps the vagina moist and healthy condition. This hormone secret a clear fluid which keeps the walls of the vagina lubricated. Women can have problems of vaginal dryness during menopause stage. The secretion of estrogen may reduce drastically at this stage thus making the vagina thin and less moist. This condition is known as vaginal atrophy. Vaginal dryness is one of the common signs of menopause and most of the women would experience this change during menopause. There are several other factors which may cause dryness of vagina but it can be completely treated through application of estrogen creams and by phytotherapy.
Menopause is the condition which predominantly causes vaginal dryness. In addition breastfeeding mothers can have this problem after childbirth since there is decrease in the level of estrogen secretion. Women who undergo chemotherapy for cancer or any type of radiation method may get vaginal dryness.
Women who are using anti-estrogen drugs for treating health issues like endometriosis or uterine fibroids can get dryness in their vagina. When ovaries are removed surgically for some reason, this can cause vaginal dryness.
Certain medications given for anxiety and depression can trigger dryness in vagina. Autoimmune disorder like Siogren’s syndrome can block the moisture in the vaginal wall causing dryness.
Dryness in vagina can produce discomfort and pain for women during sexual intercourse. It can cause itching and burning sensation in the vagina making it difficult to have sex. Sometimes, having sex without foreplay can cause irritation and pain in the vagina.
Gynecologist will do a pelvic examination for studying the condition of vagina. She will look out causes for vaginal dryness and pain. If necessary she would take out a small portion of vaginal wall (Pap smear test) for testing the cells.
Topical estrogen is the best treatment for vaginal dryness. It would help to increase the level of estrogen by replacing the hormone in the body in the form of supplement.
Three types of estrogen treatment are available for treating dryness in vaginal walls.
Estrogen ring also called as “Estring” during which your doctor will insert a small flexible ring into the genitals which would discharge continuous estrogen directly into the vaginal tissues. This ring is sufficient for lubricating the vaginal wall and it can be replenished in every 3 months.
Estrogen is given in the form of pills (Vagifem). You should insert the estrogen tablet into the vagina daily for at least a week or 10 days. Then the dosage will be reduced for every alternate day.
Estrogen cream is given for some women that can be easily inserted into the vagina using applicator. Estrace and premarin is the common brands available in the market. You will be asked to start with high dosage initially and your doctor will taper the dose after 2 or 3 weeks. However topical creams should not be used by breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women and women who have endometrial cancer.
Alternative Treatment :
Herbal products are available for treating vaginal dryness. You need to drink plenty of water for flushing out toxins and to keep your vagina moist. Eat nutritious diet containing soy products and flax seed which would help in lubrication of your vagina.