By Dr. Amit Joshi , Sexology
Along with mood swings and hot flashes, a woman goes through a variety of changes during the process of menopause, which leads to a less than ideal existence thanks to hormonal imbalances and various changes in the genital parts. Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause that occurs when the estrogen hormone production becomes less. Owing to this change in the hormones, the clear fluid that keeps the vaginal walls well lubricated does not get proper maintenance. This clear fluid also helps in keeping the walls of the vagina thick and elastic. This creates vaginal dryness. Let us find out more about this condition.
Estrogen: To begin with, there is a very clear link between the estrogen hormone and the lubrication of the vagina. This hormone is known to support the production of essential fluids within the vagina so as to keep it well moisturised at all times. But, due to menopause or other ailments, the level of estrogen production drops, which makes the level of the moisture production drop as well. Thanks to this, vaginal dryness becomes a normal part of the patient’s life. The level of this hormone can also drop after childbirth and due to procedures like radiation and chemotherapy which can lead to many changes in the system.
Symptoms and Problems: Vaginal Dryness is one of the most common female sexual health problems that leads to a number of issues. Symptoms like pain and irritation can also give rise to issues when it comes to intercourse. This condition can cause significant pain during penetration and can lead to related problems like a lack of interest in sex and lack of arousal or libido in the long run. Burning, itching and discomfort are also other symptoms of this condition.
Diagnosis: Any of the above problems should be brought to the notice of a gynaecologist immediately. With the help of your health history and a physical examination, the doctor will be able to find the cause of the condition. A pelvic exam will also reveal any kind of redness or thinning of the vaginal walls which can also point to the presence of an infection. A pap test can also help in diagnosis.
Treatment: Usually, the doctor will prescribe estrogen producing medication that will help in creating and retaining moisture in this part of the body. Also, causes like infection will require antibiotics. One can also seek to treat causes like weight gain, fluid retention, headaches with the help of home remedies as well as medicines.
Water based lubricants can also be used to remove vaginal dryness.