Let’s talk about vaginal dryness, shall we? Firstly, it’s more common than you think! Vaginal dryness has affected 70% of women at some point in their lives. And contrary to popular belief, menopause isn’t the only culprit. Dryness can start as early as your 20s. (Yikes!). Stress, birth control, antihistamines, childbirth, breastfeeding, and even dehydration can cause vaginal dryness. It may also be a symptom of vaginal atrophy, a condition in which vaginal tissues become thinner and more easily irritated. And what about sex? When your heart says one thing but your vagina says another, it’s a recipe for unwanted interruptions. Vaginal dryness doesn’t have to keep you from feeling like yourself or looking forward to intimacy.
Gynecologist Dr. Althea O’Shaughnessy decodes vaginal dryness symptoms to help you better understand what could be causing you pain.
Vaginal dryness is typically linked to a drop in estrogen levels, which help lubricate and maintain the health of your vaginal walls. This drop causes internal and external vaginal tissue to become pale, thin, dry, and fragile, with a loss of secretions and elasticity. Estrogen levels can be impacted by birth control pills, stress, breastfeeding, childbirth, menopause, and perimenopause (the transition period before menopause). However, dryness isn’t only caused by a drop in estrogen levels; dehydration and antihistamines can contribute as well.
Yes, it is perfectly normal! 70% of women are affected by vaginal dryness at some point in their lives, and it can start as early as your 20s. Vaginal dryness is typically caused by a drop in estrogen levels, which are impacted by a number of factors from birth control pills and stress to childbirth and menopause.
Using lubricants before or during sex can help relieve dryness and prevent pain or discomfort. Moisturizing, pH balanced washes are also a great alternative to using washes that contain harsh chemicals, which can dry out your skin. And don’t forget, hydration is key! Drinking water helps ALL of your skin stay hydrated.