What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
There are many things that influence your reproductive health, such as stress and hormonal changes. In this article, we will discuss the different causes of changes throughout your menstrual cycle that can help you have a better understanding of your body and why you might be experiencing vaginal dryness (vaginal atrophy)
Every vagina is different
Before discussing the various causes of vaginal dryness, you need to know that vaginal dryness is a spectrum. Some vaginas are dryer than others because we are all different, and as long as you’re healthy and happy, that’s okay. However, if you notice that vaginal dryness negatively affects your daily life, you need to talk to your doctor for professional medical advice.
Vaginal dryness and the menstrual cycle
A balance of different hormones helps to regulate the cycle, and these hormones cause changes and trigger events like ovulation and menstruation. Our hormone levels are also linked to our energy level, overall mood, and our skin’s oily. It is entirely natural for your vagina to be dryer a few days prior to your period, and it occurs due to increasing levels of a hormone called progesterone.
High progesterone and reduced estrogen can also affect sex drive and also causes vaginal dryness. It is possible to note these kinds of patterns when your track your cycle. We’ll explain more about this later in this post.
Vaginal dryness and menopause
Estrogen levels remain low at the end of our fertile years. Vaginal atrophy can result in painful sex during perimenopause and menopause. It is very common to experience vaginal dryness, even though many people don’t often talk about it. To rectify this, you can use lubricants.
Vaginal dryness while pregnant or breastfeeding
Your hormone levels also get influenced when you’re pregnant or have just delivered or are breastfeeding. Estrogen levels are also low, and low estrogen levels can affect your libido and cause a dry vagina.
Unbalanced vaginal ph causes dryness and infections
Hormones do not always cause vaginal dryness. The pH balance in the vagina is very sensitive, and when disrupted, it causes vaginal atrophy. This can occur when using soap, non-sensitive lubricants, or creams in the vagina.
Also, the use of specially designed intimate washes or soaps is also linked to a dry vagina. The vagina is self-cleaning, which means that there is no need to use any products on it. An unbalanced vaginal pH could end up leading to unpleasant infections like thrush. So, when cleaning your vagina, it’s best to keep it natural and let it self-cleanse to avoid infections.
Vaginal dryness during sex
Vaginal dryness can also occur due to anxiety around sex and not being fully aroused before penetration. To overcome vaginal atrophy during sex, it’s best to discuss what you do and don’t like with your partner and take things slowly. Also, you can use a pH-balanced lubricant to prevent dryness during sex.
Stress depression and vaginal dryness
Stress, depression, and low mood can also affect your body and cause vaginal dryness. There is also a link between stress depression and low sex drive, and it means that low libido can cause a dry vagina.
It is not healthy to be extremely stressed, and while you can easily cope with pressure from time to time, prolonged stress can affect your overall health. Do you know that stress can affect your menstrual cycle? If you are very stressed, ovulation may not happen at all or may be delayed.
Other causes of vaginal dryness
There are plenty of factors that may cause vaginal dryness. Apart from the ones we have mentioned above, a dry vagina is also linked to certain cancer treatments, removal of the ovaries, and diabetes. If you’re experiencing vaginal atrophy, it is best to consult a medical professional for treatment and or advice.
Vaginal dryness treatments and prevention
Even though hormonal changes throughout your cycle may cause vaginal dryness, you should talk to your doctor if you realize that your overall life is heavily affected by vaginal atrophy. If you experience pain during sex due to vaginal dryness, remember always to use lubricants.
If you’re experiencing prolonged periods of stress or depression, it may cause vaginal dryness. You should also talk to a health care professional and seek help. A professional will help you manage depression and deal with stress effectively. In turn, you will experience a reduction in vaginal dryness and an improvement in your overall well-being.
Tracking changes in your cycle
It’s essential to keep track of your symptoms throughout your menstrual cycle, such as mood changes, pain, and sex drive to understand your body better. You can use an app to track your cycles along with using ovulation tests and FAM methods to help track your cycle changes.
Falling estrogen levels are the leading cause of vaginal dryness. As women age, they produce less estrogen, leading to the end of menstruation, a time known as perimenopause. However, menopause is not the only condition that can cause low estrogen production. Other causes such as depression, excessive stress, cigarette smoking, breastfeeding, immune system disorders, childbirth, rigorous exercise, surgical removal of ovaries, and some cancers treatments can also reduce estrogen secretion in the body.
When to seek medical help
In rare cases, vaginal dryness may be a sign of a medical condition. If you experience discomfort for several days or pain when having sexual intercourse, you need to seek help from a medical professional. Seek immediate medical attention if vaginal dryness is accompanied by severe vaginal bleeding.
Your doctor will examine your vagina walls and check for thinning skin or lacerations. They will also take a sample of your vaginal discharge to check for harmful bacteria. In addition, your doctor will do hormone tests to determine if you are in the perimenopause or menopause stage known to lead to a dry vagina.
There are a lot of over-the-counter lubricants used to reduce dryness and discomfort in the vaginal area. These moisturizing creams and lubricants can change your vagina’s pH level, reducing the chances of getting a UTI. You need to talk to your doctor to recommend to you the best lubricant for vaginal use. The best ones usually are water-based and don’t contain artificial colours, herbal extracts, or perfumes.
A doctor may prescribe estrogen therapy in a ring, cream, or pill that releases estrogen in certain instances. Because there are plenty of products that can irritate your vaginal skin, it’s essential to use the Fertility2Family ovulation tests and use a fertility awareness method to learn how to monitor your cycle. Seek treatment and evaluation advice from your doctor if the condition persists.