Vaginal Dryness: The Facts and How to Address the Problem
A recent survey, commissioned by Vagisan, revealed that 1 in 5 women across the UK suffer from vaginal dryness, or atrophic vaginitis. The research, which questioned 2,000 participants, not only discovered that as many as 20% experience the problem, but also revealed that 90% of people suffer in silence, rather than talk to their doctors, or even their friends.
Impact on Sex Life
The issue of not being ‘wet enough down there’ causes many women to feel as though they’re underperforming sexually. Additionally, 42% of women feel pain during or after intercourse and choose to avoid sex as a result.
Vaginal dryness can also have an emotional impact. A quarter of women interviewed said they felt ‘less feminine’, and nearly half reported feeling ‘more old’ as a result.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
Vaginal dryness can occur at any point in your life, but it’s especially common after the menopause.
Prior to this, your vagina is kept moist by fluids and mucus. These fluids are highly effective at protecting the vagina from infection and maintaining lubrication during sex. However, when oestrogen levels start to drop during the menopause, the glands responsible for producing these fluids become less effective.
The result? Your vagina becomes drier and less elastic. Although this is a very normal process, if it’s having an impact on your life, it’s important to seek a solution for the problem.
How to Cure Vaginal Dryness?
Thankfully, vaginal dryness is generally very easy to cure. There are a variety of methods you can use to address the problem; and it’s best to talk to your doctor before commencing any treatment, in order to establish which one is most suitable for you.
- Lubricating gels. There are plenty of lubricating gels available from your local pharmacist, which are specifically designed to provide lubrication during sex. They can also be used to ease any discomfort experienced during the day as a result of the condition. Please note, it’s best to purchase a product that specifically targets vaginal dryness, rather than using any other form of lubricant.
- Oestrogen creams. After a discussion with your GP, you may be recommended a cream or pessary (dissolvable block) which releases a steady dose of oestrogen, helping the body to naturally start producing fluids in the vagina once again. However, you may also need to use additional lubrication during sexual intercourse.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). In certain instances, HRT may be recommended. This involves the replacement of oestrogen in the body via a tablet, patch or gel. HRT is generally considered one of the most effective methods of addressing vaginal dryness and other health issues related to the menopause. However, there are also some disadvantages to using it, and it’s important to consider your options carefully before coming to a decision.
The Good News?
The great news is that, in most cases, vaginal dryness is a very simple problem to cure. However, in order to do so, it’s important to feel comfortable enough to discuss things with your GP, who will be able to recommend the best course of treatment for you. Remember, it is a very common problem, and your doctor will have no problem discussing it with you!
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