Vaginal Dryness Alternative Treatments: What Is It?
A woman’s vaginal secretions are made up of water, oils, proteins and other substances. These fluids play a major role in maintaining sexual health. They prevent irritation during sexual activity and they even provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, when these fluids become too diluted or runny, they may cause discomfort during sexual activities such as penetration or masturbation.
The term “dry” refers to the fact that the vaginal secretions have lost their ability to hold moisture. The problem with this condition is that it makes sexual activity less pleasurable. Women may experience pain during sexual activity due to decreased sensation or because of irritation caused by dryness.
In addition, women suffering from vaginismus often suffer from vaginal dryness. This condition occurs when the muscles surrounding the opening of the cervix do not allow for full vaginal entry. When this happens, there is no way for a man to enter her without causing damage.
How Does Vaginal Dryness Affect Sexual Activity?
When vaginal dryness affects sexual activity, it causes pain during penetration or masturbation. Painful sensations may occur because of decreased sensitivity or because of irritation caused by dryness.
The decreased sensitivity is the result of a lack of adequate moisture to protect the lining of the vaginal area. Because it is not slippery enough, sexual activity can cause ripping or tearing of the vaginal tissue. Furthermore, tears in the skin may cause irritation which leads to burning and itching sensations that are painful.
What Are the Symptoms of Dryness?
There are many different symptoms that may occur as a result of vaginal dryness. For some women, one or two may occur while others experience a variety of them.
Some of the most common symptoms of dryness are itching, burning and soreness. Some women may even experience bleeding as a result of dryness, which is often a sign of an injury such as a tear in the vaginal lining.
In many cases, pain during penetration is a sign that there is a lack of sufficient moisture. This is especially common in women who experience dryness during pregnancy or after menopause.
Vaginal dryness can also cause a decrease in pleasure during sexual activity, which can lead to a loss of interest in having a sexual life. If the dryness is severe enough, sexual activity may be impossible because of the pain it causes.
What are the Different Causes of Dryness?
There are many different causes of vaginal dryness that can affect both men and women. Some of the most common causes are listed below.
During puberty, hormonal changes lead to the development of adult genitalia. These changes often cause the genitals to start producing less lubrication as an adaptation to this process. This loss of moisture may be minor or severe depending on the person.
However, it can be reversed with the help of hormone therapy and other medical assistance such as topical creams and vaginal moisturizers.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes may cause a woman’s genitals to produce less natural moisture. This is the body’s way of preventing itself from getting infected due to microorganisms entering the vaginal opening.
Menopause is another time in a woman’s life where there may be a drastic change in hormonal levels. This often causes a loss of natural moisture as well. The decrease in estrogen levels often leads to an increase in tissue elasticity and dryness.
There are some drugs that are known to cause dryness in the genital area. One of the most common drugs that causes this effect is anti-anxiety medication. Other types of drugs may also cause a loss of moisture, such as some drugs used to reduce stomach acid or prevent vomiting.
If a man is taking drugs that are known to cause dryness as a side effect, there are lubricants that can be applied anally to prevent damage to the skin.
Lack of Foreplay
One of the main reasons why women may experience symptoms of dryness is due to a lack of foreplay. For some reason, some men think that foreplay is unnecessary and that they can just go straight to penetration.
While this may be true in some cases, most women need at least a few minutes of foreplay before engaging in vaginal penetration. For some men, this can be a chore and takes away from their own pleasure. As a result, they don’t perform it as much as their partner needs, which leads to a higher chance of experiencing dryness.
What is the Average Age That a Woman Experiences Dryness?
Although many women experience dryness at some point in their lives, there are some age groups that are more likely to experience it more than others.
Puberty is a time when many girls start to experience dryness due to hormonal changes. However, this type of dryness is often temporary and will disappear as soon as the girl’s body has completely developed.
Most cases of dryness occur in women during menopause. This is due to a drastic drop in estrogen that affects the vaginal canal and causes it to become dryer than normal.
Some studies have shown that women who have gone through menopause and experience vaginal dryness are more likely to experience problems reaching climax.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Dryness?
There are a wide range of signs and symptoms related to dryness. They differ in severity and some may be more prominent than others. The two main symptoms of dryness include itchy/irritated genitals and discomfort during intimacy.
Itchy or Irritated Genitals
When a woman experiences dryness, the first noticeable sign is usually an itchy or irritated genital area. This can be described as a general burning or itching sensation around the opening of the vaginal canal. As stated before, the reason for this is a reduction in natural vaginal lubrication.
Another common sign of dryness is a general feeling of discomfort during intimacy. This can be especially the case for women who are unaccustomed to experiencing any pain or dryness. Many experience a feeling of slight pain when engaging in penetration.
This is most likely due to dry skin tearing or rubbing against one another.
How is Dryness Diagnosed?
There are a wide range of factors that can cause dryness, as well as an even wider range of signs and symptoms that can result from it. The only way to properly diagnose the problem is to discuss your medical history in detail with your doctor and describe which signs and symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor will then be able to determine what the underlying cause of your dryness is.
How is Dryness Treated?
The treatment for dryness varies depending on the underlying cause. For some women, taking certain medications may be sufficient to correct the problem. Other women may require a combination of medical treatment and lifestyle changes in order to effectively manage their dryness.
If you experience dryness on a regular basis, it is recommended to speak with your doctor and explore all of your treatment options. This will enable you to live a more comfortable life and have a better overall quality of life.
How Can I Prevent Dryness?
There are many ways to prevent dryness:
One of the most effective ways to prevent vaginal dryness is to stop smoking. Smoking has been shown to have a negative effect on vaginal moisture because it restricts blood flow and damages tissues. If you are having problems with dryness and you smoke, quitting is highly recommended.
Heighten Your Awareness
If you experience dryness on occasion but it isn’t that big of a problem for you, then you may choose to do nothing. If, on the other hand, dryness is causing you to experience pain or discomfort then you may want to try heightened awareness. This means being aware of when and where your dryness is worse.
For example, if you find that you experience vaginal dryness mainly before your period, then you may want to keep extra pads in your purse just in case.
Adding a water-based or silicone lubricant can also be helpful in treating dryness. These types of lubricants are safe to use for vaginal moisture and can be found at any drugstore or online.
Another option for vaginal moisture is coconut oil. Coconut oil is unique because, in addition to helping with moisture, it has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Sources & references used in this article:
Replens versus dienoestrol cream in the symptomatic treatment of vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women by M Bygdeman, ML Swahn – Maturitas, 1996 – Elsevier
Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of hyaluronic acid vaginal gel to ease vaginal dryness: a multicenter, randomized, controlled, open‐label, parallel‐group, clinical … by J Chen, L Geng, X Song, H Li, N Giordan… – The journal of sexual …, 2013 – Elsevier
Alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms. Systematic review of scientific and lay literature. by MM Seidl, DE Stewart – Canadian Family Physician, 1998 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Is vaginal hyaluronic acid as effective as vaginal estriol for vaginal dryness relief? by P Stute – Archives of gynecology and obstetrics, 2013 – Springer
Continuous low dose estradiol released from a vaginal ring versus estriol vaginal cream for urogenital atrophy by R Barentsen, PHM van de Weijer… – European Journal of …, 1997 – Elsevier
Effectiveness and safety of vaginal suppositories for the treatment of the vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: an open, non-controlled clinical trial by D Costantino, C Guaraldi – Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 2008 – researchgate.net