If a loss of vaginal lubrication has made sex painful or impossible, do not despair. Vaginal dryness is a common condition, especially after a woman goes through menopause.
While over-the-counter lubricants available may provide temporary relief, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy could alleviate vaginal dryness in the long term, as well as help you feel better overall. A doctor specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy could devise a custom-tailored treatment plan for your needs so loss of vaginal lubrication is no longer an issue.
Most of the time, symptoms of vaginal dryness are obvious: the vagina does not lubricate sufficiently prior to intercourse, and attempts at intercourse are painful and unsatisfying. Fear of pain during intercourse can subsequently lead to a lack of libido. However, women can also suffer from vaginal dryness that affects them in ways unrelated to sex.
Women suffering from vaginal dryness may feel discomfort during urination or find it difficult to exercise or even sit comfortably. The vulva sometimes changes its appearance as well, as lubrication loss may cause a thinning of the vaginal lips. Furthermore, vaginal dryness can lead to an increased risk of urinary tract and yeast infections, as the vagina’s natural secretions can no longer fight off the bacteria causing these conditions.
While pre-menopausal women may experience loss of vaginal lubrication, it is a far more frequent occurrence for menopausal women. After menopause, the body’s internal levels of estrogen plummets, and one of the earliest associated signs that a woman is heading into menopause is a lack of vaginal lubrication.
Younger women who do not undergo a natural menopause—such as those who have a hysterectomy including removing of the ovaries or those who have undergone chemotherapy—may also experience vaginal dryness. In addition, women who are breastfeeding may deal with vaginal dryness until their babies are weaned.
Certain medications and hygiene products may cause vaginal dryness, including antihistamines, certain antidepressants, perfumed soaps, and feminine hygiene sprays. Finally, women who spend a great deal of time in swimming pools and hot tubs may find themselves dealing with vaginal dryness as a reaction to the chemicals used to disinfect the water.
Since loss of estrogen often results in the loss of vaginal lubrication, bioidentical estrogen replacement therapy could help restore lost lubrication. Unlike conventional estrogen replacement therapy, in which the hormones are derived from the urine of pregnant mares, bioidentical hormones are the same on the molecular level as the hormones produced by the woman’s own body.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can also help women with other issues related to menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. For women whose primary symptom is vaginal dryness, other forms of bioidentical estrogen therapy may suffice. A compounding pharmacy could create vaginal rings for insertion into the vagina to provide lubrication or insertable vaginal tablets.
While hormone loss is the main contributor to vaginal dryness, it can be exacerbated when women do not consume a healthy diet or exercise as much as they should. Along with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, a dietary and exercise plan should be developed for each individual along with any hormone replacement treatment. That may include the use of certain nutritional supplements to aid in obtaining optimal health.
If you are experiencing a loss of vaginal lubrication affecting your sex life, call our office today and arrange a consultation with Dr. Edward Jacobson. Dr. Jacobson is available for in-person consultations at his home office in Greenwich, Connecticut, or periodically in Manhattan, Newport Beach, and Beverly Hills.