Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort during sex as well as itching and burning sensations.
Some causes of vaginal dryness are:
Lower estrogen levels after
- Hormonal changes due to childbirth or breastfeeding
Some medications, including
tamoxifen, antihistamines, ulcer medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, oral contraceptives, and cold medications
- Strenuous exercise
Cancer treatments, such as
radiation, and hormone therapy
- Sjogren’s syndrome
Your doctor may choose to do a pelvic exam to make sure that no other conditions are responsible for your vaginal dryness. During the exam, you may be tested for infections or other conditions. You may also be asked to undergo a urine test. The good news is that you do not have to live with vaginal dryness. Sexual lubricants can bring back the pleasure.
Lubricants are substances designed to ease dryness, prevent friction, and make sexual intercourse more comfortable and enjoyable for both partners. There are many over-the-counter products available including:
- K-Y Jelly
- Liquid Silk
Not all lubricants are created equal. Do not use any of the following as lubricants:
- Petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline, mineral oil, and baby oil
can cause the latex in condoms to break down, increasing the risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and pregnancy.
- Moisture creams and lotions
can interfere with the body's pH levels and cause irritation or infection.
A doctor's take on lubricants for female pleasure and comfort. Safer Sex 4 Seniors website. Available at: http://safersex4seniors.org/assets/SS4S_Choosing_and_Using_Lubricants.pdf. Accessed December 24, 2013.
Vaginal and vulvar comfort: lubricants, moisturizers, and low-dose vaginal estrogen. The North American Menopause Society website. Available at: http://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/effective-treatments-for-sexual-problems/vaginal-and-vulvar-comfort-lubricants-moisturizers-and-low-dose-vaginal-estrogen. Accessed December 24, 2013.
Last reviewed December 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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