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Vaginal dryness is a highly prevalent yet undertreated condition that affects women in the setting of chronically low estrogen levels. The transition to menopause is the most common time we see vaginal dryness, affecting over half of postmenopausal women. Other times that women may experience vaginal dryness include:

  • Postpartum and breastfeeding
  • Use of certain medications
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Cancer treatments such as surgery, pelvic radiation therapy, or chemotherapy that render the ovaries inactive

Vaginal dryness can make it uncomfortable to sit, stand, exercise, work and affect one’s overall quality of life. It is often accompanied by other bothersome symptoms such as itching, burning, pain during intercourse, and bleeding or spotting during or after intercourse. Unlike other symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and its associated symptoms typically don’t go away on their own and can even worsen with time. 

The good news is that safe and effective treatment options can be provided to you by seeing a knowledgeable Naturopathic Doctor like myself at Clarity Health! Non-hormonal lubricants can be used during intercourse to reduce discomfort with sexual activity (check out this blog article on how to choose a lube). Vaginal moisturizers line the wall of the vagina to rehydrate the tissues, maintain moisture and reduce symptoms of dryness. Most can be used regularly (i.e. 2-3x per week at bedtime) and not just during intercourse.

Recognizing that you may be experiencing vaginal dryness is the first step in helping yourself. The next step is to speak with your health care practitioner, or Naturopathic Doctor at Clarity Health, who will do a thorough assessment and recommend treatment suitable to your needs. Discussing vaginal health with a health care practitioner can be daunting, however often it is well worth having the conversation that can lead to significant improvements in quality of life!

References:

Kingsberg SA, Wysocki S, Magnus L, Krychman ML. Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy in Postmenopausal Women: Findings from the REVIVE (REal Women’s VIews of Treatment Options for Menopausal Vaginal ChangEs) Survey. J Sex Medicine. 2013;10(7):1790-1799. doi:10.1111/jsm.12190  

(NAMS) TNAMS. The 2020 genitourinary syndrome of menopause position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2020;27(9):976-992. doi:10.1097/gme.0000000000001609

Nappi RE, Kokot-Kierepa M. Vaginal Health: Insights, Views & Attitudes (VIVA) – results from an international survey. Climacteric. 2011;15(1):36-44. doi:10.3109/13697137.2011.647840