Vaginal dryness can happen at any age, but it is one of the most common symptoms women experience with menopause. Estrogen is critical in keeping the skin hydrated, plump, and lubricated. As levels decline, women may experience discomfort, painful sex, and other genitourinary symptoms. Moreover, vaginal dryness affects intimate relationships and quality of life.
While vaginal dryness likely affects 50% or more of women, only about half are treated. Vaginal dryness may be uncomfortable to talk about with a doctor, or women may think it’s another uncomfortable symptom they must live with.
While many menopausal symptoms subside after perimenopause and the first year or two post-menopause, vaginal dryness tends to stick around. The good news is several integrative treatment options restore the health of vulvar and vaginal skin effectively and safely.
Keep reading to learn more about vaginal dryness, the link to declining estrogen, and how to improve comfort and quality of life.
Vaginal Dryness and Estrogen
Dryness may occur internally in the vagina and externally on the vulva due to a thinning and drying of the tissue. Vaginal dryness is the most prominent symptom of a broader condition called Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (formerly vaginal atrophy) which includes changes in the vulva, vagina, bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor muscles.
Symptoms of Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) may include:
The commonality between all these symptoms is low estrogen. During the reproductive years, abundant estrogen helps maintain muscle tone, a healthy vaginal microbiome, lubrication, and healthy skin. As it declines, the skin changes, you lose muscle tone and you are more prone to dryness and infections.
All women go through menopause, and it’s the most common time to experience these symptoms. However, vaginal dryness and other associated symptoms of low estrogen may occur:
With low estrogen, some women may not experience vaginal dryness, while others may have mild discomfort or severe symptoms.
Vaginal Dryness Solutions
No matter your age, if you are experiencing vaginal dryness and other symptoms of GSM, there are several integrative treatment options to discuss with your doctor. If your doctor is dismissive or uneducated in this area, find someone who is or visit us at TaraMD. We can help you navigate the best, personalized treatment strategy.
Solutions for vaginal dryness include:
In addition, some women may consider systemic bioidentical hormones for body-wide benefits, especially if experiencing other menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, bone loss, and decreased quality of life.
Both of these options require a prescription and follow-up with your healthcare provider.
You can eat phytoestrogen foods like flax seeds and organic soy or use supplements. For targeted vaginal dryness support, you can also try topical preparations of phytoestrogen herbs, such as Pueraria mirifica.
While losing estrogen isn’t always a walk in the park, there are many ways to address vaginal dryness and associated symptoms with simple, integrative, and practical solutions. If you are ready for more comfort, lubrication, and to enhance your quality of life, reach out today!