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Vaginal Dryness Causes and Treatments

What To Do When Vaginal Lubrication Is A Problem

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Updated June 02, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Vaginal dryness occurs most often during perimenopause and menopause. Your body produces reduced amounts of estrogen during menopause, which accounts for the majority of vaginal dryness encountered by women.

Signs that may indicate that you are experiencing vaginal dryness include:

Other causes of vaginal dryness include certain medications, using tampons with absorbency ratings higher than you actually need, vaginal douching, and Sjogren's Syndrome. Scented soaps, bubble baths, and body lotions used in the vaginal area may also increase vaginal dryness.

Treatments for vaginal dryness caused by reduced estrogen levels include:

  • Estring® - Estring is a vaginal ring that you or your doctor insert into your vagina. Estring slowly releases estrogen directly into the vaginal tissues. The vaginal ring effectively treats vaginal dryness for 3 months.
  • Vagifem™ - Vagifem is a vaginal tablet that you insert into your vagina using a disposable applicator. You will need to insert the vaginal tablet once daily for two weeks, and then twice weekly for as long as you need it.
  • Premarin® or Estrace® - While the oral pill form of Premarin and Estrace are most frequently prescribed; they both are available in vaginal cream formulas. Your doctor will advise you on how to use vaginal estrogen creams should this be the treatment of choice for vaginal dryness.

Vaginal estrogens provide the most effective relief of vaginal dryness. Women who use vaginal estrogens also experience significantly fewer recurrent urinary tract infections.

Other treatment options for vaginal dryness include:

  • Vaginal Moisturizers - Vaginal moisturizers include over-the-counter products such as Replens. Replens is a once-daily vaginal suppository used to increase vaginal lubrication.

    Compare Prices For Vaginal Moisturizers

  • Vaginal Lubricants - Vaginal lubricants include over-the-counter products such as Astroglide and K-Y Jelly. When vaginal dryness is a problem during sexual intercourse, vaginal lubricants provide the necessary vaginal lubrication to make sexual intercourse more comfortable.

    Compare Prices For K-Y Jelly and Astroglide

Always choose a water-based vaginal lubricant. Never use a petroleum-based product such as Vaseline for vaginal lubrication, doing so can create a breeding ground for infection.

Source:

Menopause and hormone therapy (HT): collaborative decision-making and management. http://guidelines.gov/summary/summary.aspx?doc_id=13312&nbr=006756&string=vaginal+AND+dryness. Accessed 06/25/10.

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