During sexual stimulation, your vagina naturally produces a lubricant to prepare for sexual intercourse. This is designed to reduce the amount of friction that takes place and reduce the potential injuries you might suffer from dry skin on skin sexual interactions. However, there are times where you might suffer from an adhered dryness in your vagina. Not only does this reduce the overall satisfaction you might obtain from your sexual experiences but it can also make it more painful as well.
While one or two occasions do not necessarily mean there is any sort of condition you are suffering from, the continual lack of any sort of produce lubrication is a sign that you might have a condition known as vaginal atrophy. This is a common condition that can take place in any woman, although it is more likely to occur in women who have already gone through menopause or are breast-feeding. However, regardless of the reasoning, there are different factors in play behind the cause, in addition to treatments available to help with the lubrication process.
The symptoms of vaginal atrophy are rather straight forward, and chances are you have already experienced some of them during dry sexual intercourse. However, there are other symptoms that go along with it. This includes burning inside of the vagina, a strange discharge during intercourse or while using the bathroom, itching, burning while urinating or the urgency to urinate, an increase in UTIs, light bleeding after you have sex and the shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal.
In all, usually around half of all women who have gone through menopause do experience some sort of vaginal atrophy, and while many women do not want to discuss the situation with their doctor, it is a simple, natural condition that takes place, and in order to avoid future discomfort, it is very important to see a doctor. Not only can dry sexual intercourse become extremely discomfortable and even painful, but potential urinary tract infections that occur because of it simply add to the discomfort level.
While the major cause of vaginal atrophy is due to menopause and the years leading up to menopause, there are other causes behind the condition as well. If you are breast-feeding, this might take place, and in all likelihood, is a minor condition that will alleviate once you stop. It can also take place after having your ovaries removed due to surgical needs, after chemotherapy for cancer, radiation therapy for cancer or simply as a side effect of a hormonal treatment for cancer.
There are some specific risk factors associated with the condition as well that can lead to the vaginal dryness. Smoking is a major cause behind this, as it affects the blood circulation in your body and can result in your vagina not receiving enough oxygen. If you have either never had a child before or it was always through C-section, there is research that points towards women who have never had a natural birth are more likely to suffer from this condition. Lastly, if you do not regularly have any sort of sexual activity, whether on your own or with a partner, you are more likely to see a drop in blood flow, which in turn tightens your vagina walls and reduces the amount of lubrication you are able to produce.
There are different kinds of treatments available when suffering from the vaginal dryness, depending on what sort of method you wish to take. Some might prove more comfortable for you than others, and your doctor might also recommend some specifics as well. For starters, a vaginal moisturizer is able to help increase the amount of moisture inside of your vagina. Generally, you apply the moisturizer every two or three days or so. This works longer than your standard lubricant. It also allows you to avoid having to use lubricant during sexual activity, if you would rather not have to use the product. However, if you don’t mind, there are many different water-based lubricants out there.
If you are using condoms, make sure to avoid petroleum jelly, as this can break down condoms. However, there are different varieties of lubricant you can try out and you might find appealing. Outside of these lubricant based items, you can use a topical estrogen or oral estrogen, which helps increase the amount of lubricant your body produces naturally. There is also a vaginal estrogen ring, which is an insert you place inside of your vagina, which releases estrogen into the region directly.
If you are suffering from vaginal atrophy, you are not alone, but thankfully there are plenty of ways to improve the condition and treat it.