How is Vaginal Dryness Caused?

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A healthy vagina should produce its own thin layer of clear fluid, which naturally lubricates the vaginal wall, keeping it elastic and thick. However, many factors can cause a decline in the production of this natural lubricant, which may cause vaginal dryness.

Although often thought of as a painful symptom that only affects older women, vaginal dryness is a prevalent condition that affects many women at some point during their lives. Fortunately, board-certified doctor of osteopathic medicine and OBGYN Dr. Samantha Schoenhaus offers several treatments at Essential Women's Health Associates to treat vaginal dryness and help women enjoy more comfortable sex lives in Henderson or Las Vegas, NV.

Keep reading to learn more about the different causes of vaginal dryness and how you can experience relief from its painful symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness occurs when the vagina's tissues are not well-lubricated, which can happen at any age. However, older women are indeed more likely to have vaginal dryness. In many cases, patients overlook warning signs of the condition and are unaware of the various treatment options available. The most common symptoms of vaginal dryness are:

  • Vaginal itching, soreness, or burning

  • Pain or discomfort during sex

  • Bleeding after sex

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

  • Abnormal vaginal odor

  • Loss of interest in sex

  • Reoccurring or long-lasting urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Common causes and risk factors

Several factors may contribute to vaginal dryness. However, the condition is most often caused by a drop in estrogen levels. Estrogen is one of the most important female hormones and helps maintain natural lubrication in the vagina. Consequently, if estrogen levels drop, regardless of the reason, one likely effect is decreased production of lubricant and vaginal dryness.

You may already know that estrogen levels decrease at the onset of menopause. But, a decline in estrogen can happen at any age and may have several different causes. Typically, reasons for decreased estrogen production include:

  • Perimenopause, menopause, or surgical menopause

  • Taking anti-estrogen medications

  • Taking birth control pills

  • Radiation or chemotherapy for cancer

  • Menstruation

  • Pregnancy

  • Breastfeeding

  • Childbirth

Although abnormally low estrogen levels are the primary cause of vaginal dryness, other risk factors can decrease natural lubrication in the vagina. At Essential Women's Health Associates in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, our team specializes in identifying the cause of vaginal dryness to provide the most appropriate treatment. Other causes of vaginal dryness may include:

  • Immune system disorders, such as Sjögren's syndrome

  • Allergies to highly fragranced personal products, detergents, or toilet paper

  • Side effects from allergy and cold medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, and asthma medications

  • Excessive stress

  • Depression

  • Douching

  • Smoking cigarettes

  • Rigorous exercise

Treatment options to overcome vaginal dryness

If you have symptoms of vaginal dryness that are severe or don't seem to go away, you should consider seeing a doctor. There are numerous treatments available today to relieve painful symptoms and help restore natural lubrication in the vagina. Unfortunately, many women report being too embarrassed to address the issue with their doctor. However, if left untreated, vaginal dryness can severely impact your quality of life.

At our Henderson and Las Vegas locations, Essential Women's Health Associates provides treatment for vaginal dryness with the MonaLisa Touch Laser System. Dr. Schoenhaus is trained to use this laser technology to help women address common gynecological issues, such as side effects of menopause, incontinence, and vaginal dryness.

Find out if the MonaLisa Touch Laser System can help you

Our team of healthcare providers is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality care and the most effective treatments. If you're interested in learning more about how laser technology can improve your vaginal health, contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Samantha Schoenhaus.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.