Vaginal dryness is a natural phenomenon that can cause complaints. It can cause irritation and itching and can also cause an unpleasant or painful feeling during intercourse. It often occurs after childbirth, especially if breastfeeding. Many women also suffer from it during and after menopause.
What exactly is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness is a lack of moisture because the thickness of the mucous membrane lining the vagina has decreased. As a result, less moisture is produced than normal, which gives a dry feeling. It is also referred to as vaginal atrophy. A lot of women have to deal with it; it is a natural phenomenon and often recovers on its own.
What complaints can this cause?
Vaginal dryness can cause a number of complaints, such as pain and itching, an unpleasant feeling during intercourse or when inserting a tampon. An unpleasant, painful feeling during intercourse is called dyspareunia by doctors . Because the delicate tissue of the vagina is irritated, small abrasions can occur, which can lead to bleeding. There is also a greater chance of a vaginal infection.
What causes vaginal dryness?
If the production of the female hormone (estrogen) is less, there is also a reduced production of the mucous membrane in the vagina, which causes the complaints. The hormone is made by the ovaries. Vaginal dryness mainly occurs in two situations:
After giving birth, almost half of women experience vaginal dryness. That doesn’t always have to be a problem. Often women do not yet feel the need for intercourse and the vagina needs time to recover from childbirth. When a woman breastfeeds, estrogen levels drop and the mucous membrane in the vagina becomes much thinner. No eggs are then released, the cycle comes to a standstill. It’s nature’s kind of contraception (though not reliable!). When breastfeeding is stopped, the cycle restarts and more mucous membrane is produced, which thickens again. The drought will then disappear automatically.
During and after menopause
When a woman goes through menopause, this means that the production of estrogen stops. This usually happens between the ages of 50 and 55, but it can also be earlier. Because hormones are no longer produced, the mucous membrane becomes thinner and the vagina becomes drier. The vagina becomes less elastic, which can cause the above-mentioned complaints. Women may also suffer (more) from urinary tract infections, such as bladder infections. Although it is a natural process, it can be annoying because many women often want to remain physically active on all fronts for years after menopause. After all, women live on average over eighty years.
What can be done about the complaints?
Vaginal dryness can be annoying during intercourse. A moisturizing gel can be used for this. It can be used by women after childbirth and during breastfeeding. It will then only be necessary temporarily because the mucous membrane in the vagina repairs itself. Women in or after menopause can also use it.
A moisturizing gel ensures that there is less friction, which reduces the complaints and prevents wounds in the vagina. Moisturizing gel has been specially developed for this purpose so that the vaginal flora – which ensures a healthy vagina and should therefore be left alone – is not affected. It also stimulates the natural humidity. It is better to use such a special gel than, for example, regular Vaseline. The latter is made on the basis of petroleum (a petroleum product) and is not very suitable. An example of such a moisturizing gel is Multi-Gyn Moisturizing Gel. It is available at drugstores, pharmacies, health food stores and health food stores.
During or after menopause, a hormone ointment can also be used to thicken the mucous membrane. This estrogen ointment is only available with a prescription, so a visit to the doctor is required. It is always a good idea to visit your GP in case of serious or persistent complaints, who can possibly refer you to a gynaecologist.