Vaginal dryness is a common sexual health concern among women, and in addition to personal dryness being potentially uncomfortable during daily life, it may also lead to pain, discomfort, or tearing during intercourse, called dyspareunia.
Vaginal dryness can occur to any woman at any age due to a variety of factors, but the most common reason for vaginal dryness is a decrease in estrogen from menopause or perimenopause. It is estimated that up to 25% of women aged 50-59 experience vaginal dryness problems during sex, with 16% also reporting pain during sex due to dryness.
Vaginal dryness can take a toll on a woman’s daily comfort levels, sex life, sexual confidence, or intimate relationships, so getting proper treatment to help find a suitable solution is necessary.
Below, we will cover 5 ways to potentially improve your personal lubrication levels, whether you go the route of prescription treatments, over-the-counter options, or lifestyle and hygiene changes.
One of the most popular ways to treat vaginal dryness is to replace the estrogen to help maintain a thick, elastic, and moisturized vagina.
Some women may replace estrogen throughout the whole body using an oral tablet, lozenge, or topical cream, if they are also experiencing other symptoms from low estrogen such as hot flashes.
But, if your main symptom is vaginal dryness; a cream, ring, or tablet which is applied or inserted vaginally may help improve your dryness symptoms while reducing the amount of estrogen getting throughout the rest of your body.
Estrogen prescriptions, whether oral or local, are prescription-only, so you will need an evaluation and prescription from a doctor to get these medications.
Not everyone is a good candidate for estrogen replacement therapy. Those with a history of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, hormone-related conditions, vaginal bleeding for an unknown reason, a history of blood clots, or those that are pregnant or breastfeeding are likely not a good fit for this treatment. Always talk with your doctor before using hormonal treatments to see if they are right for you.
Sildenafil is a medication most commonly known as the active ingredient in Viagra for men with erectile dysfunction.
However, some doctors are prescribing sildenafil creams off-label for women to help with increased blood flow to the vaginal and clitoral regions temporarily.
When women apply a small amount of sildenafil cream to the vaginal area before intercourse, they may experience increases in their natural lubrication and sensitivity due to the increased blood flow.
Here at Strut Health, we compound a hormone-free sildenafil cream for women called “Strut O Cream”. If you are interested in seeing if a topical sildenafil cream may be able to help with your vaginal dryness or sensitivity issues, you can have a free online consultation with our doctors today. If you are a good candidate for treatment, your prescription can be shipped from our U.S. licensed compounding pharmacy to your front door with our free shipping.
Using over-the-counter lubricants and vaginal moisturizers may be an option for women who can’t or do not want to use hormonal treatments.
Lubricants and moisturizers may help temporarily improve the comfort and moisture-levels of the vagina, or make intercourse less painful.
Lubricants are generally used before intercourse to help reduce friction and help with the pain of personal dryness. Water-based lubricants may not last as long, but can be safely used with condoms and won’t stain clothing or sheets. Silicone-based lubricants may last longer, but they can stain linens and degrade latex condoms, making them a less viable option for couples using condoms for STD or pregnancy prevention.
Moisturizers may also be applied or inserted into the vagina to help improve the overall moisture of the vagina to help with general daily discomfort, replens is a popular over-the-counter moisturizer option.
Certain products used around the vaginal area can lead to new or worsening dryness.
Douches, fragranced, or artificially colored products can irritate the vagina or throw off the pH and moisture balance.
Be very aware of any and all cleansing or personal care items used in and around the vagina, and stick to only gentle unscented soap and washes for this delicate area.
Sometimes dryness during intercourse is not necessarily a physical problem, but it may be a timing issue.
In order for your body to produce its natural lubrication, you need to be aroused for a long enough time for everything to make its way down from the glands in the cervix.
Communicate with your partner about wanting to try longer durations of foreplay in order to give your body time for its natural lubrication to kick in if you think this may be part of the issue for you.