Review on November 06, 2008
The primary cause of vaginal dryness is lack of estrogen.
To be clear, vaginal dryness is when a woman's body fails to produce her natural vaginal lubricants. This can make sex uncomfortable or impossible without a store-bought lubricant
Estrogen helps to stimulate a woman's natural lubricant. Estrogen can decrease for many reason, the most natural reason is women who are going through menopause and experience hormonal fluctuations that are completely normal during that time, which generally takes place between the ages of 45 and 55.
There are other factors that can lead to decreased estrogen and, thus, vaginal dryness.
One common factor is birth control pills. Although birth control pills do have estrogen and even progesterone in them, the levels of estrogen are generally not as high as the body's natural levels. This can lead to vaginal dryness.
Most types of birth control pills contain between a 20 and 35 microgram dose of estrogen and 1 or 5 micrograms of progestin. Women who take a 20 microgram pill might want to try a 35 microgram pill. And women already on a 35 microgram pill might want to up the dose to 50 micrograms. That could alleviate vaginal dryness by feeding the body more estrogen.
And if cigarettes do not come with enough harmful risks, research shows that smoking cigarettes can cause vaginal dryness because it destroys estrogen in the body. Without adequate levels of estrogen, vaginal dryness will likely ensue.
Many women have found that quitting smoking helps with vaginal dryness and again allows the body to produce its natural vaginal lubricant. Of course quitting smoking comes with several other health benefits.
If a woman takes the pill or smokes cigarettes or both, and is experiencing vaginal dryness, and does not want to alter her habits, she may want to try using a store-bought lubricant when attempting to engage is sexual intercourse. Either that, or she could attempt engaging in foreplay for longer periods of time with her partner to try to stimulate production of the natural vaginal lubricant.