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How to Recognize Severe Vaginal Dryness

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Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause, affecting 60% of menopausal women. It can vary in severity and duration between women. Fortunately, there are ways to treat severe vaginal dryness.

How Can I Recognize Severe Vaginal Dryness?

Severe vaginal dryness is fairly straightforward to diagnose. Below is a list of the common symptoms:

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  • Itching in the vaginal area, both internally and externally
  • Painful sex
  • Light bleeding during or after intercourse
  • Burning sensation in the vaginal area
  • Stinging
  • Irritation
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Discomfort when wearing underwear or tight clothing
  • Pressure

If you are suffering any other menopausal symptoms along with vaginal dryness, such as hot flashes or irregular periods, you can be reasonably sure that hormone fluctuations are the cause. During menopause, declining estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can lead to a variety of symptoms, including vaginal dryness.

If you are ever concerned about your vaginal dryness, or think its caused by something other than menopause, talk to your doctor.

How Can I Treat My Severe Vaginal Dryness?

Fortunately, there are various lifestyle changes you can make to alleviate vaginal dryness.

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  • Drink more water. Keeping hydrated is critical to balancing hormones and creating lubrication in the body.
  • Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol. Both of these can dehydrate the body.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients helps your glands produce everything needed to run smoothly
  • Increase soy and flaxseed consumption. These foods contain phytoestrogens, which simulate the effect of estrogen in the body, and can help compensate for estrogen loss during menopause.
  • Quit or cut back on smoking. Smoking causes blood vessels to contract, decreasing blood flow to the vagina, which is essential for lubrication.
  • Use lubrication during sex. Water based lubricants are best.
  • Engage in more foreplay. This will help stimulate more natural lubrication.
  • Use sexual stimulation regularly to stimulate blood flow.
  • Use vaginal moisturizer. Apply it several times a week to help keep your vaginal walls healthy.
  • Use de-stress methods like yoga. This can decrease stress hormones in the body and restabilize other hormones, allowing your body to produce more moisture.

More Information about Vaginal Dryness

Follow this link to find out more about vaginal dryness causes.

How a Hysterectomy Affects Vaginal Dryness

Deciding if a hysterectomy is right for you? Vaginal dryness may result after the surgery, but should not be permanent. Click here to read more.

Vaginal Dryness and Cramping

Vaginal dryness and cramping can occur for a number of reasons but normally it is experienced by women during menopause due to changing hormone levels.

5 Products to Avoid When Suffering from Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness affects many women during menopause. Learn more about vaginal dryness treatments here.

Sources:
  • "Vaginal Dryness". Mayo Clinic Health Resource. 2007
  • "Vulvovaginal Symptoms". The Changing Body: Menopause Handbook. www.menopause.org
  • Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.