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Vaginal Dryness in Geriatric Women

Vaginal dryness in menopausal and postmenopausal women is common. Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort, itchiness, and pain, especially during sex. However, painful sex and vaginal dryness do not need to be an accepted part of aging. There are different treatments available to help women with this condition.

What Causes Vaginal Dryness in Postmenopausal Women?

Vaginal Dryness in Geriatric Women

Vaginal dryness is usually caused by decreasing hormone levels that are associated with menopause. Decreased estrogen and progesterone levels cause vaginal atrophy, which is when the vaginal walls become thinner, inflamed, weaker, and lose moisture. A woman's body does change as she ages and goes through menopause, but this does not mean she should have to live with vaginal dryness or unsatisfying sex.

The vagina keeps moist by secreting a thin layer of mucus from the membranes of the vaginal walls. The secretion of mucus is controlled by estrogen, so as hormone levels decrease after menopause, the vagina secretes less moisture. However, there are different treatments that effectively relieve vaginal dryness.

How Can Vaginal Dryness Be Treated?

Vaginal Dryness in Geriatric Women

An instant way to soothe vaginal dryness and reduce friction during sex is by using a water-based lubricant during sex. Lubricant is not absorbed into the body, but it is used by many women to increase comfort and pleasure during sex. It's a good idea to choose a water-based lubricant because other types of lubricant tend to break condoms and increase the risk of infections.

Vaginal Dryness in Geriatric Women

Along with lubricants, vaginal moisturizers are also available over the counter, and these are used on a regular basis, not just before sex. Vaginal moisturizers are absorbed into the vaginal tissue and reduce vaginal dryness in this way.

The most effective treatment is available by prescription and is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT can come in the form of a tablet, patch, suppository, vaginal ring, or cream. HRT increases the amount of estrogen in the body and has been shown to reduce vaginal dryness, along with other menopausal symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, and night sweats. However, HRT can increase your risk of developing some medical conditions, so it is important to talk to your doctor about your risk factors.

If vaginal dryness is lowering your quality of life or causing pain and discomfort during sex, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor in order to find a treatment plan that works for you. You should also talk to your partner about what you are feeling so that they can be supportive and understanding.

More about Vaginal Dryness

Effective treatments for vaginal dryness include using lubricants, moisturizers, and hormone replacement therapy. However, it is also important to regularly stimulate the vagina in order to increase blood flow to the area, which helps strengthen the vagina and increase moisture secretion. This can be done through different forms of sex, including sex with a partner, self-stimulation, or using a vibrator or another stimulant. Click on the following link to learn more about treatments for vaginal dryness.

Vaginal Dryness Products

Vaginal dryness, one of the main symptoms of menopause, can cause general discomfort and pain during sex. However, there are many products to reduce it.

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Sources:
  • Bachmann, G.A. & Nevadunsky, N.S. (2000). Diagnosis and Treatment of Atrophic Vaginitis. American Family Physician, 61, 3090-3096. Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0515/p3090.html
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013). Vaginal Atrophy. Retrieved November 11, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginal-atrophy/basics/definition/con-20025768