Vaginal Dryness: When to Seek Treatment

Most of the time, your vaginal walls carry a thin layer of moisture, creating an environment that supports the movement of sperm, an important condition for successful reproduction. It’s not uncommon, though, for interruptions to affect this layer, causing dry conditions that can make intercourse uncomfortable or painful. 

When vaginal dryness becomes chronic, a common menopausal symptom, the women’s health specialists at Pineapple Health can help with a wide range of treatment options they can match to the causes and symptoms affecting you. 

Origins of vaginal moisture

Natural vaginal moisture originates in glands of the cervix, the neck portion of the uterus that extends into the vagina. This is part of the vagina’s self-cleaning mechanism, and this fluid carries out the cells of the vaginal walls that are constantly renewed and shed. 

When you’re sexually aroused, two additional glands near the vaginal entrance produce lubricant to aid intercourse. Symptoms of vaginal dryness can occur in women of any age when fluid production from either set of glands is insufficient. Women who have entered menopause are typically more susceptible to this condition. 

Vaginal atrophy

After menopause, there are many potential changes brought on by lower levels of the hormone estrogen. Every woman seems to develop their own combinations and intensities of symptoms, but there are plenty of common conditions that affect many.  

Factors that affect the vagina and urinary tract combine within a general condition called the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, or GSM. The effects of GSM on the vaginal walls create vaginal atrophy, an inflammatory state that thins and dries the vaginal walls. 

These changes make the tissue lining the vagina thinner, more fragile, less elastic, and drier than in premenopausal times. The amount of moisture produced in the vaginal glands may also drop off. The combination can lead to significant vaginal dryness, including other symptoms such as: 

When to seek treatment

Prior to menopause, periods of dryness should be short-lived, resolving within a few days. If your dryness extends longer than a week, make an appointment with Pineapple Health to check it out. 

You can enter menopause naturally, after most types of hysterectomy, or because of cancer treatments. No matter how menopause occurs, your risk for vaginal dryness increases.

When you exhibit signs of vaginal atrophy that don’t clear up in short order, and if these symptoms are accompanied by urinary issues, you may have GSM. That means it’s also time to check in with Dr. Chan and the team. Other conditions can create similar symptoms, so self-diagnosis isn’t easy. 

There are a variety of approaches and treatments for vaginal dryness, so there’s no need to resign yourself to the condition. Some women feel embarrassed about discussing their symptoms, but though it’s new to you, it’s a common side effect of menopause and an issue that women’s health providers encounter frequently. 

To learn more, call Pineapple Health at 480-531-6001, or book a consultation online with us today.

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