By Dr. Michael Krychman
When one thinks of vaginal dryness one conjures up visions of older women, in the later part of the lifecycle, but many are unfamiliar with the many causes of significant and troublesome vaginal dryness. True, women may complain of increased vaginal dryness during the years that precede the menopause (no menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months) or also report symptoms of a dry vagina as a result of a variety of medical conditions. The post-partum period with exclusive breastfeeding, or even with certain medications, such as the chronic use of the oral contraceptive pills, may all be associated with troublesome vaginal dryness. Some other medications such as antihistamines which many women take for seasonal allergies may also be the culprit for vaginal dryness.
911 – What is the Emergency?
Vaginal dryness with inadequate lubrication may present with decreased sexual arousal and painful intercourse. These symptoms can lead to marital conflict and influence a woman’s sexual self-esteem. Many women continue to engage in sexual intimacy in spite of the problems of pain and dryness
How is vaginal dryness diagnosed?
It is often diagnosed by visual inspection of the vagina and vulvar tissue at the time of a pelvic examination. A dry vagina is often flat, pale, frail, with decreased moisture and decreased rugae or ridges and folds. It may be friable or easily traumatized and can bleed on touch. During the examination, a vaginal pH test may be completed. This specialized small piece of paper is placed within the vagina and changes colors after recording the acid-base balance of the vagina. The normal vagina pH is typically between 3.8 and 4.5 and an elevated pH greater than 4.5 may indicate vaginal dryness.
How can I help solve vaginal dryness?
There are many methods to help diminish the complaints of vaginal dryness including vaginal moisturizers, lubricants and local estrogen products. Paying close attention to the care of our intimate vaginal and vulvar skin is of paramount importance to your sexual and general health.
Here are some simple pearls to help combat the vaginal dryness battle:
- Avoid bar soaps and body washes that contain harsh, heavily fragrant detergents.
- Avoid scrubbing the vulvar skin with abrasive or aggressive sponges or loofahs.
- Avoid and/or try to limit excessive strenuous exercises such as prolonged spinning, bicycle riding or horseback riding.
- Avoid spermicides containing nonoxynol 9, lubricants with warming or cooling ingredients and glycerin, if sensitive.
- Get out of wet bathing suits, sweaty workout clothes, and non-breathable yoga pants as soon possible after exercise. Consider sleeping in loose fitting, non-confining cotton bottoms or better yet, go commando.
- Ensure adequate vitamin D intake and take a daily probiotic.
- Consider using dye and fragrant free, hypoallergenic laundry products on undergarments and double-rinse underwear and any other clothing that comes into contact with the vulva.
- Don’t forget to get up, walk and take a break from those long Zoom-filled sitting days. Consider a donut cushion if you must endure prolonged sitting.
Why are Lubrigyn products helpful for vaginal and vulvar dryness?
Many women have discovered that the conservative non-hormonal intervention, Lubrigyn Cream®, meets all their needs when wanting a product to address their dryness concerns. For many women – who do not want to use local hormones or are afraid about hormonal side effects – the notion that it is a non-hormonal vaginal moisturizer is of paramount importance. It is made with high quality ingredients including hyaluronic acid and elastin. Both ingredients help with the elasticity and stretchability of the underlying tissues. These specific ingredients help the vaginal tissue reclaim its natural ridges, folds, elasticity and pliability. Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion® is also an excellent natural fit in a woman’s overall vaginal dryness rehabilitation program. As a soothing cleanser, it simply eases skin discomfort while gently cleansing the area. Lastly, Lubrigyn® Wipes provide a soothing and intimate cleansing option for feeling fresh, supple, and confident on the go. Uniderm’s family of products (Lubrigyn Cream, Lubrigyn Cleansing Lotion and Lubrigyn Wipes) are excellent solutions to all your vaginal and vulvar dryness needs.