Vaginal Dryness Specialist
Vaginal dryness becomes more common as women age, and it can also occur as a result of infections and hormonal changes due to breastfeeding. Northwest Women’s Center provides a variety of different treatments for vaginal dryness, helping women in Houston, TX, feel more comfortable and enjoy better health.
Vaginal Dryness Q & A
What causes vaginal dryness?
The vagina produces lubricating fluids that help maintain the health of the vagina and prevent infection while also preventing pain and discomfort during intercourse. But sometimes, the normal production of vaginal fluid can be interrupted, causing vaginal dryness. Hormonal fluctuations like those that occur during and after pregnancy, during breastfeeding and especially during menopause are the primary cause of vaginal dryness, as well as accompanying symptoms like itching, burning, pain during intercourse, irritation and even an increased risk of vaginal infections. Vaginal dryness can also be caused by some underlying medical conditions and use of certain medications.
What is vaginal atrophy?
Vaginal atrophy is a condition that develops most commonly during menopause when a decline in natural hormones causes a decrease in vaginal lubrication as well as thinning of the vaginal tissues. Women with vaginal atrophy typically experience irritation and inflammation in the vagina that can make intercourse extremely painful and increase the risks of both vaginal and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
How is vaginal dryness treated?
Vaginal dryness that occurs as a result of the decline in estrogen and progesterone can be treated with topical creams and ointments to help lubricate the vagina and reduce symptoms like irritation and painful intercourse. Some topical preparations contain estrogen that’s absorbed by the vagina and helps restore the tissues so symptoms are reduced. Other women benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) using bioidentical hormones. HRT uses pills, patches or other delivery techniques to replace hormones lost due to menopause, and it can be effective in restoring the vaginal tissues as well as treating other menopause-related symptoms. Bioidentical hormones have the same chemical structure as hormones naturally produced by the body, so the body processes these medications the same way it processes natural hormones for fewer side effects compared to traditional hormone replacement treatments. Ongoing blood tests help ensure dosing remains on track for each woman’s evolving needs. Today, there are also laser treatments that can be used to treat vaginal dryness. In these treatments, a wand-shaped device inserted into the vagina emits controlled pulses of laser energy to stimulate the production of collagen, restoring vaginal lubrication while also helping to address issues of vaginal thinning.