Vaginal Dryness Deserves Some Attention
As a premier gynecology and family health practice in Houston, we are dedicated to the many aspects of women’s health and wellness. We don’t just want our patients to feel beautiful, we want them to feel vibrant and confident. In addition to well-woman exams and aesthetic treatments, our patients can feel comfortable talking about less-common concerns. Vaginal dryness is one example. Here, we discuss why vaginal dryness may occur and what we can do to address this issue properly.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness
The vagina naturally receives lubrication from glands located in the cervix. Moisture from this area, the neck of the womb, gradually spreads down through the vaginal canal. As it does, the slightly acidic fluid removes dead cells and helps keep the vagina clean and free of infection. It is perfectly normal for a woman to have a slight white vaginal discharge as a result of this natural lubrication.
Some women experience vaginal dryness primarily during sex. This problem occurs when the two glands at the entrance of the vagina, the Bartholin’s glands, do not produce the extra moisture that is needed for comfortable sexual intercourse. Studies suggest that approximately 25 percent of women in their fifties experience this form of vaginal dryness. Sixteen percent report painful sex as a result.
Vaginal dryness could be caused by several factors. When limited to sexual intercourse, the cause could be as simple as a lack of adequate foreplay. Some studies suggest that a woman needs an average of 20 minutes of foreplay to achieve natural arousal and vaginal lubrication. Additional reasons for general vaginal dryness include feminine products, hot tub and swimming pool chemicals, harsh soaps, and certain medications. Another primary cause is estrogen imbalance.
Treating Vaginal Dryness
According to studies, 1 in 3 women nearing menopause experience vaginal dryness. It is at this time in life when a woman’s hormones are fluctuating and she has less estrogen to support the vaginal tissues. To restore optimal vaginal health, some women have their hormones tested to identify the extent of imbalance. Our patients may choose to correct imbalance using a customized program of bioidentical hormone therapy. Bioidentical hormone pellets are safe, convenient, and effective, allowing the body to draw hormones as needed throughout the day.
With or without bioidentical hormone replacement, many women choose to address vaginal dryness with minimally-invasive vaginal rejuvenation. At River Oaks Gynecology & Aesthetics, vaginal rejuvenation involves the CO2RE Intima CO2 laser. This minimally-invasive treatment restores optimal vaginal lubrication and form by stimulating the neoformation of collagen and elastin within the vaginal lining. Not only does CO2RE Intima rejuvenate vaginal health, but it can also improve genitourinary performance, minimizing symptoms like stress urinary incontinence.