Vaginal dryness is mostly caused by a significant drop in estrogen. Menopause, childbirth, breastfeeding, and removal of the ovaries, either on their own or as part of a hysterectomy, can cause estrogen levels to drop. Chemotherapy, radiation, and the use of other extremely potent medications used in the treatment of cancer can also have an adverse effect on the body that results in vaginal dryness and discomfort. Certain types of medications used to treat allergies and colds may also cause dryness in tissues throughout the body, including the vagina and other mucous membranes. Another cause of vaginal dryness is using douches more than is actually necessary.
The best way to reverse the physical effects of decreased estrogen is to provide it through topical creams, ointments, or different forms of hormone replacement therapy. It is important to avoid using certain types of medications that are known to cause dryness throughout the body. Although topical forms of estrogen do work, they are much slower and take longer to provide noticeable benefits. Hormone replacement therapy may be able to help raise estrogen levels as well as help to control other symptoms related to menopause. If the vaginal dryness is affecting sexual pleasure, lubricants and creams can be used to keep the area moisturized and enhance the experience.
Vaginal dryness is just one of many signs and symptoms that are attributed to menopause. Hot flashes, headaches, mood swings, painful intercourse, frequent urination, and insomnia are just a few of the commonly reported symptoms women claim to experience during menopause. A woman's chemical and genetic makeup will determine what symptoms she experiences as well as their severity. Women who begin to take hormone replacement therapy may notice their symptoms becoming less severe as more and more estrogen is re-introduced into the body. When a woman begins to notice the signs of menopause, paying a visit to the doctor may be able to prevent them from becoming too uncomfortable.
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