Reduced estrogen levels are the main cause of vaginal dryness. Estrogen, the female hormone, helps keep vaginal tissue healthy by maintaining normal vaginal lubrication, elasticity, and pH balance. Vaginal atrophy is the term that is used to describe the dryness when it is caused by menopausal changes. Vaginal atrophy may significantly affect the quality of life, sexual satisfaction, and the relationship with your partner. Vaginal symptoms may worsen without estrogen.
Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options, both non-hormonal and hormonal to help reduce the discomfort.
Non-hormonal remedies include the use of vaginal lubricants and vaginal moisturizers.
Regular sexual stimulation has also been shown to promote vaginal blood flow and secretions. This is true whether one has regular intercourse or with a device such as a vibrator.
The most common hormonal therapy is the use of low-dose local estrogen which is applied directly inside and outside the vagina to restore vaginal health and relieves vaginal dryness and discomfort associated with sexual activity.
Other therapies include Ospemifene (Osphena), which is an oral tablet that is taken daily. This medication works by stimulating estrogen receptors in the vagina.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), has also been helpful in the treatment of painful intercourse caused by vaginal atrophy. DHEA is converted in the body to other hormones including estrogen, however the blood levels of these hormones do not increase with vaginal use of low-dose DHEA.
In summary, there are plenty of options available to maintain and improve vaginal health. Please feel free to contact Dr. Obron for additional information.