Throughout life, women are faced with various problems of an intimate nature that are not customary to discuss in a decent society. Of course, they are not subject to discussion, but should become a reason for contacting a specialist. Vaginal dryness is the state of the intimate zone, when the amount of natural lubricant excreted by the body decreases sharply (the process of its release stops). As a result of a lack of fluid, the walls of the vagina become thinner, unpleasant symptoms appear that interfere with a healthy, active life.
Causes of a feeling of dryness in the vagina
In medical practice, this pathology is called atrophic vaginitis (colpitis). However, such a term is valid in relation to only some variants of the occurrence of pathology. The processes of thinning of the vaginal mucosa, resizing, loss of elasticity of the squamous multilayer epithelium are not always associated with hormonal malfunctions of the female body. Urinary tract infections, an abundance of perfumed intimate cosmetics, long-term use of antibiotics sometimes become the causes of the disease.
A number of gynecologists prefer the term “vaginal atrophic dermatitis”, which more accurately indicates the manifestations of the disease. Typical symptoms are:
- burning in the perineum;
- a feeling of tightness of the inner walls of the vagina;
- itching in the labia, vaginal opening;
- discomfort during intercourse, which is accompanied by pain;
- bleeding of the mucosa due to the appearance of wounds, sores on the epithelium of the intimate zone.
A number of specific symptoms join the above symptoms if a woman has the classic signs of colpitis caused by hormonal disorders of the body:
- Unwillingness to have intimacy with a partner. Low estrogen levels lower libido. In addition, a decrease in sensitivity, pain, dryness, bleeding during sex adversely affect the intimate life of a woman.
- Infectious diseases. Decrease in natural lubrication leads to subtlety of the epithelium of the internal, external genital organs, deterioration of the beneficial microflora of the mucosa, dry mucosa. Therefore, the pathogenic environment becomes the source of the inflammatory process in the intimate zone.
- Problems with urination: frequent urination, burning sensation.
- General deterioration in health, headaches, lethargy, weakness.
In order to normalize the function of the glands, balance hormonal dysfunction, remove dryness, determine the right treatment, it is necessary to find out the reasons, which can conditionally be divided into three groups:
Serious illnesses / diseases of the body. Establish an accurate diagnosis, appoint a competent treatment will help only a doctor. It is observed at:
- the appearance of neoplasms;
- vaginosis caused by a bacterial infection;
- endometriosis, uterine myoma;
- inflammation of the mucous membranes of the whole body due to impaired activity of the glands (Sjogren’s syndrome)
Changes in the hormonal background of a woman. In most cases, pathology occurs at the time of menopause or during pregnancy. Common reasons. It appears when:
- improper intimate hygiene;
- unreasonable use of douching;
- taking antibiotics or diuretics, drugs that lower blood pressure;
- allergic reactions to the components of washing powders, soaps, gels;
- poor circulation of the pelvic organs;
- irregular sex life or its absence.
The now popular use of perfumed shower gels is a danger to a woman’s body: perfumes, an excess of chemical components cause disturbances in the activity of the mucous glands. They cease to function normally, their secretion decreases: as a result, an unpleasant sensation appears. We should not forget about possible allergic reactions to the components of intimate cosmetics.
An acidic environment that stimulates the production of beneficial lactic acid bacteria by the female genital organs is destroyed by gels that are unbalanced in acidity. The optimal indicator should be 4-4.5 pH. To get rid of problems, you should abandon the newfangled deodorized toilet products in favor of ordinary soap, toilet paper without impurities and additives.
Tight underwear, compressing blood vessels and disturbing the circulation of the pelvic organs; synthetics, sometimes of poor quality, from which panties are made, are harmful to a woman’s state of health. The ailment makes itself felt with irritation, tingling, itching of the perineum. Replace fashionable, beautiful polyamide underwear with equally beautiful and graceful cotton – and you will forget about the problem.
Another threat is lack / lack of hygiene of the intimate area. Pathogenic microflora displaces beneficial lactobacilli: many women are faced with candidiasis. The appearance of an unpleasant odor, itching and burning, thinning of the mucosal epithelium signal a malfunction of the body. Even with abundant discharge, signs of atrophic vaginitis and discomfort appear.
Why do unpleasant sensations periodically bother healthy women of reproductive age before menstruation? About 10% of the fair sex turn to a gynecologist with this problem: a few days before the onset of menstruation, the body increases the amount of the hormone gestagen, which suppresses the production of estrogen for a short period. Such phenomena do not belong to pathologies and are considered absolutely harmless.
Expectation of motherhood is a wonderful period of a woman’s life. However, sometimes the course of pregnancy is accompanied by certain health problems: morning sickness, nausea, dryness in the intimate area, banal thrush are required to rebuild the body, the activity of the hormone gestagen. An enlarged uterus creates additional pressure on all organs, resulting in a change in the microflora of the vagina, a decrease in elasticity, and the appearance of symptoms of itching and irritation.
In the postpartum period, in most cases, vaginitis goes away by itself: the hormonal background is normalized and the vaginal secretion glands begin to work in the usual rhythm. About 20% of women in labor complain of a feeling of dryness and burning in the area of the labia minora. This is due to the release of the hormone prolactin, which temporarily “interrupts” estrogen. The recovery period takes from 60 to 90 days. Gynecologists advise women who give birth by caesarean section to restore the hormonal background to take up to 120 days.
Menopause (menopause) – the time of significant age-related changes in a woman’s life. The restructuring of the body is associated with a significant decrease in the production of the female hormone estrogen. Vaginal dryness occurs in 50% of the beautiful half over the age of 55 years. With menopause, this pathology is called atrophic vaginitis. The narrowing of the walls of the vagina, the loss of natural lubrication, the deterioration of the glands lead to the formation of an alkaline environment, causing a feeling of friction, itching. Be sure to contact a gynecologist who will prescribe hormone replacement therapy.
Unpleasant sensations during sex have a negative effect on the sexual life of both partners. Pain, discomfort, and sometimes bleeding, discourage a woman from having an intimate life, and a man will get a little pleasure from intimacy. However, gynecologists advise not to give up carnal pleasures: hormonal suppositories, lubricants will help establish a sexual life.
If the reason is banal ineptitude, haste of a partner, then the solution to the problem will be to increase the time for foreplay. When excited, the woman’s body reacts with an increased rush of blood to the genitals and vagina, enhancing the natural secretion of the secretion by the glands. The constant use of condoms negatively affects the amount of lubricant formed in the vagina: if irritating the epithelium of the mucosa, try to abandon the condom for at least some time.
5-7 years after the onset of menopause, the amount of estrogen secreted by the body is reduced by 80%. According to scientists, between the ages of 60 and 65, more than 75% of women suffer from atrophic colpitis with all the attendant symptoms: decreased vaginal clearance, dryness, and bleeding of the mucous membrane. References to age, unwillingness to see a doctor can end in failure: with this disease it thins out, not only the multilayered epithelium of the vagina loses elasticity, but also the walls of the bladder (urethral tissue).
Only a gynecologist can determine and prescribe the correct treatment after examination, to clarify the causes of vaginitis. Of the necessary procedures, a woman will have to undergo a gynecological examination, in which the doctor will take a Pap test (to exclude cancer), prescribe a general (clinical) blood test to avoid the possible development of urinary tract infections.
General measures aimed at eliminating a pathology such as vaginal dermatitis include the following:
1) With menopause, women can be offered non-hormonal or hormone replacement therapy to remove dryness and irritation in the vagina.
2) During pregnancy, when breastfeeding a woman, the doctor will advise women to use special moisturizers – gels, ointments, topical lubricants that are not absorbed into the blood to protect the baby.
3)If dry, due to violation of the rules of intimate hygiene, it is preferable to refuse any intimate cosmetics, toilet paper or wet wipes with aromatic additives.
4) Any drugs, antihistamines, drugs that lower blood pressure, or diuretics should be used only if necessary and by prescription. Self-treatment is dangerous by the occurrence of side effects: from dryness to inflammation in the vagina and urinary tract.
5) Refusal of bad habits that worsen the blood supply to the vagina and cause dryness, itching, burning.
6) A balanced diet high in legumes, omega-3 fatty acids to normalize secretion by the glands of the vagina and prevent dryness of the intimate area ..
7) Have regular sex with a regular partner. At the first stages, to reduce dryness, it is advisable to use intimate lubricant gels. It is preferable to refuse condoms with aromatic additives.
8) The presence of diseases of the genitourinary system, a side effect of which is the dryness of the mucous membranes of the vagina, is a reason for immediate medical attention. In this case, surgical intervention or a lengthy treatment procedure may be required.