How to Prevent Vaginal Dryness During Menopause

5 minute read

By: Alloy Staff|Last updated: August 2, 2022

How to Prevent Vaginal Dryness During Menopause

Are you experiencing vaginal dryness, itching, or burning? Perhaps you have noticed that sex has become less pleasurable, maybe even painful. Distressing and embarrassing as these symptoms can be, they are common in women going through menopause and are treatable. 

Alloy can help you prevent or treat vaginal dryness associated with menopause. Take our free assessment and a menopause-trained doctor will help you find the treatment that will work best for your symptoms.

Why Does Vaginal Dryness Happen?

You are not alone, and there is no reason to be embarrassed by the vaginal discomfort you are feeling. Vaginal dryness is common.  After menopause up to 84% of women experience vaginal or vulvar symptoms. Vaginal dryness is part of a larger medical syndrome known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) which also include symptoms related to sexual intercourse (painful sex, decreased lubrication) and the urinary tract (frequent or painful urination and frequent infections). Numerous factors influence the vaginal environment, including declining estrogen levels and some medications. 

Low Estrogen Levels 

As your body prepares for you to transition to menopause, your estrogen levels will begin to fluctuate. This period of hormone fluctuation marks perimenopause. Eventually, your estrogen levels will get low enough that you will no longer ovulate at all and your menses will cease. Once you have gone 12 months without menstruating, you are officially considered to be menopausal. The average woman will spend a third of her life in this post-menopausal state.

Estrogen is vital to maintaining the vaginal environment. It helps keep your vaginal walls lubricated, plump, and elastic. As your estrogen levels begin to wane, your vaginal walls become dryer and thinner and more prone to irritation and inflammation.

Medications

Certain medications can cause vaginal dryness secondary to their effect on your estrogen levels. Although uncommon, such medications include birth control pills, progestin-only contraception, and antihistamines, all of which can decrease your body’s natural production of estrogen. When these medications are discontinued and estrogen levels return to normal, vaginal dryness typically ceases.   

Medical Procedures

An oophorectomy, which is a surgical procedure to remove either one or both of your ovaries, will immediately decrease your body’s production of estrogen. Similar in effect, chemotherapy and can cause early menopause in some women. In each of these cases the decrease in estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness.

How Can I Increase Vaginal Lubrication During Menopause?

Vaginal dryness is uncomfortable, painful, and can put a real damper on your intimate life. As you now know, vaginal dryness is common in menopausal women. What you also need to know is that it can be safely and effectively treated. 

Get Menopause Hormone Therapy from Alloy 

Menopause hormone therapy (MHT) can help you supplement your body’s decreasing estrogen levels and help to restore your vaginal health. MHT is safe and effective in the majority of healthy perimenopausal and menopausal women. Alloy can help you discover if MHT is appropriate to treat your vaginal dryness symptoms. 

Estradiol Vaginal Cream 

Estradiol vaginal cream is an FDA-approved plant-based form of estrogen. The cream is absorbed directly into the vaginal wall and remains local to the area of application. Topical estradiol is very effective in treating vaginal dryness; however, very little of the topical estradiol will get into your bloodstream, so you will not experience relief of other menopausal symptoms you may be experiencing such as hot flashes. 

If your menopausal symptoms are limited to vaginal dryness and irritation or pain with sexual intercourse, estradiol vaginal cream may be a great choice for you. Vaginal estrogen cream can be used both inside the vagina and applied externally directly to the vulva if symptoms such as vulvar itching and burning are present.

Treatment with estradiol vaginal cream requires a prescription, and you will need to use the cream as directed by your doctor for 4-6 weeks before you receive its full benefits. 

AW074 Estradiol Vaginal Cream (photo of a woman holding tube of cream, applying to finger)

Estradiol Pill/Patch 

Estradiol pills or patches are most often prescribed for other menopause symptoms, but have also been found to be effective in relieving vaginal dryness and pain with sexual intercourse. Because estradiol treatment will increase the amount of estrogen circulating in your bloodstream, your entire body will benefit from this increase. Estradiol pills and patches will help provide relief from any hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and mood swings you are experiencing along with relief of your vaginal dryness.

Vaginal Moisturizers and Lubricants

Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants are available over the counter and can either be applied directly to the vulva or applied to the vaginal walls via an applicator. Vaginal moisturizers are applied daily or a few times a week as needed, whereas lubricants are applied immediately prior to having sexual intercourse. While both moisturizers and lubricants can help moisten the vagina, they do not treat the underlying cause of your vaginal dryness—low estrogen levels—and therefore will not prevent your vaginal walls from being dry, thin, and vulnerable to tearing.

Have Sexual Stimulation on a Regular Basis

Being sexually stimulated on a regular basis will improve the blood flow to your vagina and improve your vaginal health. You can achieve regular stimulation with the help of your partner or through the use of a vibrator.

Try Other Approaches to Sex 

As your body enters and moves through the menopausal transition, it is important to note that a new approach to sex and sexual intimacy may be warranted. Talk with your partner and explain the changes that are happening in your body. Increase the nature and length of foreplay and give yourself more time to become aroused physically and mentally. 

When to Seek Treatment for Menopausal Vaginal Dryness

If you have tried over the counter remedies for your vaginal dryness and are still suffering with vaginal pain, itching, or burning, or are still experiencing pain with sexual intercourse, it’s time to try something new. Reach out to Alloy for prescription estradiol vaginal cream designed to provide effective relief for your symptoms.

If You Are Experiencing Dryness During Menopause, Alloy Can Help 

Alloy’s menopause specialists are familiar with vaginal dryness during menopause, along with the myriad other symptoms that occur during this natural transition. Alloy can help treat your vaginal dryness, other symptoms of GSM, and any other menopausal symptoms you are experiencing. Start by taking our quick and easy free assessment and get your treatment recommendations today.

Sources

Waetjen LE, Crawford SL, Chang PY, et al. “Factors associated with developing vaginal dryness symptoms in women transitioning through menopause: a longitudinal study.” Menopause. 2018;25(10):1094-1104. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000001130

Kim HK, Kang SY, Chung YJ, Kim JH, Kim MR. “The Recent Review of the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause.” J Menopausal Med. 2015;21(2):65-71. doi:10.6118/jmm.2015.21.2.65

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Long CY, Liu CM, Hsu SC, Wu CH, Wang CL, Tsai EM. “A randomized comparative study of the effects of oral and topical estrogen therapy on the vaginal vascularization and sexual function in hysterectomized postmenopausal women.” Menopause. 2006 Sep-Oct;13(5):737-43. doi: 10.1097/01.gme.0000227401.98933.0b. PMID: 16946685.

Mercier J, Morin M, Zaki D, Reichetzer B, Lemieux MC, Khalifé S, Dumoulin C. “Pelvic floor muscle training as a treatment for genitourinary syndrome of menopause: A single-arm feasibility study.” Maturitas. 2019 Jul;125:57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2019.03.002. Epub 2019 Mar 29. PMID: 31133219.

“The 2020 genitourinary syndrome of menopause position statement of The North American Menopause Society.” Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society. Vol. 27, No. 9, pp. 976-992.

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