Statistics show that almost 17 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 50 experience vaginal dryness at some point in their lives. This condition is generally caused by low estrogen, which may be influenced by issues such as menopause, breastfeeding, chemotherapy, certain medications, and chronic illnesses like Sjogren’s syndrome. While occasional vaginal dryness might not be a problem, it can get to the point where it’s painful and even cause frequent urination. If your vaginal dryness is affecting your life to this level, it’s important to know how to treat it.
Treatment Options For Vaginal Dryness
Treating vaginal dryness will depend on what’s causing the problem and how bad the issue is. There are over-the-counter medications that can help but sometimes, you may need your doctor to prescribe the right drugs.
1. Low-Dose Estrogen Products
The options for these products include creams, tablets, or rings that are usually placed directly in the vagina so they can increase your estrogen levels.
Your doctor can instruct you on how to insert the cream or tablet. It’s common for you to use them daily until you get relief and then you may use them less frequently. The ring, however, needs to be placed by your doctor and that will last for three months.
2. Selective Estrogen Modulator (SERM)
This oral medication is designed to mimic the estrogen that your body naturally produces. Your doctor may prescribe this if you’re having specific issues with painful sex. Your doctor will advise you if this option is a better fit for you than vaginal inserts.
3. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
While this drug also mimics estrogen in your body, it’s a suppository instead of a tablet. It’s also recommended for those who don’t want to take tablets or may not be good candidates for oral estrogen. Your doctor will advise you how and when to insert it.
4. Estrogen Skin Patch
It’s possible to have a skin patch that’s considered systemic estrogen therapy. An implant under the skin is also an option. This form of therapy releases estrogen into the body consistently over time. However, it’s not an ideal choice for everyone because it can have a higher risk of side effects than other treatments. These can include nausea, headaches, and vaginal bleeding.
5. Vaginal Moisturizers
These are usually available over the counter so you don’t need a prescription. These products can contain hyaluronic acid or a glycerine-based ingredient. They are meant to encourage your vaginal tissue to retain moisture and it’s typical to use them three times per week.
Though it might be tempting to use lotions or topical creams as vaginal moisturizers, you should never do that. Those products are not