Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal Dryness: Overview

Nearly every woman will experience vaginal dryness sometime in her life.  It is most often associated with the normal decline or fluctuation in the female hormone estrogen, which can be triggered by giving birth, breastfeeding or menopause.  Even taking certain medications, undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, exercising intensively, or being under a lot of stress can cause it.  It is also common to experience vaginal dryness when douching too often, using tampons or just prior to menstruation.

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Signs, symptoms & indicators of Vaginal Dryness:

Symptoms - Reproductive - General

Risk factors for Vaginal Dryness:

Hormones

Estrogens Low

The most common cause of vaginal dryness is lack of estrogen.

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Vaginal Dryness suggests the following may be present:

Laboratory Test Needed

Recommendations for Vaginal Dryness:

Botanical

Korean Ginseng

In one trial, panax ginseng for two to three months at 100mg of a standardized extract three times daily greatly improved vaginal dryness and painful intercourse in all of the women studied.  Doses were then tapered to a maintenance level.

Women with a history of vaginal dryness and painful intercourse were asked to volunteer for biopsies of the vaginal mucosa.  When examined microscopically, the biopsy specimens showed typical atrophy, with thinned epithelial layer and little to no mucous production.  Macroscopic examination prior to biopsy of course showed the same changes.  Tissue appearance and mucus levels returned to normal levels by the end of the study.

Although this research was not "double-blind" the biopsies and microscopic changes (as well as symptom remission) are definitely significant.  (Wright) finds this approach very useful and reliable in practice, usually recommending 100 milligrams of a standardized extract three times daily until the objective is achieved.  Quantities can often be lessened thereafter to a "maintenance level".

Hormone

Estrogen Replacement

Systemic hormone replacement can provide relief, as can a plant-derived safe estriol cream used locally.

Natural Progesterone

Some cases of vaginal dryness will improve with progesterone but small amounts of supplemental estrogen may be required.

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Weak or unproven link: may suggest
Weak or unproven link:
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Strong or generally accepted link: is often a sign or symptom of; often increases risk of
Strong or generally accepted link:
is often a sign or symptom of; often increases risk of
Definite or direct link: is a sign or symptom of
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