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Vaginal dryness symptoms are not extensive but they’re certainly noticeable. This condition is a common complication of menopause and some women start to become aware of having a little less secretion in the vagina some years before menopause occurs, especially as they reach their late 30s and 40s. There are also other conditions that may result in fewer vaginal secretions, and these should be considered if vaginal dryness occurs long before menopause or the perimenopausal state.
Most women who have vaginal dryness symptoms are very well aware of them. Since many women are used to having a degree of lubrication in the vagina at all times, most women notice its absence. All women have varying levels of lubrication during their menstrual cycle, and they may notice increasing lubrication as the cycle hits its midpoint, and then a decrease in the latter half of the cycle before menstruation begins. These fluctuations are normal, and may be most observed when women use the bathroom.
In pronounced cases, vaginal dryness symptoms aren’t necessarily tied to cycle fluctuations or there may be no cycle, as in menopause, by which to mark changes. Instead, the vagina may just feel dry, and there may be little to no mucus present on toilet paper when wiping. The feeling may persist most of the time, and some women have a dry or itchy sensation that seems to occur at all times. Some women have compared this feeling to having a yeast infection.
Sometimes this itchiness and other vaginal dryness symptoms make women feel as though they must use the bathroom with greater frequency. This isn’t because of truly needing to go more often, but it may feel as though it’s necessary to empty the bladder more. Such a feeling may interrupt sleep, and increased bathroom use may be due to persistent burning sensations, which also promote great discomfort.
Perhaps the most noted of the vaginal dryness symptoms is discomfort or even light bleeding resulting from sexual intercourse. Even if dryness symptoms are minimal, women are advised to use a good lubricant during intercourse. This helps prevent irritation to the vagina and may greatly enhance sexual pleasure. Without this measure, some women become greatly disinterested in sex because it may be painful and it usually is not pleasurable. Generally this is a symptom that can respond to some adaptive measures like generous lubricant use.
There are other conditions with similar symptoms, including bladder or other urinary tract infections, some sexually transmitted diseases, or yeast infections. When the cause is unknown, women should check with their doctors. There are ways to treat vaginal dryness with things like hormone suppositories. Treatment depends on cause, which is why other conditions should be ruled out first.
@ysmina-- One doesn't necessarily have to be in menopause to experience vaginal dryness. Hormonal imbalances can be a cause of vaginal dryness at any age. And like the article said, dryness due to menopause can start several years earlier, in pre-menopause. You might not even know that you are pre-menopausal if you haven't seen a doctor in a while.
The women in my family experience menopause earlier, around age 45. Believe it or not, my vaginal dryness started when I was 41. So every woman is different.
@ysmina-- It may actually be difficult to tell them apart without seeing a doctor. Although you could try elimination to try and figure out the exact cause of your symptoms.
In addition to inflammation and itching, vaginal dryness may also cause flaky skin, irritation and redness. Also, do you experience pain during intercourse? This is another sign of vaginal dryness.
I guess we could separate vaginal dryness into two categories. There is vaginal dryness that occurs internally, due to less natural lubrication. You might have painful intercourse and itching at the vaginal opening in this case. The other type of vaginal dryness is one that only occurs externally, on the outer vaginal skin. If you have itching, redness
, inflammation, irritation or flaking on the outer part of your vagina, it could be general dryness or an allergic reaction.
If you are only experiencing dryness on the outer part, try switching to cotton underwear and hypoallergenic soap, shower gel and laundry detergent. Also avoid perfumed pads and panty liners. Use a mild, scent-free moisturizer on the outside of your vagina for moisture. If your symptoms go away after these steps, it shows that you were having an allergic reaction.
I'm not a doctor though, I'm just speaking from experience. So see a doctor for a diagnosis and the best advice on treatment.
How can I tell apart vaginal dryness and allergy symptoms?
My vagina is dry, inflamed and itchy. I don't know what's going on. I'm not at an age for menopause.
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