Vaginal Dryness: Could It be Perimenopause?

Girls and women aren’t taught to talk about — or even think about — their vagina’s ability to lubricate. Maybe your partner mentions it from time to time. But when the well runs dry, you suddenly think about lubrication. A lot.

If sex is suddenly painful because your vagina isn’t lubricating well, or at all, don’t ignore it or power through intercourse with the aid of over-the-counter lubricants. 

Find out what’s behind your vaginal dryness by consulting with Sharon Smith, MD, and our caring and expert OB/GYN team at OBGYN Care of Houston in Texas. 

How your vagina lubricates

Your vagina stays moist and healthy with the aid of glands inside the vaginal wall and the cervix. They produce moisture around the clock, which is why you may notice a whitish or yellowish discharge on your panties between your periods. The fluid they release helps keep your vagina clean and maintains a healthy pH.

You also have two Bartholin glands, each of which is about the size of a pea, that sit near the entrance to your vagina.  When you become sexually aroused, your Bartholin glands release lubricating fluid. This lubrication allows you to engage in sexual intercourse without friction.

What stops the flow

When you’re young and healthy, your vagina should lubricate easily and fully, so that sex is pleasurable, not painful. But up to 17% of women ages 18-50 experience vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse. From ages 50-59, that number goes up to 25%.

The amount of lubrication you produce in your vagina is related to your hormones. When your hormonal balance shifts as you enter perimenopause — the years that lead up to menopause — you may start to experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

Hormones also affect the quality and thickness of your skin, both in your vagina and elsewhere. If you’ve noticed that your facial or body skin is thinner than it used to be, or is sagging, the same is probably happening in your vagina. Your vaginal skin gets thinner and doesn’t produce the kind of moisture it did when you were younger.

In addition to the normal (though unwanted) changes associated with aging, you might also be experiencing vaginal dryness due to a medical condition. That’s why getting a thorough evaluation at OBGYN Care of Houston helps you find the right solution.

Turning on again

Women used to have to suffer through perimenopause, menopause, and other conditions that cause vaginal dryness. But we now have effective treatments that rejuvenate your vaginal and vulvar tissues. Dr. Smith may recommend:

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT)

By restoring a more youthful balance to your hormones, BHRT alleviates most of the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. 

Once your hormones stabilize on BHRT, you notice that your vaginal lubricates again to make sex a joy. You also get other benefits, including healthier looking skin and better sleep.

Vaginal creams and lubricants

You may benefit from locally applied hormone creams to help your vagina produce more lubrication. Dr. Smith may also recommend lubricants to make sex more pleasurable and reduce the risk of an infection.

O-Shot®  

This high localized therapy is produced from your own blood. 

Dr. Smith withdraws a little of your arm blood, and then processes it to isolate the healing platelets. She injects the platelet-rich serum directly into your vaginal wall to stimulate your vagina and vulva to rebuild themselves with proteins and growth factors.

Don’t suffer through vaginal dryness. Find out what’s causing it and get relief by visiting us for a consultation. Contact our Houston, Texas, office today for BHRT or the O-Shot. Dr. Smith also offers virtual visits for current patients.

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