Vaginal dryness

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Definition

Vaginal dryness may be a problem for women at any age, although it occurs more frequently in older women, particularly after menopause.

Causes

Reduced estrogen levels are the main cause of vaginal dryness. Estrogen, a female hormone, helps keep vaginal tissue healthy by maintaining normal vaginal lubrication, tissue elasticity and acidity. Other causes of vaginal dryness include certain medical conditions or hygiene practices.

Estrogen levels can fall for a number of reasons:

  • Breast-feeding
  • Childbirth
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Cancer treatment (effects on your ovaries from cancer therapy)
  • Primary immunodeficiency
  • Menopause
  • Perimenopause (the transition time before menopause)
  • Oophorectomy (ovary removal surgery)
  • Use of allergy and cold medications or anti-estrogen medications

Other causes of vaginal dryness include:

  • Douching
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

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