Vaginal dryness is not something easily discussed but the problem is common and can be debilitating for many women as it can lead to itching, painful sex and self esteem issues. This, in turn, can negatively impact a couple’s relationship, which underscores the need for this education.

So what are the top reasons for vaginal dryness?

Stress and Anxiety– An estimated 12 percent of Canadians suffer from an anxiety disorder, according to Reader’s Digest 2014. Anxiety can get in the way of life and affect her career and her relationships. When a woman is stressed or lacks stress management skills, her sexual desire may be impacted. Anxiety leads to a decrease in blood flow and as I often say, “sex is all about blood flow.” When blood doesn’t flow to the genitalia, vaginal lubrication is interrupted and vaginal dryness is the result.

Hormonal Changes– Hormones change in women throughout life. Estrogen, which is the female sex hormone, is responsible for vaginal lubrication in women. The lower the estrogen, the less the lubrication. When estrogen levels decrease during pregnancy, postpartum, breast-feeding,  peri-menopause or menopause or when a woman is on the oral contraceptive pill, vaginal dryness may be the end result. Reproductive cancer treatments such as chemotherapy may have a side effect of vaginal dryness.  Radiation therapy to the pelvis for reproductive cancer will damage the area and lead to decreased blood flow and vaginal dryness.

Medications- There are a number of anticholinergic medications that have a side effect which can lead to overall body dryness including the vagina. One may not realize that allergy and/or cold medications may impact their sex life! But they may! Some antidepressant medications may lead to vaginal dryness as well. Anti-estrogen medications used to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis may also cause vaginal dryness.

Lack of Foreplay– This may result in a lack of arousal. A healthy female sexual response cycle is important for vaginal lubrication. When there is inadequate foreplay or when premature ejaculation ends the sexual event too soon, there is no time for a woman to become aroused.

Medical Conditions– Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that attacks cells in the body that produce moisture and the vagina is not immune.

Allergic Reactions – Many women have allergic reactions to coloured toilet paper, polyester, underwear, soaps, douching products and perfumes.  Sex toys or other objects that are placed in the vagina may lead to dryness due to the chemicals. Even some lubricants may irritate the vagina.

All of the above can lead to vaginal dryness which may lead to painful sex and impact a relationship. Who wants to have sex when it hurts? Yet sex is important for intimacy, connection and overall well-being.

There may be a number of reasons for vaginal dryness but there is one treatment that many women find helpful. It is important for women to moisturize the vagina. RepaGyn is a nice choice because it is a hormone-free ovule so it is not messy. It is also available at your local pharmacy without a prescription.  If women remembered that it is just as important to moisturize their vagina as it is their face, many cases of vaginal dryness could be avoided and many sex lives saved!

Maureen McGrath

Maureen McGrath

Host of the CKNW Sunday Night Health Show on Corus Radio. As a leading women's health expert and Registered Nurse, I understand the importance that sexual, vaginal, bladder and bowel health has on overall health and relationships.

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