How is vaginal dryness associated with menopause?

Vaginal dryness can be a symptom of menopause as hormone levels begin to change. If vaginal dryness is affecting you in a negative way, talk to your doctor about possible solutions. There are good treatments available.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Before menopause, the lining of the vagina is moist, thick, and elastic thanks to estrogen. Estrogen protects the lining of the vaginal wall and the blood vessels that bring it nutrients. So as estrogen levels drop, the vaginal lining thins and dries out. This causes quite a bit of pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse and even urination.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
A woman's estrogen levels drop dramatically during menopause, which can cause vaginal dryness. Estrogen is a hormone produced by the ovaries. During menopause, the ovaries gradually dial down production of estrogen until a woman's levels are barely measurable.
One effect of this big drop in estrogen is reduced blood flow to the vagina. That can result in vaginal dryness, as well as other changes, such as thinning of the vaginal walls.

None of these changes are healthy for a satisfying sex life, since they can make intercourse less pleasurable and even painful. If you're experiencing vaginal dryness, lubricants and moisturizers that are available over the counter can help. You might also ask your doctor about vaginal estrogen treatments (in the form of rings, tablets and creams), which contain a low dose of the hormone.

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