Pelvis | Gynecology | Vaginal Dryness (Symptom)
Insufficient lubrication or vaginal dryness in women can cause dyspareunia, which is a type of sexual pain disorder. While vaginal dryness is considered an indicator for sexual arousal disorder, male circumcision exacerbates female vaginal dryness during intercourse.
Vaginal dryness may also result from insufficient excitement and stimulation or from hormonal changes caused by menopause (potentially causing atrophic vaginitis), pregnancy, or breast-feeding. Irritation from contraceptive creams and foams can also cause dryness, as can fear and anxiety about sex.
Certain medications, including some over-the-counter antihistamines, as well as life events such as pregnancy, lactation, menopause, aging or diseases such as diabetes, will inhibit lubrication. Medicines with anticholinergic or sympathomimetic effects will dry out the mucosal or wet tissues of the vagina. Such medicines include many common drugs for allergic, cardiovascular, psychiatric, and other medical conditions. Oral contraceptives may also increase or decrease vaginal lubrication. Older women produce less vaginal lubrication and reduced estrogen levels may be associated with increased vaginal dryness.
Other vaginal symptoms that are commonly associated with vaginal atrophy include vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, and/or pain with sexual intercourse (known as dyspareunia). The vaginal changes also lead to an increased risk of vaginal infections. In addition to the vaginal symptoms, women may experience other symptoms of the menopausal transition. Hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, fatigue, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, acne, memory problems, and unwanted hair growth are all symptoms that have been reported by women experiencing menopause.