How Do I Know if I Need a Vaginal Moisturizer?

August 13, 2014
How Do I Know if I Need a Vaginal Moisturizer

Sexuality continues to be an important part of a happy and healthy life. Until very recently, medical companies have put most of their time and research into developing products and medicine that mainly address male sexual dysfunction -- but it takes two to tango. If the goal is a better sex life, it should be much more egalitarian, viewing women’s needs (like vaginal dryness) as well as men’s.

Drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra have given men options to maintain a healthy sex life as they age, provoking legitimate claims that the medical industry only treats half of the problem. The pharmaceutical advances for men have created problems for many of their partners who experience chronic vaginal dryness, making it difficult for women to respond to their partners’ increased expectations. It leaves many women suffering in silence, but the physical and emotional symptoms associated with vaginal dryness are how women should know that they may need a vaginal moisturizer.

You Are Never Too Dry To Try

A woman can suffer from vaginal dryness at any age, but the problem is usually associated only with menopause. Why? Because at that time of life, estrogen levels drop and one of estrogen's roles is to keep the lining of the vagina moist and healthy.

In addition to menopause, vaginal dryness can also be associated with breastfeeding or taking oral contraceptives. It can also occur in response to douching, pelvic radiation, prolonged use of tampons, advanced endometriosis, and as a side effect of a variety of medications, including aromatase inhibitors used to treat breast cancer, such as Tamoxifen.

Excessive exercise, persistent emotional stress or past traumatic sexual experiences, diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine, cigarette smoking, certain allergy medications and antihistamines can also exacerbate an existing condition.

If you've had vaginal dryness, you know how uncomfortable it can feel. Tell-tale symptoms include:

  • irritation
  • itching
  • burning
  • soreness

If left untreated, this condition can lead to:

  • atrophic vaginitis
  • bleeding
  • urinary discomfort
  • bladder infections
  • painful intercourse

If the signs and symptoms are there, it’s more than likely affecting your sex life. Many women put off seeking treatment often because of the lack of attention from the pharmaceutical industry and a (probably related) reluctance to talk about the issue themselves.

Acknowledging the issue is step one, asking the right questions is step two. Answering “how do I know if I need vaginal moisturizer?” is more simple than you may think. It comes down to two things:

  • Are you experiencing vaginal dryness and its symptoms?
  • Do you want to do something about it?

Although the pharmaceutical industry isn’t upfront about it, there are choices to address dryness. Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most commonly used treatments, particularly for menopausal women. However, hormones are not for everyone and HRT does present potential risks. An expert panel at the National Institute of Health advocates more emphasis on hormone-free options, such as a vaginal moisturizer. This treatment can provide soothing comfort and ensure good vaginal health as it delivers moisture for up to 3 days. In the same way that a skin moisturizer works on the face and hands, a vaginal moisturizer bonds to the vagina’s epithelial cells in order to repair, heal, and restore the natural moisture cycle.

As an in-the-moment solution, many women opt for a good lubricant when faced with the prospect of dry, painful sex. If dryness is a challenge during intercourse, a lubricant will provide great temporary assistance by supplementing the body’s natural lubrication.

All of this is good news for women when their men are taking a sexual enhancement drug and it can improve the sex lives of millions of women, at any age. Additionally, it can help raise the quality of life by easing chronic discomfort.

Men are discovering that while the body’s processes can easily frustrate desire, that doesn’t mean they have to like it. Neither do women, and nor should they. You are never too dry to try, as long as you know what you can do about it.

Dr. Machelle M. Seibel
Dr. Machelle M. Seibel is a leading expert in women's health. He is founder of My Menopause Magazine available in the Apple Newsstand and on Google Play. Get a FREE Subscription at www.FreeMenopauseHelp.com.
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