“Vaginal dryness is a hallmark sign of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, also known as atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy”.1

Umbrella
What may the Vaginal Dryness Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Atrophic Vaginitis
  • Genital Atrophy
  • Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause
  • Urogenital Problems
  • Vaginal Atrophy
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Vaginal Symptoms
  • Vulvovaginal Atrophy

Vaginal Dryness

What is vaginal dryness?

DotS the definition of vaginal dryness may vary. The (United States) MedlinePlus’ definition is:

“Vaginal dryness is present when the tissues of the vagina are not well-lubricated and healthy”.2

Vaginal Atrophy

What is vaginal atrophy?

DotS the definition of vaginal dryness may vary. In Vaginal Dryness After Menopause: How To Treat It? the author’s definition is:

“Vaginal dryness is a hallmark sign of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, also known as atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy. With this condition, vaginal tissues become thinner and more easily irritated — resulting from the natural decline in your body’s estrogen levels during menopause”.3

Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause

What is the association between the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) and vaginal dryness?

In Menopause Frequently Asked Questions: Menopause Symptoms – Q. How Can I Counteract Vaginal Dryness During Menopause? the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) elaborate on:

“A. Vaginal dryness is extremely common during menopause. It’s just one of a collection of symptoms known as the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) that involves changes to the vulvovaginal area, as well as to the urethra and bladder. These changes can lead to vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse, urinary urgency, and sometimes more frequent bladder infections. These body changes and symptoms are commonly associated with decreased estrogen. However, decreased estrogen is not the only cause of vaginal dryness”.4

In Vulvovaginal Symptoms After Menopause the Australasian Menopause Society elaborate on:

  • “As women age they will experience changes to their vagina and urinary system largely due to decreasing levels of the hormone oestrogen
  • The changes, which may cause dryness, irritation, itching and pain with intercourse are known as the genito-urinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) and can affect up to 50% of postmenopausal women. GSM was previously known as atrophic vaginitis or vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA)
  • Unlike some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, which may disappear as time passes; genito-urinary problems often persist and may progress with time. Genito-urinary symptoms are associated both with menopause and with ageing”.5

Cause

What may cause vaginal dryness?

The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“The loss of oestrogen at menopause causes changes in the tissues of the vulva, vagina and bladder”.6

Other Causes

Apart from decreased estrogen, what may be other causes of vaginal dryness?

The NAMS note:

“It is important to stop using soap and powder on the vulva, stop using fabric softeners and anti-cling products on your underwear, and avoid wearing panty liners and pads”.7

Menopause

Is there an association between menopause and vaginal dryness?

According to the (United States) Mayo Clinic:

Vaginal Dryness
“Vaginal dryness may be a problem for women at any age, although it occurs more frequently in older women, particularly after menopause”.8

Treatment

What are some treatments for vaginal dryness?

In Vaginal Dryness: Treatment the MedlinePlus elaborate on:

“There are many treatments for vaginal dryness. Before treating your symptoms on your own, a health care provider must determine the cause of the problem”.9

In Menopause Management: Managing Vaginal Problems – Dry Vagina Treatments the JH elaborate on:

  • “Lubricants or Oil…
  • Vaginal Moisturizers…
  • Black Cohosh…
  • Linseed (Flaxseed)…
  • Vaginal Oestrogen…
  • Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT)…
  • Vaginal Laser Therapy…”.10

In Vaginal Dryness: Treatment Options the NAMS elaborate on:

  • “Nonhormone Remedies
    • Vaginal Lubricants…
    • Vaginal Moisturizers…
    • Regular Sexual Stimulation…
    • Expanding Your Views of Sexual Pleasure…
    • Vaginal Dilators…
    • Pelvic Floor Exercises…
  • Vaginal Estrogen Therapy…
    • An effective and safe treatment…
    • Government-approved low-dose vaginal estrogen products…
    • Standard doses of estrogen therapy…
  • Other Prescription Therapies…
    • Ospemifene …
    • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)”.11

Vaginal Estrogen

Can estrogen be placed directly into the vagina?

On page one in Deciding About Hormone Therapy Use published in June 2017, the NAMS elaborate on:

“If you are bothered only by vaginal dryness, you can use very low doses of estrogen placed directly in to the vagina. These low doses generally do not raise blood estrogen levels above postmenopause levels and do not treat hot flashes. You do not need to take a progestogen when using only low doses of estrogen in the vagina. (The MenoNoteVaginal Dryness” covers this topic in detail)”.12

Revised Global Consensus Statement

What is one of the points of consensus about menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and vaginal dryness?

One of the points of consensus in the Revised Global Consensus Statement on Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Section A: Benefits/Risk Profile of MHT – endorsed by seven menopause-related organizations – published online 20 June 2016, is:

  • “MHT, including tibolone, is effective in the treatment of vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), now also considered as a component of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). Local low-dose estrogen therapy is preferred for women whose symptoms are limited to vaginal dryness or associated discomfort with intercourse or for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections”.13

NICE Guideline

What do the (British) National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines explain about HRT and vaginal dryness?

In Menopause: Diagnosis and Management – Information for the Public: Managing Your Symptoms – Vaginal Dryness published in November 2015, the NICE explain:

“If you have vaginal dryness you should be offered vaginal oestrogen, which is put directly into the vagina as a pessary, cream or a vaginal ring. You can use vaginal oestrogen for as long as you need to, even if you are already using HRT. Moisturisers and lubricants can also help. If vaginal oestrogen doesn’t help to start with you may be offered a higher dose. It’s rare for vaginal oestrogen to cause problems, but if you have any unexpected vaginal bleeding you should tell your GP. Your GP should explain that your symptoms may come back when you stop using it. Vaginal oestrogen might be suitable for you if you can’t take HRT for medical reasons. Your GP should check this first with a healthcare professional specialising in menopause”.14

Who is a GP?

DotS and/or DotC (Depending on the Country) a GP may be a qualified and registered general practitioner, a medical practitioner, a medical doctor or a doctor.

Sexual Activity

Can regular sexual activity help?

The NAMS note:

“Regular sexual activity can help preserve vaginal function by increasing blood flow to the genital region and helping maintain the size of the vagina. Without sexual activity and estrogen, the vagina can become smaller as well as dryer”.15

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have vaginal dryness?

If you think you have vaginal dryness, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The Mayo Clinic explain:

“Vaginal dryness affects many women, although they frequently don’t bring up the topic with their doctors. If vaginal dryness affects your lifestyle, in particular your sex life and relationship with your partner, consider making an appointment with your doctor. Living with uncomfortable vaginal dryness doesn’t have to be part of getting older”.16

The NAMS note:

“Persistent vaginal dryness and painful intercourse should be evaluated by your healthcare provider. If it is determined to be a symptom of menopause, vaginal dryness can be treated with low-dose vaginal estrogen, or the oral selective estrogen-receptor modulator (SERM) ospemifene can be used”.17

The MedlinePlus explain:

“Call your provider if you have vaginal dryness or soreness, burning, itching, or painful sexual intercourse that does not go away when you use a water-soluble lubricant”.18

On page two in Vaginal Dryness: Treatment Option the NAMS note:

“Note: Vaginal symptoms not related to menopause include yeast infections, allergic reactions, and certain skin conditions, so consult your health care provider if symptoms do not improve with treatment”.19

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to the Vaginal Dryness?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Vaginal Dryness?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted above?

You may find the Sources at:

Sources

  1. Laughlin-Tommaso, S. K. Vaginal Dryness After Menopause: How To Treat It? 12 October 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/vaginal-dryness-after-menopause/expert-answers/faq-20115086 Accessed: 06 August 2019
  2. Vaginal Dryness. Review Date: 28 September 2017. Page Last Updated: 31 July 2019. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000892.htm Accessed: 06 August 2019
  3. Laughlin-Tommaso, S. K. Vaginal Dryness After Menopause: How To Treat It? 12 October 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/vaginal-dryness-after-menopause/expert-answers/faq-20115086 Accessed: 06 August 2019
  4. Menopause FAQs: Menopause Symptoms – Q. How Can I Counteract Vaginal Dryness During Menopause? North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 06 August 2019
  5. Vulvovaginal Symptoms After Menopause. Content Created: September 2018. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/376-vulvovaginal-symptoms-after-menopause Accessed: 06 August 2019
  6. Menopause Management: Managing Vaginal Problems. Last Updated 16 July 2019 — Last Reviewed 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health http://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-management Accessed: 06 August 2019
  7. Menopause FAQs: Menopause Symptoms – Q. How can I counteract vaginal dryness during menopause? North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 06 August 2019
  8. Vaginal Dryness: Basics – Definition. 27 November 2018. Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/vaginal-dryness/basics/definition/sym-20151520 Accessed: 06 August 2019
  9. Vaginal Dryness: Treatment. Review Date: 28 September 2017. Page Last Updated: 31 July 2019. MedlinePlus http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000892.htm Accessed: 06 August 2019
  10. Menopause Management: Managing Vaginal Problems – Dry Vaginal Treatment. Last Updated 16 July 2019 — Last Reviewed 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health http://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-management Accessed: 06 August 2019
  11. Vaginal Dryness: Treatment Options. 2018: 1-2. North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/for-women/mn-vaginal-dryness.pdf Accessed: 06 August 2019
  12. Deciding About Hormone Therapy Use. 2017:1. North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/for-women/menonote-deciding-about-ht-2017.pdf Accessed: 06 August 2019
  13. De Villiers, T. J., Hall, J. E., Pinkerton, J. V., Pérez, S. C., Rees, M., Yang, C. and Pierroz, D. D. Revised Global Consensus Statement on Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Section A: Benefit/Risk Profile of MHT. Climacteric, 2016;19:4:313 http://www.imsociety.org/manage/images/pdf/ba6379e868044bec13015ac2b84f2753.pdf Accessed: 06 August 2019
  14. Menopause: Diagnosis and Management – Information for the Public: Managing Your Symptoms – Vaginal Dryness. Published Date: November 2015. National Institute of Health Care and Excellence  https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23/ifp/chapter/Managing-your-symptoms Accessed: 06 August 2019
  15. Menopause FAQs: Menopause Symptoms – Q. How can I counteract vaginal dryness during menopause? North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 06 August 2019
  16. Vaginal Dryness: Basics – When To See A Doctor. 27 November 2018. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/vaginal-dryness/basics/when-to-see-doctor/sym-20151520 Accessed: 06 August 2019
  17. Menopause FAQs: Menopause Symptoms – Q. How can I counteract vaginal dryness during menopause? North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-menopause-symptoms Accessed: 06 August 2019
  18. Vaginal Dryness: When To Contact A Medical Professional. Review Date: 28 September 2017. Page Last Updated: 31 July 2019. MedlinePlus http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000892.htm Accessed: 06 August 2019
  19. Vaginal Dryness: Note.  2018: 2. North American Menopause Society http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/for-women/mn-vaginal-dryness.pdf Accessed: 06 August 2019
Topic Last Updated: 06 August 2019 – Topic Last Reviewed: 06 August 2019
image_pdf