Women's Sexual Health Clinic

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Vaginal Dryness

A healthy vagina normally produces its own lubrication. When it no longer does, the result is vaginal dryness. This dryness irritates the vaginal tissue and can be painful.

Common Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness

The main symptom of vaginal dryness is little to no vaginal lubrication. This can often bring about its own set of symptoms, including:

  • Little vaginal discharge
  • Post-sex bleeding
  • Discomfort and pain during sex
  • Vaginal burning
  • Itching and soreness in and around the vagina
  • An increase in yeast infections and bacterial infections

The discomfort associated with vaginal dryness can make daily life difficult.

What Causes Vaginal Dryness?

The main cause of vaginal dryness is estrogen or lack thereof. Your body’s level of this hormone can decrease for many reasons. These may include taking anti-estrogen medication, undergoing treatment for cancer, having some immune disorders, and having had ovary removal surgery. If you smoke, are breastfeeding, have recently given birth, or are going through perimenopause or menopause, your estrogen production changes.

As a woman gets older, she becomes more likely to develop vaginal dryness. Younger women can also have this issue.

There are yet other causes of vaginal dryness to be aware of. These include sexual problems like low libido. A woman often has low libido and then develops vaginal dryness. Once she has vaginal dryness, the low libido will continue.

Having the autoimmune disease known as Sjogren’s Syndrome dries out the mouth and eyes as well as the vagina. High levels of anxiety or stress can contribute to vaginal dryness. Medications can also play a big role in how lubricated the vagina is. Some antidepressants, antihistamine allergy treatments, asthma medications, and cold and flu medications are especially big culprits.

Finally, if a woman uses douches, perfumes, soaps, or lotions in or around the vagina, she can alter the pH levels there. This can cause temporary or longer-term vaginal dryness.

When to Speak to a Doctor

In most instances, the recommended treatments for vaginal dryness are topical estrogen (in suppository, cream or tablet form), creams or lubricants. However, before a woman should seek treatments, we recommend she speaks to a provider. The Women’s Sexual Health team, located near Detroit, is here to help.

For a confidential appointment at the Henry Ford Health System Women’s Sexual Health Clinic located near Detroit, we offer two convenient ways to contact us:

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If this is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department.

For your safety, please select a MyChart video visit on demand or call our MyCare Advice Line at 844-262-1949 before scheduling if:

  • You currently have a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • In the past 21 days, you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • In the past 14 days, you have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You are experiencing a new loss of taste and/or sense of smell
  • If you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms in the last 3 days:
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Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email CommunicationAccess@hfhs.org.

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