I am Dr. Inés Gracia, Dermatologist at the Son Espases Hospital and Juaneda Clinic in Palma de Mallorca. If you are interested in knowing more about me, I will be delighted if you follow me on my Instagram profile @inegraciadermatology
When you think of a dermatologist, what is the first word that comes to mind? Surely it is SKIN, because dermatology is the science of health that studies all the concepts related to the skin; from acne, through spots and wrinkles, to skin cancer.l.
There are many pathologies or needs of the skin that dermatologists treat in our day to day. However, what you may not have known or are not so familiar with is that we also treat areas covered with moist skin or mucous membranes, such as the oral and genital mucosa, in which sometimes one is not so sure which specialist to consult.
Vaginal dryness at the dermatologist's office
Although surely you usually go to your gynecologist to treat or prevent any issue related to the health of your genital organs, especially in the case of the skin and mucous lining of the female vulva and vagina, You should know that we dermatologists continuously diagnose and treat many pathologies that affect this area.
In this blog I am going to talk about one of the concerns important among my patients, since in most cases, their quality of life is diminished. In this case, everything that has to do with the vaginal dryness
Many of the topics that I am going to tell you about in this blog are sometimes taboo and we do not know how to recognize or even consult, but it is important that we get to know each other and know that we can improve and even solve this problem that is often difficult for us to express.
But before we start, I'm going to tell you what is vaginal dryness and the reasons for its appearance.
So stay a few more minutes and you will see how I am going to solve some of your doubts.
The first thing you should know is that the dryness in the vagina is a very common problem in women, therefore, if at any time it happens to you, it is totally normal! It is also true that we relate it to menopause, but it can happen at any age, since the causes are multiple..
Causes of vaginal dryness
Below I will tell you what are the most common causes for your body to suffer from vaginal dryness.
- Hormonal changes: At some times in a woman's life, such as menopause, lactation or postpartum, it is very common to experience a significant drop in estrogen levels, which can lead to significant vaginal dryness.
- High levels of stress: In periods of high stress, we can suffer less sexual desire and also high amounts of adrenaline or epinephrine can be secreted, a hormone that interferes with the normal sexual response cycle of the body, decreasing vaginal lubrication.
- Irritating soaps during the shower: When we shower and clean the vaginal area, we must take care of the type of product we use, since this is a particularly sensitive area and can be more easily irritated by some chemical products. It is important to use specific soaps to clean this delicate area.
- Lack of sexual desire: When a woman's body is aroused by the production of estrogen, it naturally secretes a lubricant to aid penetration. However, if for hormonal reasons or due to lack of arousal this lubrication does not occur, the vagina suffers greater dryness.
- Some medications: You should be aware that there are groups of medications that can be the direct cause of vaginal dryness. This is why it is so important that when your doctor recommends them, you can ask about this consequence and find out if you could avoid it; Some of these drugs are antihistamines, some antidepressants, cancer treatments, and some birth control methods.
- Some pathologies: such as lichen scleroatrophicus or Sjogren's Syndrome, among others, which are autoimmune diseases in which alterations occur in the secretory glands, reducing their ability to produce physiological lubrication.
Main symptoms of vaginal dryness
If you have doubts about whether or not you are suffering from vaginal dryness, you should go to your trusted dermatologist to ensure a correct diagnosis and subsequent treatment if necessary, but here are the main symptoms that could help you suspect it:
- Noticing around the vagina some type of burning or discomfort
- When urinating have a burning sensation
- Suffering pain when having sex would be a clear example.
- Looking at your vaginal lips with a mirror and realizing that they are very thin could be one of the symptoms
- You have noticed that lately you have vaginal infections quite frequently…
- If you notice that you urinate more and more frequently
Now that you know a little more about the causes and symptoms of vaginal dryness I want to make a special reference to the women who are suffering from menopause , since it is one of his greatest fears among my patients at this vital moment.
Women, who are in this totally normal and natural phase in evolution of the female body , suffer different situations due to the hormonal changes ; from weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, or vaginal dryness.
This is caused by the drop in estrogen levels that are directly associated.
Think that, like all the skin of the body, when we are getting older, the tissues that cover the vagina are atrophying and thinning. Therefore, being a extremely sensitive area , they can be more easily irritated and cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse and even vaginal infections.
If this is your case, don't worry, it can be improved and even solved.
So I recommend that you go to your dermatologist for a correct treatment associated with your needs.
Treatments for vaginal dryness
And finally, I want to explain what are the treatments that I usually recommend to my patients with vaginal dryness to help them improve their quality of life. They are easy to apply and establish as routines.
- LUBRICANTS . They are one of the best allies to help lubricate the vaginal area safely, quickly and comfortably. In addition, they can relieve vaginal pain at the time of sexual intercourse. We can find different presentations, in gel or in liquid. They are applied to the vulva and vagina and the effect is immediate. The most common are water-based lubricants.
- VAGINAL MOISTURIZERS. The objective is to recover vaginal moisture, so it is usually necessary to apply them inside every 2-3 days.
- VAGINAL ESTROGENS. They act directly at the local level, effectively stimulating vulvar trophism, achieving their full effect after 12 weeks of treatment. Some examples are promestriene, estriol, and estradiol. We can find several formats; from rings, tablets, ovules and vaginal creams. It should be prescribed by your dermatologist or gynecologist if necessary.
- HRT (Hormonal replacement treatments or hormone therapy). They increase the levels of hormones that stimulate estrogens and androgens, among others, to return the hormonal activity of the skin and vaginal mucosa, thus promoting collagen remodeling, sensory improvement (since it increases neurotransmitters and receptors) and an increase sexual desire and satisfaction.
When my patients come to my office with vaginal dryness, my first goal is to help them understand and normalize the situation, since it is a very common condition, and above all to convey to them that we have effective and quick treatment options to remedy it.
Personally, I really like the results of the lubricating gels since they are easy and comfortable to use and, at the same time, hygienic. It is one of the functions that I like most about the LUBRIMAS, theVaginal Lubricant Moisturizing Gel of Masderm that not only helps to recover vaginal lubrication, but also leaves very hydrated and lubricated this area.
In addition, it has a 99.20% ingredients of natural origin, so important to treat this area, such as Calendula (with soothing and softening properties), Chamomile (with decongestant and softening properties) and Malva Extract (with moisturizing, emollient and soothing action).