Vaginal dryness has a lot of possible contributing factors and can happen at any age. It shouldn’t last long and be a cause of concern as it can be treated easily. Vaginal dryness could cause itching, irritation, and discomfort, and even affect sexual experience.
To know what you can do about vaginal dryness requires knowing first what is causing it. Here are the common psychological and physiological reasons for vaginal dryness:
Sexual stimulation involves both physical and mental response. Stress and anxiety can create a mental block and interfere with sexual desire. This can lead to insufficient blood flow to the vagina, hinder achieving arousal, and limiting vaginal secretions.
If you think stress has been affecting your love and sex life or you find it difficult to enjoy the moment due to stress, regularly engaging in relaxing and destressing activities may help you.
Smoking affects blood flow throughout the entire body, including the vagina. This has an adverse impact on sexual stimulation, arousal, and vaginal lubrication.
Alcohol dehydrates the entire body, including the vagina. Since the body has less water because of the alcohol, the vagina also gets less fluids for lubrication.
Nerve endings are also affected by alcohol. They are less sensitive when you are drinking, and thus making you feel less sensation.
The vulva and vagina are very sensitive body parts. Heavily scented detergents or fabric softeners, lotions, scented toilet paper, and some feminine washes can cause irritation and sensitivity, which contribute to vaginal dryness.
Antihistamines, asthma medications, and antidepressants may cause vaginal dryness as a side effect. If you do experience it, do not attempt to discontinue your medications. Chat with your healthcare provider about this and they’ll most likely advise what you can do.
Lower estrogen levels
Estrogen is an important hormone that contributes to vaginal lubrication.
The menstrual cycle is controlled by the increasing and decreasing of estrogen hormones. You’ll probably experience vaginal dryness on days when estrogen levels are low, such as during and the days after your period.
Estrogen levels also drop when you are pregnant or you just gave birth. You may also experience vaginal dryness, increased irritation, and fluctuating libido at these times. This will all return to normal post-birth or as breastfeeding sessions decrease.
Menopausal women also experience a drop in estrogen levels. Women nearing or postmenopause may experience discomfort, pain, or bleeding during sex because of the decreased vaginal lubrication.
Vaginal dryness and sex
Vaginal lubrication is often referred to as “getting wet” during sex. This is a physiological response of the body to prepare for sex. It’s triggered by sexual arousal and stimulation, both physiologically and psychologically, which you often do during foreplay.
There are times when you may be totally aroused, but still do not produce enough vaginal lubrication. This doesn’t mean that you’re not turned on, you’re not interested, or you’re not attracted to your partner. This simply means that your body may need a bit more time and stimulation to catch up with your brain.
Vaginal lubrication is important when it comes to penetrative sex. Slipping a penis, finger, or sex toy in a dry vagina is painful. Not enough lubrication may cause microtears in the vagina, which are uncomfortable and irritating, and may even bleed at times.
What to do
The easiest way to beat vaginal dryness during sex is to use personal lubricants. The safest and most versatile lube that you can use during penetrative sex is water-based lubricants, such as EZ Lubricating Jelly. It’s safe to use in almost any sexual activity, and even on condoms and sex toys.
It’s always best to consult your doctor for any health-related concerns, especially when you are experiencing symptoms such as:
- Vaginal dryness lasting
- Discomfort throughout the day, that it affects daily activities
- Severe vaginal itching
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding after sex
- Persistent vaginal swelling