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Dryness of vagina during intercourse

During menopause, estrogenproduction slows and then stops. When that happens, a number of changes — many of them unwelcome — happen in a woman’s body. Periods become irregular and then stop. You may have hot flashes, mood swings, a deeper voice, and an increase in facial hair.

Vaginal dryness is another common symptom of menopause — and close to one out of every three women experiences it while going through “the change.” And it becomes even more common after menopause. Vaginal dryness also can occur at any age from a number of different causes. It may seem like a minor irritation. But the lack of vaginal moisture can have a huge impact on your sex life. Fortunately, several treatments are available to relieve vaginal dryness.

What causes vaginal dryness?

Normally, the walls of the vagina stay lubricated with a thin layer of clear fluid. The hormone estrogen helps maintain that fluid and keeps the lining of the vagina healthy, thick, and elastic. During menopause, the drop in estrogen levels reduces the amount of moisture available. It also makes the vagina thinner and less elastic. This is called vaginal atrophy.
In addition to menopause, estrogen levels can drop from:

  • Childbirth and breastfeeding
  • Radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancer
  • Surgical removal of the ovaries
  • Anti-estrogen medications used to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis

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