Vaginal dryness is no laughing matter. This uncomfortable condition afflicts many women of all ages, and it leads to painful intercourse, itching, and burning. Your gynecologist or provider will be able to prescribe ointments or medications that can treat symptoms and, in some cases, resolve the underlying condition causing the discomfort.

What causes vaginal dryness

Some things that can cause vaginal dryness are:

Hormones. When your estrogen levels decrease, you are more likely to experience vaginal dryness. This can be resolved with estrogen supplements, but make sure to consult with your doctor before taking any hormones or beginning any alternative hormonal treatments.

Medication. Vaginal dryness could be related to medications that you are currently taking. Talk with your doctor about these potential side-effects.

Menopause. It is estimated that half of the women going through menopause or post-menopause struggle with vaginal dryness.

Douching. Douching can cause dryness and interferes with the healthy bacteria which may lead to an infection.

Breastfeeding. Women who have recently given birth or that are breastfeeding may experience vaginal dryness as a result of hormonal changes in the body.

Chemotherapy or radiation. If you are undergoing treatment for cancer, you may experience vaginal dryness as a result of chemo or radiation.

Perfumed soaps, lotions, and bubble-baths. These products can also lead to dryness. Discontinue use to determine if these items are contributing to the issue.

How can you treat vaginal dryness

Don't suffer in silence; this condition is painful and can be embarrassing to talk about, but it can be treated. Some ways to relieve painful vaginal dryness include:

Water-based lubricants. Your doctor can prescribe water-based lubricants that will alleviate dryness and discomfort. You may also find some over-the-counter lubes (make sure they are water-based!) that offer some relief.

Dietary supplements. Some believe that dietary supplements like black cohosh or wild yam can relieve the symptoms of vaginal dryness by impacting hormone levels. Again, keep your gynecologist informed of any such treatment regimens.

Hormone treatments. Most doctors will prescribe estrogen supplements which should relieve and resolve the dryness. As with any medications, there are side-effects; discuss with your doctor about what to expect when taking estrogen.

Healthy diet and exercise. You can often prevent or lessen dryness by eating a nutritious diet that is low in cholesterol and high in fiber. Aim to exercise five-times per week to maintain a healthy body-mass index (BMI).

If you suffer from vaginal dryness, speak with your doctor about treating the symptoms and evaluating the root-cause of your discomfort. In some cases, simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference, as can prescribed medications, salves, and lubricants that can alleviate the pain, itching, and burning.

For more information, talk with a gynecologist or visit websites like