Vaginal Dryness and Irritation

At midlife, a healthy lifestyle can help manage menopausal symptoms and reduce your risk of serious health conditions, like breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis (thinning bones).

Vaginal dryness and irritation are very common in menopause and even perimenopause. You are not alone. While often women may feel shy to talk about these issues with even their closest friends, you may be surprised to hear that they too have often suffered similarly. There are treatment options for this. Suggested options to try:

  • Vaginal moisturizer for long term relief from vaginal dryness, such as Replens or Lubrin.
  • Vaginal lubricant, such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly for before or during intercourse.
  • Vaginal low dose estrogen which is applied via cream or ring most commonly and could be prescribed by your provider to reverse the cause of the vaginal dryness.
  • Higher dose systemic estrogen via oral pill or patch, also prescribed, but exposes the rest of your body as well to estrogen and so usually only used for women with bothersome hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms as well.

The options that provide estrogen provide the most relief but some women may find enough relief from the first 2 options and so it may be worth a try.

Avoid using douches, scented soaps or lotions, or bubble bath around the vaginal area as these can worsen vaginal dryness.

Call your provider if:

  • You are having vaginal bleeding in menopause or between your periods
  • You are having burning with intercourse
  • If after 4 weeks of trying the suggested treatment, your symptoms are not improved.

Suggested reading material for this problem as well as other issues common in perimenopause and menopause are on our Orange County’s Women’s Health Services website, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Patient website or the North American Menopause Society website. At these sites, you can learn more about the changes to your body and your feelings at this time in your life as well as get unbiased and consistent evidence-based recommendations to help you optimize your health and well-being.

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