Vaginal dryness is typically linked to a drop in estrogen levels, which help lubricate and maintain the health of your vaginal walls. This drop causes internal and external vaginal tissue to become pale, thin, dry, and fragile, with a loss of secretions and elasticity.
Estrogen levels can be impacted by birth control pills, stress, breastfeeding, childbirth, menopause, and perimenopause (the transition period before menopause). However, dryness isn’t only caused by a drop in estrogen levels; dehydration and antihistamines can contribute as well.
A low-dose vaginal estrogen cream, tablet or ring, to reinvigorate vaginal tissues. Even if you’re using systemic hormone therapy pills or patches, your doctor might recommend a low-dose vaginal estrogen treatment if vaginal dryness and related symptoms persist. If you’ve had breast cancer, talk with your doctor about the risks of vaginal estrogen therapy.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), in the form of a nightly vaginal suppository is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating painful intercourse in menopausal women.