Fine lines and wrinkles as well as morning aches and pains are some of the more obvious signs of aging. But did you know that aging causes sexual health changes too?
As the years go by, your vaginal tissue and skin can change along with the rest of your body. While it’s natural, these changes can leave you with vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse, and sexual dysfunction. You might be tempted to ignore these symptoms, but getting older shouldn’t mean giving up a healthy sex life.
Heather Auld, MD, and our team at SWFL Integrative Medicine support women throughout Fort Myers, Florida with their gynecological health. Here’s what you need to know about vaginal dryness, why it happens, and how hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could help.
Throughout most of your life, the tissues of your vaginal walls secrete a thin layer of mucus. The mucus lubricates and moisturizes your vagina, which keeps it comfortable and reduces friction when you have sex. But as you age, that moisture can disappear.
Estrogen, the primary female hormone, controls the production of vaginal mucus. Your estrogen levels naturally fluctuate, and your body produces less and less over time. During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen production drops significantly.
This drop is a top cause of vaginal dryness and sexual dysfunction. In fact, about 43% of women experience sexual dysfunction in their lifetimes. Vaginal dryness can cause symptoms such as:
It’s important to note that while menopause is one of the most common causes of vaginal dryness, it’s not the only one. You may develop low estrogen levels and vaginal dryness due to a number of conditions, including:
Vaginal dryness can be intensely uncomfortable, and it can seriously limit your ability to enjoy sex. The good news? It’s treatable, and Dr. Auld can help.
Burning, dryness, itching, and painful intercourse are all symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore. When you come to SWFL Integrative Medicine for treatment, you’ll find a compassionate team of experts that’s dedicated to helping you find relief.
During your assessment, Dr. Auld does a pelvic exam to look for signs of dryness and thinning tissue. She asks questions about your medical history and your symptoms, then discusses treatment options with you.
If you’re diagnosed with vaginal dryness due to low estrogen, you may be a good candidate for HRT. Dr. Auld and our team have more than 30 years of experience prescribing bioidentical hormones, a type of HRT that offers enhanced absorption.
HRT medications contain estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone.Bioidentical hormones can be individualized and offer even other hormones such as pregnenolone and DHEA. HRT gives your body more estrogen than it produces on its own, which can increase vaginal moisture and help alleviate symptoms of dryness.
HRT is available in a variety of forms, including topical creams,Vaginal creams,Troche and rapid dissolving tablets and oral medications, and pellets.Some forms are safer than others. Dr. Auld identifies a starting dose of hormones for you. In general, we recommend the lowest effective dose to minimize side effects, and we monitor your health throughout treatment. Balance is the key.
If you’re living with vaginal dryness, HRT could be the solution you’ve been seeking. Contact our team at SWFL Integrative Medicine to book a consultation today.