Vaginal dryness develops when estrogen levels drop during menopause. It’s one of the most common symptoms women experience during menopause. Affiliated with Hoag Hospital, Dr. Yonatan Mahller has extensive experience treating vaginal dryness with a variety of medical options and advanced laser therapy. Contact his office in Newport Beach, Orange County, California, or schedule an appointment online to learn about your options for eliminating vaginal dryness and its associated symptoms, such as pain during intercourse and vaginal burning.
Vaginal dryness develops when estrogen levels are low. Estrogen keeps vaginal tissue healthy by maintaining tissue elasticity, promoting lubrication and blood flow, and ensuring the proper level of acidity.
Perimenopause and menopause are the most common causes of low estrogen and vaginal dryness. However, estrogen levels are also affected by excessive or intensive exercise, eating disorders, ovarian and breast cancer, removal of ovaries, and premature ovarian failure.
Vaginal atrophy is closely related to vaginal dryness. In fact, vaginal dryness is the primary symptom of atrophy. But vaginal atrophy reflects the fact that low estrogen has a broad impact on the vagina, causing the vaginal walls to become thin and fragile.
Vaginal atrophy causes the following symptoms:
For mild cases of vaginal dryness, women may get the relief they need with over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers. These products are safe, and you can use them for a long time, but they must be used regularly to get the best result.
You may also use a lubricant to reduce discomfort during sexual intercourse. Purchase lubricants that are water based; some contain glycerin, which can irritate, and others contain petroleum jelly, which can break down latex condoms.
Dr. Mahller often recommends medical treatment with hormones when self-care options don’t help, or vaginal dryness and atrophy are severe. Your options include:
Hormone replacement therapy is very effective for vaginal dryness, and it’s safe when the dose and type of hormone used are based on each woman’s individual needs. Dr. Mahller evaluates your health and develops a treatment plan based on the severity of your vaginal dryness, the presence of other menopause symptoms, your age, and your medical history.
Advances in laser technology have made it possible to restore vaginal tissues using the MonaLisa Touch®. This unique fractional CO2 laser precisely and gently treats atrophied tissues in the vagina.
The laser stimulates collagen production, which improves the tone and texture of the vaginal wall and diminishes vaginal atrophy. Treatment with the MonaLisa Touch is virtually painless and only takes about five minutes. Long-lasting results are achieved after receiving just three treatments.