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Vaginal Dryness

A common female complaint

Vaginal dryness often appears in perimenopause, menopause and beyond.


What is vaginal dryness?

As women enter menopause many will notice that different areas of their skin become drier. The problem affects both the obvious areas of legs, arms, torso and face and the not so obvious vaginal area.

Menopausal vaginal dryness also encompasses vaginal itching, irritation, pain from urination and pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse.

Vaginal dryness and menopause

Vaginal dryness can be triggered by the hormone imbalances that start in perimenopause.

In premenopausal women the lining of the vagina stays lubricated with a thin layer of clear fluid, and estrogen keeps the lining of the vagina healthy, thick and elastic. When estrogen levels fall during menopause the amount of moisture reduces and the vagina becomes thinner and less elastic.

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This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.


Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.