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Vaginal dryness after menopause: How to treat it?

Answer Section

Vaginal dryness can be a problem for many people after menopause. Vaginal dryness is the main symptom of what's called genitourinary syndrome of menopause. The syndrome used to be called atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy.

With this condition, vaginal tissues become thinner and irritated more easily. This is the result of falling levels of estrogen during menopause.

There is help for this vaginal dryness and painful intercourse, also called dyspareunia. Your healthcare professional might suggest:

  • Vaginal moisturizers (K-Y Liquibeads, Replens, others). Moisturizers are put into the vagina or around the vulva every day or every few days to keep vaginal tissues healthy.
  • Vaginal lubricants (Astroglide, Sliquid, others). Lubricants are put into the vagina or on the vulva or penis just before having sex to ease pain during intercourse. These can be used with vaginal moisturizers.
  • A low-dose vaginal estrogen cream, tablet or ring. This helps revive vaginal tissues. Even if you use hormone therapy pills or patches, your healthcare professional might suggest a low-dose vaginal estrogen treatment if you still have vaginal dryness and related symptoms. If you've had breast cancer, talk with your healthcare professional about the small risks of vaginal estrogen therapy.
  • Ospemifene (Osphena). Taken by mouth, this selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) medicine treats painful intercourse linked to the thinning of vaginal tissue. This medicine isn't for people who have had breast cancer or who are at high risk of breast cancer.
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). This suppository is put into the vagina nightly. It eases painful intercourse after menopause.

Regular sex or vaginal stimulation, with or without a partner, also helps keep vaginal tissues healthy after menopause.

Content Last Updated: 14-May-2024
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