About 17% of women ages 18-50 experience vaginal dryness. After menopause, that number jumps to over 50%. Although vaginal dryness is a common issue, it's one that you shouldn’t have to deal with alone.
Vaginal dryness is uncomfortable, and some women also experience vaginal itching or pain with sexual intercourse. Hormonal changes during and after menopause are the most common cause of vaginal dryness, but they’re far from the only one.
Other possible reasons for vaginal dryness include pregnancy, breastfeeding, other hormonal changes, and even the products you use in daily life.
As a leading gynecologist in Cranston, Providence, and Smithfield, Rhode Island, A. Michael Coppa, MD, can help you determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that fits your needs.
Read on to explore some of the most common products that cause vaginal dryness and what you can do to relieve your symptoms.
Products that could be causing vaginal dryness
A healthy vagina naturally lubricates itself, keeping the skin thick and elastic. But a range of issues can interfere with your body’s ability to maintain vaginal moisture, and that includes certain products, like:
Douches and feminine hygiene sprays
Douching and using feminine hygiene sprays can strip your vagina of its natural moisture, alter its pH balance and make it more prone to dryness and infections. Plus, these products often contain fragrances and other ingredients that can further irritate the delicate skin of your vaginal area.
Spermicides are chemicals that are added to some types of birth control methods and lubricants to prevent pregnancy. But they tend to be harsher than products that don’t contain spermicides, which can lead to vaginal dryness and irritation.
You may experience vaginal dryness and itching from certain laundry detergents that contain dyes, fragrances, or other irritants. This is particularly common for women with sensitive skin or allergies.
Soaps and body washes
Like laundry detergents, soaps and body washes that contain fragrances, dyes, and other irritants can cause skin irritation and vaginal dryness. If you use these products to wash your vagina, they can also alter your pH balance and increase your risk of dryness and infections.
Antibacterial products and products that contain alcohol, such as aftershaves or wipes, can also contain harsh chemicals that irritate your vaginal area.
Certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, can cause vaginal dryness as a side effect. If you're taking medications and are experiencing dryness, ask your health care provider about alternative treatments or ways to mitigate side effects.
What to do about vaginal dryness
If you have vaginal dryness, burning, itching, or pain with sex, don’t ignore your symptoms. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Coppa and our team to get answers and find the relief you deserve.
We start by reviewing your symptoms and your medical history. Most cases of vaginal dryness are linked to natural aging, hormonal changes, and other medical conditions.
If you’re bothered by hormone-related dryness, you may be a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy. If your vaginal dryness is linked to the products you use, changing your habits can improve your symptoms.
Avoid using douches, feminine hygiene sprays, and scented soaps. Instead, opt for plain water and a mild, unscented soap to clean your vaginal area. Choose lubricants that are water-based and free of spermicides, dyes, and fragrances. Use fragrance-free and dye-free laundry detergents and soaps.
Remember that taking care of your vaginal health is important for your overall well-being. Never hesitate to reach out to Dr. Coppa and our team if you’re experiencing any issues. To learn more, schedule an appointment online or call the office nearest you.