Experts say that vaginal dryness is a common condition that typically causes soreness and itching around your vagina, pain or discomfort during sex, frequent urination, and possible recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs). Research suggests that vaginal dryness can occur at any age, but you're more likely to experience it once you go into menopause.[1] Fortunately, you may be able to relieve your vaginal dryness using home treatments or prescriptions from your doctor. Talk to your doctor to make sure you're using the right treatment for your needs.

Using Creams and LubricantsDownload Article

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    Try lubricants. If your vaginal dryness is a problem during intercourse, using lubricants can help temporarily alleviate the problem.[2]
    • Lubricants can be purchased online, in pharmacies, and can also be bought at sex shops. Lubricated condoms can also be purchased to alleviate vaginal dryness during intercourse.
    • Lubricants should be applied directly to the vagina shortly before intercourse. Lubricants only temporary relief, so if you're looking for a long term cure you might want to look elsewhere.
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    Try a vaginal moisturizer. Vaginal moisturizers are topical creams applied directly to the vagina. Most non-hormonal vaginal creams can be purchased over the counter.[3]
    • Vaginal creams can be found at the supermarket or drug stores. Replens, Luvena, K-Y Silk-E Vaginal Moisturizer and KY Liquibeads Vaginal Moisturizer are examples of over the counter vaginal creams.
    • Talk to your gynecologist before using any new products. While most are safe for use, some may increase the risk of infection and adverse reactions, such as rashes or sores.
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    Use estrogen creams. Estrogen creams are topical ointments applied directly to the vagina that contain a low dose of the hormone estrogen. You must have a prescription to obtain estrogen cream.
    • Usually around bedtime, estrogen cream is inserted directly into the vagina with an applicator or a clean finger. Depending on your medical history, your doctor will tell you how often to use estrogen cream and in what amount.

Seeking Medical TreatmentDownload Article

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    Make an appointment with your gynecologist. Vaginal dryness has a number of causes. If your vaginal dryness came on suddenly, you should see your gynecologist to rule out medical causes.[4]
    • Usually, the cause of vaginal dryness is benign. Menopause, childbirth, and breastfeeding can all alter hormonal levels and cause dryness. However, occasionally vaginal dryness is caused by more serious problems like certain cancers and immune disorders. This is why it's important to see a doctor quickly if you notice any changes as for these types of diseases early intervention is important.
    • Sjogren's Syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which your body's immune system attacks healthy tissues. In can lead to vaginal dryness, in addition to other symptoms like dry eyes and a dry mouth. Your doctor can perform a blood test to see if you have Sjogren's Syndrome.
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    Ask about Hormone Replacement Therapy. If you're entering menopause, hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) can ease many symptoms including vaginal dryness.[5]
    • Not only can hormone replacement therapy improve vaginal dryness, it can help with other symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. Usually, you would wear a patch or take oral tablets of low doses of estrogen and other hormones that your body produces less of as you enter menopause.
    • Hormone replace therapy does carry some risks. Oral combined hormone pills that contain estrogen and progesterone have shown to increase the risk of breast cancer, heart attack, and stroke. Talk to your doctor about these risk factors and how they might apply to you.
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    Try an estrogen ring. An estrogen ring is a form of hormone replacement therapy that many women find easier to use than pills.[6]
    • Your gynecologist inserts a small, flexible ring into the upper part of your vagina. The ring will release doses of estrogen on a regular schedule. It will need to be replaced every three months.
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    Consider your existing medications. Oftentimes, vaginal dryness is a side effect of existing medication. Decongestants especially, found in many cold or allergy medications, can lead to vaginal dryness. If you believe your dryness is caused by your medications, talk to your doctor about alternative meds.[7]

Trying Natural TreatmentsDownload Article

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    Use drug-free treatments. If you're interested in less drug-heavy treatment options, there are a variety of homeopathic options that are successful for some women.[8]
    • Soybeans contain a substance called isoflavones that has an effect on the body that's similar to estrogen. A soybean rich diet might help reduce vaginal dryness.
    • Black cohosh is an herb many women use as a dietary supplement and it may help with vaginal dryness. However, every major study has not found any benefit with use. Some women experience side effects like joint pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. You should not use black cohosh if you have liver damage or a hormone-sensitive condition like certain cancers or fibroid tumors. You should also not take black cohosh if you're pregnant. Talk to your health care provider before you begin any herbal treatments to make sure the herbs are safe for you.
    • Some women use creams containing wild yam as a supplement, but no evidence exists that such creams are helpful and they may be damaging to the vagina.
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    Do not douche. Cleansing your vagina with a liquid preparation, store bought or homemade, disrupts the balance of chemicals in your vagina and can lead to dryness and possibly infections. Do not douche as the vagina has self-cleaning mechanisms and does not need additional washing.[9]
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    Allow foreplay during sex. Foreplay is any activity, like massaging, cuddling, kissing, oral sex, and other forms of erotic play, that occurs prior to sexual intercourse. Increasing the amount of time you and your partner engage in foreplay can increase arousal and therefore limit vaginal dryness. Talk to your partner about any issues you've been having with vaginal dryness and ask him or her to allow for more foreplay during intercourse. This may help lessen the problem.[10]
    • In general, having an active sex life in general can help you stay lubricated and avoid vaginal dryness. Talk to your partner about the importance of regular sexual activity as it applies to both the physical and emotional aspects of your relationship.
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    Try masturbation. Regular masturbation, especially for older women, can have a variety of health benefits including reducing vaginal dryness.[11]
    • Female masturbation comes in a variety of forms and techniques, but the stimulation of the clitoris, urethra, and vagina can result in increased lubrication. If you're experiencing hormonal or other changes that lead to vaginal dryness, regular masturbation can help.