Vaginal dryness can affect any woman, however after the menopause it is very common, affecting over half of post-menopausal women aged between 51 and This article will help you to understand vaginal dryness, the symptoms, causes and treatment, and allow you to approach your GP with confidence. It will help you to understand that you are not alone in suffering from this common condition, and encourage you to take the first steps towards regaining your sexual confidence and quality of life. Natural lubrication produced by glands at the neck of the womb the cervix keeps the vagina supple and moist. The moisture moves slowly down through the vagina, keeping it clean and removing dead cells. The vaginal moisture is slightly acidic and this helps to keep the area healthy, preventing infections such as thrush.
Vaginal dryness occurs in women of all ages, but it becomes much more common after menopause. The North American Menopause Society and the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health refer to this combination of menopausal symptoms, which are brought on by a drop in the body's estrogen production, as genitourinary syndrome of menopause GSM. GSM can significantly reduce quality of life, similar to other chronic conditions. While other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, typically decline over time, vaginal dryness tends to linger because it results from physical changes in the vagina — specifically atrophy of tissues, which become thinner, drier, and less flexible because of estrogen loss. But half of women don't get these symptoms as they age.
What can you do when sex becomes painful because of a lack of moisture, and why does this happen? But what can you do when sex becomes painful because of a lack of moisture? Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission.