Menopause – Vaginal Soreness, Dryness and Irritation – Causes and treatments/ solutions

vaginal dryness, vaginal moistureVaginal dryness, irritation, redness and soreness are common symptoms of menopause which affect different women to varying degrees.
During and after menopause, estrogen levels continue to fall gradually until they stabilize at a new lower level. This means that vaginal dryness is usually not experienced until several years after menopause. The vaginal tissue depends on estrogen to keep them moist and healthy.

What happens when there’s no estrogen?

  • the vaginal lining (mucosa) becomes thin and easily injured leading to soreness and burning
  • the mucus glands which help with lubrication decrease in number leading to slow and poor lubrication when you are sexually excited leading to vaginal dryness
  • there is reduction in vaginal blood supply and the vagina shrinks (this is called vaginal atrophy). This causes small wounds which occur during intercourse to heal very slowly because of poor supply of nutrients from the blood leading to vaginal soreness during and after intercourse
  • the vagina becomes less acidic so you become more prone to bacterial and yeast infections
  • the vulva (the area surrounding the entrance to the vagina) is usually involved in these changes and may become thin, dry and cracked. There may also be redness and irritation.

vaginal dryness, sexual problems, sexual frustrationThe result – having sex becomes a nightmare! Your partner may not understand what you’re going through unless you tell him. It will cause less of a strain on your relationship if you explain that that your reluctance to have intercourse is not his fault but because of the vaginal dryness you’re having. So, does this mean you have to give up intercourse? Definitely not! There are various strategies you can use to improve vaginal moisture and lubrication and reduce the discomfort of intercourse.

How to improve vaginal moisture and lubrication

“Use it or lose it!”

– As with many other things in life this also applies to your vagina. Having vaginal intercourse once or twice a week will help your vagina stay moist and healthy and reduce the symptoms of vaginal atrophy. You will also lubricate faster when you’re aroused.
Emerita Phytoestrogen Body Cream with Black Cohosh, 2-Ounce Tube

Use a bioidentical, natural estrogen cream

This has a direct effect on the tissues of the vulva and vagina and restores moisture over several weeks. It may take up to 4 weeks for you to notice any improvement in vaginal moisture. If you are applying a bioidentical progesterone cream or progesterone/estrogen combination cream to your skin, you may also notice an improvement in vaginal symptoms.

17 Comments

  1. can you insert omega 3,6 and 9 capusule into your vagina ? will that help vaginal dryness ?

  2. I feel so fortunate to have found this site and to read comments. I am now 56 years old. I had hysterectomy at 40 but was “allowed” to keep one ovary as doctor objected stating I would need to have that one ovary taken out within a 2 year time frame. Never happened and changed doctors. It seemed out of a sudden that I started having difficulties with incontinence, that led to vaginal itching, dryness. OMG! I was at a point that I was afraid to go to doctor! I tried prescription medication for incontinence that made things worse, did not stop the problem, and overall caused some discoloration in the perianal area!!! Not having a living female relative to discuss menopause with I turned to my doctor. Before I went to doctor I decided I needed to look in mirror and see if I saw any abnormal things…. LOL! I did not have a clue what I would see… However, the itching, the dryness, the incontinence was worried me and the fact that my brother had diagnosis of MS. Discoloration of skin almost drove me over the edge. Then I realized the ointment recommended to stop itching and oils were not the best things to use. I am now trying the combination of Vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil vaginally. I have essential oils of Lavender, Geranium, Rose, Chamomile that I will be infusing in the Sweet Almond Oil to switch off/on with Vitamin E as topical and pray that the dryness, itchy yucky feeling helps the irritation, itching, burning. THANKS TO EACH ONE WHO HAS COME BEFORE ME WITH THEIR COMMENTS!!!! The article and the words of wisdom helped to motivate me to be proactive. I am not a big fan of HRT these suggestions, descriptions of what was experienced, and other tips have been very helpful. I do think I will get a bit of the suggested oils to experiment with as nothing could be worse than what I have tried already! Again a big hug and thanks to each of you….

  3. ok so im only 27 i had a Hysterectomy 7 years ago right after i had my little boy due to cancer they took everything out . im starting to lose my sex drive and when we do the deed im dry all the time so my husband got some ky now im not so dry when we use it but now im starting to have really bad pain in my belly and lady area . is there anyone that may be able to help me out

  4. I am currently in chemo for breast cancer.stage 1.lymph nodes clear.but 100% positive for Hertu..which basically means I caught it very very early (self examine ladies!!!) but it was a very aggressive estrogen based cancer..the chemo is forcing me through a rapid menopause..and while I was prepared for the nausea and discomfort of the drugs..no one told me about the symptoms of menopause I would feel at the same time..sex..with a man who adores me..has become very painful..now I learn that the dryness and bruising is very normal as my estrogen/ovaries are being nuked!! So! I cannot take estrogen creams..have been told NO antioxidant supplements as the chemo process uses the oxident process to kill the cancer cells..so my question is..sorry for the ignorance..is E not a viable solution for me..i need something to help build back moisture so I di not bruise so readily.my advice from what this journey has taught me…check your Tatas monthly!!! Please!! And Therese GET OUT! Of that relationship. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 25!!! Years thinking it was the best I could do!! There is life after you leave..the first step is the hardest..but love yourself enough to go. I am sure that marriage created my cancer!!

    • I hope that all goes well for you and i am glad you got out of that nasty relationship. You deserve a lot better.

  5. I recently have had major issues, hot flashes, night sweats, memory loss and others but I wasn’t aware of the vaginal issue. I’ve been to my doctor 2 times to be tested for infection, but it came back negative. I haven’t had intercourse in almost 2 weeks and one minute I’m fine and the next minute I’ll experience a pain, vaginally, that last for some time. It seems to get better when I drink a lot of water. What can I do to make this stop? It is really related to menopause?

    • Pappy – I’m right there with ya. Over a the short period of 1 or 2 weeks, I went from fine to OW!!! what the hell is going on?!?!? Gee thanks body!!! So here I am looking for help and answers. I don’t want to do Estrogen, I just want this to stop. 🙁 only other symptoms I’m having are mild “too warm” flashes. I was soooo excited the Aunt Flow didn’t come to visit anymore and in less than 2 months I get THIS 🙁 Sheesh!!!

  6. I use Super Critical Omega 7. It supports the mucous membrane of the vaginal. It really lubricates the vaginal walls. I take 2 to 3 softgels daily. I space them out 1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon and one in the evening. I also take fish oil and ultimate Flora Vaginal Support, it supports vaginal and urinary health.

  7. Thanks for the great resource. May I only add a few natural treatments I saw on the internet: natural progesterone cream, soy, vitamin E and herbs like black cohosh, dong quai and promensil seem to ease the menopause symptoms.
    resource- natural menopause treatment

  8. My comment is for Teresa – why on earth would you even think of having sex with a man who ‘doesn’t care if I hurt or bleed or have any problems in fact the discomfort turns him on more’?

    Any man who gets turned on by his partner’s pain or bleeding is a sadist, IMO, and should be avoided like the plague. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable for both parties, not something that women endure while their husbands enjoy themselves. It’s one thing having sex and feeling a bit of discomfort due to age or whatever, it’s something else to have a husband who doesn’t care or – even worse – enjoys causing his wife pain.

    For goodness sake, tell him you’ll have sex when you find a way to do so without pain or bleeding AND only if you feel like it. If he’s not happy, then tell him to take a hike. You only get one life and you don’t need to spend it pandering to the wishes of an insensitive oaf. (I wish I had your husband here with me for half an hour – not for sex, you understand, but for a few plain home truths.)

  9. My husband doesn’t care if I hurt or bleed or have any problems in fact the discomfort turns him on more. He also hates lubricants and I can attest that they give less friction and he takes even longer causing even more pain. I am 50 on birth control and my doctor wont give me estrogen cream as I am on the pill and don’t need. I am now getting cracked nipples and all of my skin tears, cut and bruises all of the time

    • You do not have to put up with a brute of a man like that, I know how painful it is and he needs to be shown the door!

    • I totally agree with you. My now ex said he was going to take the rise out of me during the change as much as he could. He is now in the past by over a decade and he missed his chance by over a decade. Those types are totally ignorant and we are not here for their personal amusement. No one should tolerate such a person.

  10. thank you for the info.I just started using vitamin e capules.burns a little.Im also on bioidenical estridiol cream,this burns more, but is helping with atrophy and moisture.I have also been using extra virgin coconut oil, this helps alot! been using this for a week now.Im hoping it wont cause a bactreial infection, because it really soothes my dry irritation.

  11. I do not like to take any prescription medication but I was so distressed post-menopause that I decided to try vagifem tabs. The loss of estrogen and the uncomfortable symptoms made me feel less than human!

    The vagifem tabs worked and you don’t have to use them every day.

    A vitamin E supplement every day has brought further improvement.

  12. Hi Christy. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Sorry for taking so long to reply. I`m so thrilled that I`ve been able to help. Take care and thanks again.

  13. christy blackburn

    Thanks for the info. Its more than I have gotten from 3 doctors. After being on prempro for 5 years, 5 months ago, I went to the lowest dose. I have had nothing but problems for the last 2 months. Frequent urination, with neg. urine test for uti. I have been using progest for 3 weeks, I wasnt aware that I could use that on the vulva area. It is very irritated and burns when I urinate. Thanks again.

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