The Unwelcomed Visitor - Vaginal Dryness

The Unwelcomed Visitor - Vaginal Dryness

Many women experience vaginal dryness. It is not uncommon and affects women of any age, yet women still find it difficult to talk about this personal and intimate issue. Vaginal dryness is often associated with anxiety, social issues, embarrassment, reduced quality of life and discomfort during intimacy.

Causes and Symptoms

The vagina is self-regulated to keep itself moist, clean and protected from infections, with normal vaginal secretions (vaginal discharge). Oestrogen is a naturally occurring hormone which enables vaginal lubrication. During hormonal changes, oestrogen levels vary and therefore cause vaginal dryness. The colour and thickness of vaginal discharge depends on hormonal changes and goes during the menstrual cycle, menopause and pregnancy.

Vaginal pH is slightly acidic to protect the vagina and destroy harmful bacteria. Various factors, namely infections, certain health conditions and medications (e.g. chemotherapy, contraceptives and antidepressants), and harsh products can affect vaginal discharge due to disruptions in vaginal pH.

Symptoms of vaginal dryness include itching, discomfort, frequent urge to urinate, burning and pain inside or around the vagina. Some women also experience pain and bleeding during intimacy.

When to See Your GP

  1. Change in the vulval skin or tissue (how it looks and feels).
  2. Unusual or foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
  3. When other over-the-counter products have failed.
  4. Unexplained vaginal bleeding or spotting.
  5. Pain, bloating or swelling in the pelvis or lower abdomen.
  6. If you feel particularly concerned about your symptoms or if your symptoms are affecting your typical day-to-day life.

Over the Counter Remedies

Over-the-counter remedies can easily be purchased from a pharmacy without a prescription.

Balance Activ Moisture Plus

  • Free from parabens & hormones.
  • Longer-term relief and fast-acting moisturiser.
  • To be applied inside the vagina.
  • Regular use is required for effective symptomatic relief.
  • Use before bed.

Canescool Intimate Care Soothing Cream Gel

  • It provides a soothing sensation and moisturises the sensitive intimate area.
  • Dermatologically tested.
  • Instantly cools and cares for your sensitive intimate area.
  • Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.
  • For external use only.

Vagisan Moisturising Cream

  • Nourishes and moisturises the vagina.
  • Hormone-free cream.
  • It can be applied to the vagina and external area before intimacy.

Vagisan Protective Ointment

  • Soothes irritated skin.
  • Protects the external vaginal area from chaffing and excessive moisture.
  • Prevents skin irritation, e.g. from sporting activities.
  • Mineral oil and silicone-free.

Vagisan Moisturising Cremolum Pessaries

  • Perssary to be inserted before bedtime.
  • Relieves the symptoms of dryness and irritation in the vagina.
  • For vaginal dryness.
  • Hormone-free.
  • Long-lasting effects.

Replens MD Vaginal Moisturiser

  • Regular use is required for effective symptomatic relief.
  • Longer-term relief.
  • For vaginal health and moisture.
  • Hormone-free.
  • Two weeks supply.
  • GP recommended brand.

Replens MD Vaginal Moisturiser

  • Regular use is required for effective symptomatic relief.
  • Longer-term relief.
  • For vaginal health and moisture.
  • Hormone-free.
  • Four weeks supply.
  • GP recommended brand.

Sylk

  • Sylk can be used with condoms, tampons, sex toys, pelvic toners and alongside HRT.
  • It is non-drying and not sticky; therefore, it is non-irritating
  • Free of perfumes, colours, hormones, chemicals and parabens.
  • A natural water-based lubricant which gently hydrates and soothes the vaginal region and makes intercourse more pleasurable and comfortable.
  • Water-based. Suitable to use with condoms and tampons.
  • Short-term relief.
  • For external use only.

Vagisil Daily Soothe and Protect Cream with Prebiotic Oatmeal

  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Gynecologically tested & vegan friendly.
  • Has an immediate cooling effect.
  • It helps soothe intimate itch and provides a protective barrier to help prevent irritation for up to 8 hours.
  • It is a gentle formula, even on sensitive skin.
  • 13 years and over.
  • Fragrance & Colourant-Free.

Vagisil Sensitive Intimate 0% Wash

  • 12 years and over.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Vegan friendly.
  • Clinically proven to cleanse sensitive and intimate skin gently.
  • No soaps, paraben, dyes, sulphates or added fragrance.
  • pH balanced.
  • Gynaecologist tested.
  • All day freshness without irritation.

Vagisil ProHydrate External Hydrating

  • Instantly relieves vaginal dryness, replenishing intimate skin.
  • Hormone-free.

Vagisil ProHydrate Internal Hydrating

  • Compatible with natural rubber latex and polyisoprene condoms.
  • Relieves vaginal dryness for more comfortable intimacy.
  • Adults and children over the age of 12+.
  • Hormone-free.

Note: Different products work for different women. Petroleum-based or oil-based lubricants can damage condoms, so extra care must be taken.

Hygiene Measures to Manage Vaginal Dryness

  1. Wearing loose, cotton underwear.
  2. After relieving oneself, wipe front to back to prevent nasty bacteria from contacting the vaginal area.
  3. Change underwear, tampons and sanitary towels regularly.
  4. Use unperfumed soaps and body washes rather than strongly fragranced ones, which often irritate.  
  5. Avoid synthetic materials.

Where can I get more information?

Healthtalk

Menopause Exchange

Menopause Matters

NHS Menopause

Women’s Health Concern

Please do not hesitate to contact our friendly healthcare team via email or telephone if you require further information or advice.