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Vaginal Dryness

Overview

You may have vaginal dryness around the time of menopause. Or if your ovaries were removed during a hysterectomy (oophorectomy), you may have vaginal dryness from low estrogen levels.

If sex is painful because of vaginal dryness, there are steps you can take to make it more comfortable.

  • Use a vaginal lubricant.

    Try using K-Y Jelly, Astroglide, or a polyunsaturated vegetable oil that doesn't contain preservatives. If you use condoms, use a water-based lubricant. Don't use an oil-based lubricant. Oil can weaken the condom so that it breaks. Avoid petroleum jelly (for example, Vaseline) as a lubricant. It increases the risk of vaginal irritation and infection.

  • Use a vaginal moisturizer.

    Moisturizers such as Replens or Lubrin can be used on a regular basis.

  • Use a low-dose vaginal estrogen cream, ring, or tablet.

    These can reverse vaginal dryness and irritation. The estrogen affects only the vaginal area.

Talk with your doctor if you have any problems during intercourse after a hysterectomy. If you have other symptoms of menopause, talk to your doctor about systemic estrogen therapy (ET) and other treatment options.

Credits

Current as of: November 22, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Carla J. Herman MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine