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You never miss the water til the well runs dry. You might not have even noticed the water. Women and other people with vaginas often grow up wary, and even ashamed, of their “private parts.”
Even if you secretly — or with your partner — celebrated your “juiciness,” you probably weren’t tempted to rap about or champion your WAP, like rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B do.
So when the well dries up, you probably don’t feel like shouting out that news, either. In fact, you may not even mention it to your gynecologist.
At Elite Gynecology, our expert gynecologists, Molly McBride, MD, and Tamara Guichard, MD, want you to feel comfortable about and celebrate your vagina. That includes paying attention to the signals it sends you, even the ones you don’t like.
If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, you deserve a remedy that restores your vagina’s strength, vitality, and lubrication. Ignoring vaginal dryness could create complications and put you at risk for infections.
The most common reason for vaginal dryness — also called atrophic vaginitis (AV) — is the drop in the hormone estrogen that occurs when you approach or are in menopause. Up to 40% of postmenopausal women have the symptoms of AV.
You may also experience AV during pregnancy or breastfeeding, when estrogen is low. Whenever your body doesn’t produce enough estrogen, your vaginal tissues become drier, thinner, more fragile, and less elastic.
Other causes of AV include:
In addition to dryness, your vagina atrophies (i.e., gets smaller). It may fade in color to a dull pink or grow red and inflamed from irritation. Feminine products, douches, and lotions may cause or exacerbate AV.
When your vagina is young and healthy, its walls are thick. Thick vaginal walls, stimulated by estrogen, naturally produce lubrication that keeps your vagina clean and moist.
A healthy, lubricated vagina is also extremely elastic, which is why it can expand for sexual intercourse and childbirth. Without lubrication, though, your vagina becomes stiffer and more fragile. You could develop cracks or sores in your vagina and even bleed from the damage.
Thin, fragile tissue can’t produce a strong defense barrier against infectious agents that enter your vagina. Your vaginal pH also changes, making you more vulnerable to infections such as:
Without treatment, AV affects your urinary tract, too. You may experience pain or a burning sensation when you urinate.
A thick vaginal wall and plenty of lubrication allows you to enjoy sexual intercourse. When you have AV, the lack of lubrication creates friction during intercourse that can be extremely painful and even damaging.
You may even find it difficult or impossible to climax because your clitoris atrophies, too. Some women bleed after sex or feel sore for hours or days afterward.
When sex hurts, you probably don’t want to engage in it. Your partner may feel rejected or frustrated. You may, too.
One bright point in all of this darkness is that sex and masturbation actually improve AV. As long as you get the treatments you need so that sex feels pleasurable again, the stimulation and activity helps your vagina and genital tissues rebuild themselves.
As with may symptoms of menopause or hormonal imbalances, AV can be treated with hormonal therapy, such as oral or topical estrogen. You may also benefit from lubricants and moisturizing creams. We also offer laser vaginal therapy that helps restore your vaginal walls and the lubrication they produce.
While you don’t need to create a rap song about your AV, you do need to tell us about it so we can help. If your vagina is dry or if sex hurts, contact our team at the office nearest you — in Murray Hill (Midtown East) in Manhattan, New York City, or in Forest Hills, New York. You can phone us or click the button to request an appointment.