What Causes Vaginal Dryness?

Millions of us experience it, but we’re not always necessarily the most eager to discuss it. Yep, we’re talking vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness during sex can be frustrating, to say the least, but the good news is there’s a lot you can do to help find relief.

So, what is vaginal dryness, what causes it, and what can you do about it? Here at Ann Summers, we’re answering all your questions.

What Are Vaginal Dryness Symptoms?

The main symptom of vaginal dryness is, well, dryness ‘down there’. However, there are a few further symptoms you may experience which can be caused by vaginal dryness. These include feeling sore, experiencing pain during sex, needing to go to the loo more often than usual, or having repeated UTIs (urinary tract infections).

What Causes Vaginal Dryness?

From the ones you probably know about to the ones you maybe don’t, there are so many reasons vaginal dryness can occur. Menopause, medications, childbirth, stress… sometimes, something as simple as a lack of foreplay can cause vaginal dryness.

As with lots of body issues, problems with vaginal dryness usually come down to hormones. Estrogen is the hormone tasked with creating vaginal fluid – simply put, it helps keep everything lubricated and healthy. If you experience a loss of estrogen, this decrease means your vagina will naturally produce less moisture.

Loss of estrogen is most commonly associated with ladies entering menopause but can also occur for several different reasons, including childbirth and breastfeeding, chemotherapy, certain medications, autoimmune disorders, and birth control tablets. As with any health issue, it’s important you talk to your doctor. They’ll be familiar with the condition and can offer you the best advice from a medical perspective.

As you can see from the reasons listed, vaginal dryness and its causes are all common. What you’re experiencing is totally normal and best of all, there are loads of things both you and your partner can do to help the problem and ensure your fun in the bedroom isn’t affected.

Does Vaginal Dryness Go Away?

Sometimes vaginal dryness is temporary. It all depends on why you’re experiencing it. Vaginal dryness can be brought on by stress, using highly fragranced bath and body products, or even a hangover! Yep, as if hangovers couldn’t get any worse, the dehydration and decreased sensitivity in your nerve endings can affect the mind-body connection and contribute to vaginal dryness. If you feel yours is caused by any of these reasons, it should go away once you’ve tackled the other issues at hand.

However, vaginal dryness can also be more of a long-term condition, for example, if it’s caused by ongoing illness or following menopause. Again, your doctor should be able to provide help with specific conditions.

How to Treat Vaginal Dryness

If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness and it’s affecting your sex life, we’re sure you’re wondering what to do. Here are some simple changes you can make to decrease vaginal dryness.

Slow things down

If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness when it comes to fun activities in the bedroom, slow down and heat things up. Don’t rush straight into sex, but instead really take your time to make sure you’re naturally as relaxed and aroused as possible. This means foreplay, foreplay, foreplay! Talk to your partner about what you like and be sure you’re taking the time to get turned on. After all, you can never have too much foreplay.

Lube things up

Another thing you can never have too much of – lube. If you know us, you’ll know how much we love and advocate for lube. Lube is FANTASTIC and should be a must in everyone's bedside drawer. Particularly if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, this godsend-in-a-bottle will improve sensations, increase comfort, and generally just make everything feel 100 times better.

There are so many different types of lube to choose from, including water-based and silicone-based, depending on your preferences and whether you’re using condoms. Our How To Use Lube guide tells you all you need to know.

Assess any medications

Vaginal dryness can be caused or exacerbated by a number of different medications, from allergy tablets and cold meds through to birth control. If you’re concerned this is the case with you, have a chat with your doctor about any alternatives that may improve the issue.

Keep hydrated

Bad skin? Drink water! Feeling tired? Drink water! Vaginal dryness? Water!

If you’re feeling dehydrated, believe it or not, your vagina might be too, so ensure you’re sticking to the recommended daily water intake to give things down there a helping hand. Even if an extra glass of water a day doesn’t eliminate the issue, there are so many additional health benefits to drinking water that your body will definitely thank you.

Assess your beauty routine

Many overly scented soaps, bubble baths, lotions, treatments, or even heavily fragranced washing power can make issues around vaginal dryness worse. If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness after trying a new product, stop using it for a few days to see if things improve.

Generally speaking, you should always be careful with the products you use around intimate areas. Your vagina is home to natural bacteria that is vital for keeping things healthy. Aggressive soaps, cleanses and douches should definitely be avoided.

See your doctor if symptoms persist

While the above tips can help to reduce vaginal dryness, if you find symptoms are persisting or getting worse, it’s time to check in with your doctor. They’re the experts and have encountered this issue countless times, so are best placed to help you find a long-term treatment.

You should never suffer in silence – chatting things through with your GP will give you the help you need to ensure your sexual wellbeing is taken care of. After all, you deserve a sex life that brings you pleasure, every time.