Do You Know Vaginal Dryness and Infections Causes and Symptoms

 By: Dr Andrew Napier
Vaginal dryness occurs when there is a lack of lubrication in the vagina. The dryness causes pain during sexual lovemaking and other discomforts. This is a common condition in women and can affect any woman. During menopause especially, vaginal dryness is a common occurrence. Vaginal lubrication usually consists of fluid that comes through the walls of the blood vessels around the vagina. Blood flows to the pelvic organs when one is sexually aroused and this creates lubrication.

Vaginal dryness symptoms may be in the form of dryness, burning sensation, itching, irritation, soreness and pain during sexual lovemaking. Many factors can be responsible for this condition like:

1. Hormones: Low levels of estrogen hormone in the body can cause lack of lubrication in the vagina. This commonly occurs during menopause.

2. Douching: Cleansing the vagina disturbs the balance present in the vagina and causes inflammation which can cause dryness.

3. Vaginal bacterial infection: Bacterial infection in vagina too can cause this condition.

4. Medications: Certain medications used in treatments of cancer, ulcer and allergies can cause dryness.

5. Sexually transmitted diseases: Sexually transmitted diseases can be responsible for this condition also.

6. Tumor: Tumors which are cancerous or non cancerous can result in conditions of vaginal dryness.

7. Immune disorders.

8. Breast feeding.

The doctor may perform a pelvic examination, pap test or urine test to diagnose the vaginal dryness condition. For the treatment of this, topical estrogen are effective than oral estrogen. Vaginal estrogen therapy may be in forms of vaginal estrogen cream which can be inserted into the vagina, vaginal ring which is inserted into the vagina by the doctor or vaginal tablet which is placed inside the vagina. Other kinds of treatments available are patches, estrogen pills or gels depending on the cause.

Vaginal infections are also known as vaginitis which is an inflammation of the vagina that results in itching, discharge and irritation. When the natural balance of the environment in the vagina is disturbed due to various factors, infection occurs. Some of the infections are transmitted sexually or due to hormonal changes. The kinds of vaginal infections are bacterial vaginosis, vaginal yeast infection and trichomoniasis.

Some of the symptoms of vaginal infections are itching, burning, discharge, foul odor and pain. Bacterial vaginosis can cause discharge to be white with unpleasant odor. Yeast infection can cause thick white discharge with itching. Trichomoniasis results in a frothy discharge which causes irritation and itching. The cause of these infections depends on the type of infection one has.

Bacterial vaginosis is due to the overgrowth of the microorganisms in the vagina. If the bad bacteria outgrow the good bacteria, it disrupts the balance and causes an infection. Yeast infections occur when the overgrowth of fungal organisms take places. Yeast infections can result from hormonal changes, anti biotic or uncontrolled diabetes. Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a trichomonas vaginalis parasite. Other causes of vaginal infection can be the perfumed products used near the vagina, allergic reactions and spermicidal products.

The treatment for bacterial vaginosis may be metronidazole tablets, gel for application or cream. Yeast infections are treated with anti fungal cream, suppository or medications. Trichomoniasis may be treated with metronidazole or tinidazole tablets. Vaginal atrophy can be cured with estrogen creams, rings and tablets. For treating noninfectious vaginitis, avoid usage of perfumed products, soaps and new laundry detergents. To prevent vaginal infections, avoid douching, avoid irritants, avoid hot baths and wear cotton underwear.
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