You don’t have to live with the itching, burning, and other uncomfortable symptoms associated with vaginal dryness. Cheryl Razdan, MD, is a board-certified gynecologist who is well-known for her expertise in providing effective treatment for women’s healthcare issues, including vaginal dryness. This talented and caring specialist will take time to discover the underlying cause of your symptoms and develop a customized treatment strategy designed to help restore your intimate health. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Razdan today at her OB/GYN practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Call the office or book your visit online.
Vaginal dryness is a fairly common problem for many women. The most common cause is from a lack of estrogen. Sometimes a skin condition can occur that is not caused by loss of estrogen. Some women have dryness that is a problem only with sexual activity, while other women notice the dryness during usual daily activities like walking or exercise.
When estrogen is low such as in menopause, during lactation/breastfeeding, or from medical treatment for problems such as breast cancer, hysterectomy, or endometriosis, the vaginal lining (mucosa) changes. Without estrogen, the vaginal mucosa has less blood flow to nurture and support that tissue.
These tissue and cell changes would be visible by microscope if a biopsy were to be taken. Normally a biopsy is not needed (thank goodness!), and can be diagnosed based on history, a patients symptoms, and a pelvic exam.
Many women report itching, burning and/or pain with intercourse. The vaginal area becomes less elastic and is easily traumatized. Sometimes a personal lubricant is enough, but sometimes it is not enough to prevent pain with intercourse, itching, or burning. This collection of problems has a name: genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) and symptoms like vaginal dryness, itching, and burning that are caused by the hormonal changes. Treatment options may include a trial of lubricants, estrogen, estrogen-like medications( SERMS), or MonaLisa Touch®, which causes new collagen production and restores vaginal health to alleviate discomfort caused by hormonal changes.
An example of a skin condition that can occur in the vulvar area (not usually inside the vagina) is lichen sclerosus. Lichen sclerosus sometimes causes a sensation of dryness but usually progresses to itching or burning and often causes cracking or tearing which can be very painful.
The pain can occur when urine touches the cracked areas, during intercourse, and sometimes is triggered by straining or stretching the vulvar tissues. Sometimes a biopsy is needed before a treatment is recommended.
If lichen sclerosus is diagnosed, a strong steroid cream is often prescribed, but Mona Lisa Touch can also improve and in many cases resolve the symptoms. Repeat treatment will at some point be needed. Even when it is managed with steroids, it is often a long term condition that requires continues steroid use. Without treatment, and sometimes even with treatment, the tissue folds can scar together which can cause further problems.
The MonaLisa Touch is a treatment option for women who don’t want to undergo hormone replacement therapy, or who feel that topical steroids don’t provide adequate relief from lichen sclerosus but want relief from their symptoms.
In addition to these two conditions, there are other possible problems that can cause these symptoms. If you have these symptoms you should seek gynecologic evaluation so that treatment options can be discussed.