Vaginal dryness and sexual discomfort can affect women of any age. Vaginal dryness, itching, burning and pain during menopause are caused by a lack of estrogen in the vagina. This causes the lining of the vagina to become thinner, dryer, less lubricated and more fragile. Along with this, good bacteria in the vagina stop producing an acid that prevents harmful bacteria from entering the vagina, setting the stage for infection. As a result, the vagina then becomes more susceptible to vaginitis, which is inflammation of the vagina.
Used regularly, over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers can keep the vagina healthy by helping with dryness while also increasing the acidity of the vagina. Popular brands include Replens, Luvena, and KY Liquid Beads.
If over-the-counter remedies do not provide relief, you may be offered Vaginal Estrogen Therapy in form of a cream, pill or ring. This therapy works by increasing vaginal blood flow, increasing the thickness of the lining of the vagina, adding moisture and reversing the symptoms of dryness and burning.
Although there is no data linking the use of Vaginal Estrogen Therapy with a recurrence of breast cancer, women who have a history of breast cancer should consult with their oncologist prior to beginning this treatment.