Darlene, a 33 year-old aspiring politician, cornered me at a recent women’s event to tell me that for the past year she had been experiencing vaginal dryness and thought she might be too young for this condition. She was in a new relationship and she and her new "Latin lover" were getting concerned as sex was becoming increasingly painful. How lucky was she to have found a Latin lover, but how unfortunate to be experiencing painful sex. Ouch! Life is not fair.
She had visited my blog on a number of occasions and was confident that I could help her.
Getting to the Source
I explained to Darlene that a woman may experience vaginal dryness as early as age thirty-one.
My initial question was to inquire about her form of birth control as this could be a cause of vaginal dryness, especially in younger women. Taking this into consideration, the sudden onset of her vaginal symptoms surprised her since she had been on the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) for the past ten years!
Another factor that may contribute to vaginal dryness for women is stress. Darlene said that for the past two years she had been hard at it... working hard, often putting in 16 hour days. She did have a traumatic breakup with a previous lover but was quite happy with her new beau! All of this may impact a woman’s hormones which may potentially lead to vaginal dryness. Estrogen is the hormone regulator of the vagina and is what keeps it lubricated and free from infection.
Getting Appropriate Treatment
Since Darlene's only symptom was vaginal dryness, I thought she might benefit from any one of the following over-the-counter (do not require a prescription) personal moisturizers that my patients have had success with:
- RepaGyn® (an ovule that contains hyaluronic acid for healing and moisturization, and tea tree oil for a fresh scent)
- Gynatrof® (a gel that contains hyaluronic acid for healing and moisturization)
- DrUAqua (a cream that contains tea tree oil for a fresh scent)
My passion is to empower women when it comes to their health and relationships! To that end, I put together a "personal moisturizer kit" (I sometimes call it a pleasure pack) for Darlene that consisted of samples of each of the options I routinely suggest to women for their vaginal dryness and painful sex (listed above). I suggested that she try each of them to see which mode of delivery she preferred (ovule, cream, or gel). On a follow-up, Darlene said she had decided upon Repagyn. She knew sex is to be enjoyed! In my clinical experience, all of the products I mentioned above work well for managing vaginal dryness. It is up to the patient to determine which mode of delivery she prefers.
Education is Key
This was also an opportunity for me to discuss a common women’s health condition that affects 70% of peri-menopausal (years leading up to menopause) and post menopausal women: Vaginal Atrophy. Darlene was about to get some education in case she encountered these symptoms that may occur as early as age thirty-seven in some women. I explained to Darlene that if her symptoms progressed to Vaginal Atrophy, then she would need to speak to her doctor. These symptoms could include:
- Post-coital bleeding
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Thin watery discharge
Treatment for vaginal atrophy requires low dose localized estrogen in the form of a tablet, cream or ring. This form of treatment is by prescription only.
I was delighted to know that my writing and work has a positively effect on women at any stage of their life... and Darlene was delighted to get back to the bedroom with her Latin Lover! Ooh la la!