Wondering why you feel dry down there? Your medication may be the cause of vaginal dryness.
Breastfeeding and menopausal transitions are some of the common causes of vaginal dryness. Low level of estrogen is the major reason that results in thinning and inflammation of vaginal walls which eventually causes vaginal dryness. But sometimes, your medication may be the reason why you feel dry down there. You may be taking medicines to treat cold or having antidepressants. They may be helping you by treating health conditions, but the medications may cause vaginal dryness, which can affect sexual pleasure.
What is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness is a condition that happens when the tissues in the vagina get dry, thin and are not well moisturised. This dryness leads to soreness and itchiness in and around vagina, and also causes a lot of discomfort, especially during sex. It can happen at any age and is most common in women during or after menopause when estrogen levels start declining, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Apurva Gupta. Low levels of estrogen can cause thinning and inflammation of vaginal walls which results in vaginal dryness.
Which medications cause vaginal dryness?
Diabetes, removal of ovaries and use of scented products around the private area are some of the general causes of vaginal dryness. Chemotherapy may also cause vaginal dryness, as it may lead to decrease in estrogen production. Medications may also be responsible for causing dryness down there. Here are some of them:
These medications are used for treating allergies. They can reduce vaginal lubrication due to their drying effect on mucous membranes.
Some antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may contribute to vaginal dryness as a side effect. As per a 2019 study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, between 50 percent and 70 percent of people taking SSRIs experience some form of sexual dysfunction. They may experience low libido and vaginal dryness.
3. Hormonal contraceptives
Certain birth control methods such as oral contraceptives or hormonal IUDs, might cause vaginal dryness by altering hormone levels. Birth control pills cause fluctuations in hormones and imbalance in estrogen/progesterone ratio causing vaginal dryness. Birth control shots suppress female hormones which reduces vaginal fluids and causes dryness, shares Dr Gupta.
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Medications used to treat mental health conditions, like schizophrenia, may lead to reduced vaginal lubrication as a side effect.
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Over-the-counter decongestants are commonly used for colds. They can have a drying effect on mucous membranes, including those in the vaginal area.
Water pills, often prescribed for hypertension, can cause dehydration. This can potentially lead to vaginal dryness as a consequence.
They indirectly contribute to vaginal dryness by disturbing the balance of bacteria present in vagina, says the expert. This may lead to a yeast infection, which can make you feel dry down there.
How to diagnose and treat vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness can be diagnosed by a pelvic examination and or blood test to determine if any change in hormonal levels of health condition is causing vaginal dryness. There are vaginal lubricants and moisturisers available. Vaginal estrogen cream, tablet, capsule and oral medications are available for which you will have to consult with a doctor before using them to treat vaginal dryness. As for the medications causing vaginal dryness, your doctor will review them. They the doctor may tell you to change the dose or the medicine you are taking.
Also, stay well hydrated, as it helps the body in retaining moisture and preventing vaginal dryness.