Medically reviewed by
Dr. Monica Ploetzke
McLeod Women’s Care Clarendon
Women and their partners are often faced with vaginal dryness after a hysterectomy or menopause.
“In both hysterectomy and menopause, a woman loses estrogen, causing the lining of her vagina to thin and lose elasticity,” says McLeod OB/GYN Dr. Monica Ploetzke. “The situation is called vaginal atrophy and can make intimacy uncomfortable, even painful. A number of products help tissues regain their moisture and lubrication during intimacy.”
MOISTURIZERS are used regularly to reduce the effects and symptoms of atrophy, enabling a woman to pursue a normal life.
LUBRICANTS are used just before or during intimate activities. Water-based or silicone-based lubricants are best. Petroleum or oil-based lubricants (including popular coconut oil) can weaken the latex in condoms or diaphragms. Don’t use Vaseline, as it can actually make the pain worse. Popular water-based lubricants include Astroglide, K-Y Personal Lubricant and Liquid Silk. Silicone-based lubricants last longer and require smaller amounts than water-based lubricants. Two of the most common are Eros and ID Millennium.
These and other products can be found where health products are sold. And, as indicated with moisturizers, your personal OB/GYN may have other suggestions.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
In addition to hysterectomy and menopause, loss of estrogen and vaginal atrophy can occur in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation or the breast cancer preventive drug, Tamoxifen. If you feel dryness and irritation, talk with your OB/GYN for a full diagnosis, guidance and treatment.
Find an OB/GYN near you.