Recently, MiddlesexMD conducted a short survey in partnership with Prevaleaf, a maker of natural feminine care products, to find out a few things about vaginal dryness, how you feel about it, and who you talk to about it.
Pretty interesting stuff, ladies. Especially your comments.
To be sure, it was a small-ish sample size of just over 100 women. Most (85 percent) of respondents were over 40, and were usually readers of the Prevaleaf or MiddlesexMD newsletter (you can sign up at the bottom of this page). So, this wasn’t exactly a rigorous and unbiased scientific study, but it was revealing nonetheless.
In fact, due to your many comments and the survey questions, we have a lot to talk about. In future posts, we’ll drill down into the concerns and questions you inspired. In this post, however, let’s take a broad view of the survey itself and some of the more telling tidbits it revealed.
First, virtually all women experience vaginal dryness to one degree or another. (If you don’t, you’ve caught life’s gold ring. Congratulations.) In this survey, 92.5 percent of respondents “sometimes” or “often” experience vaginal dryness either daily or during sex. This is no surprise. I treat women with this problem every day in my clinical practice.
Equally significant was the level of awareness—or lack thereof—about that eventual drying up of the well-lubed youthful vagina. For a lucky 10 percent in this survey, vaginal dryness was “better or less severe” than what the respondent expected, and for 3 percent it was right on point with expectations. But over half of you didn’t know what to expect, and for another third, it was worse than expected.
One respondent said “never heard of it until I had it!” Some mentioned feeling betrayed or angry at the way vaginal dryness sucks the joy right out of sex. (It’s very, very hard to enjoy painful sex.) We’ve discussed this a lot before, and we’ll continue to talk about our options, but for now, I want to reassure you in the strongest way possible: Vaginal dryness is extremely treatable!
Did you get that? It may take a little experimentation to find a treatment that works for you (or, sadly, perhaps also a practitioner who will listen to you), but it can be done!
A second major focus of our survey was about how often and to whom you talk about vaginal dryness. (It’s not like you’re going to bring up at a cocktail party. Right?) As it turns out, about two-thirds of you have at least mentioned vaginal dryness to your doctors, and sometimes you mention it often. Good for you! This is exactly what needs to happen.
We’ve discussed the embarrassment that often short-circuits this conversation, and the fact that more doctors ought to initiate it. However, if you’re one of the 36 percent who hasn’t talked to your doctor about painful vaginal dryness…be emboldened! Your doctor’s undoubtedly heard it before, and he or she darned well should be talking about it with you!
Most of you (78 percent) talk about painful dryness with your significant other, at least sometimes. Again, this conversation needs to happen so your partner doesn’t misinterpret your hesitance for rejection.
Most of you don’t talk about vaginal dryness with your friends. Understandable. I only wonder if we’re missing something here—if a little girlfriend talk about sexual difficulties might yield some helpful tips, tricks, and work-arounds. Or just reassurance that almost everyone else we know is in the same, bone-dry boat.
So, ladies, thank you for your candor. You gave us a lot of grist for the mill, which we’ll discuss in future posts.
Wait for it…