Vaginal dryness treatment can include moisturizers, creams or suppositories applied to the vagina, supplementing or replacing natural vaginal moisturizers. To prevent dryness, regular treatment is recommended — moist tissues are strong tissues.
Applied with an applicator or by hand, moisturizers work over time to moisturize and strengthen vaginal tissues, eliminating dry skin, protecting the vagina from irritation and small tears.
For some of us, menopausal vaginal dryness is a pervasive problem, causing us itching, burning, soreness, not only during sex, but throughout the day as vaginal tissues become dry enough to chafe, tear, or crack.
It’s easy to confuse moisturizers with lubricants—it sounds as if they would work the same way—but these products work very differently. A lubricant is a temporary replacement for vaginal wetness, used at the time of intercourse. Its only goal is reducing friction during sex, and it works for a very short span of time. Vaginal moisturizers are used regularly, not just for sex, and they work to moisturize and strengthen vaginal tissues around the clock. Think of them more as prevention.
Vaginal moisturizers can be purchased over the counter in drugstores, online, and here at MiddlesexMD. They do not require a prescription, though we encourage you to mention your vaginal dryness symptoms to your doctor. It helps your doctor to understand the complete picture of your menopausal symptoms.
Follow application instructions included in the packaging. These moisturizers are most effective when used regularly, as you would a face or body moisturizer. Every two to four days is typically recommended, but check the instructions for the product you're using. If your vaginal tissues have been dry for some time, expect some discharge when you start using a moisturizer. It should clear up fairly quickly. As with any moisturizer, if your symptoms get worse, discontinue use and consult your doctor.
Vaginal moisturizers are safe to use before sex for both you and your partner, though you may wish to apply your moisturizer on a day when you are not expecting to have sex, or things could get a bit messy.
It is safe and recommended to continue using sexual lubricants in addition to your moisturizer for optimum comfort.