Sexual Health

VAGINAL DRYNESS

TREATMENT

Vaginal dryness is a delicate topic for many women during perimenopause, menopause and beyond. From the bathroom to the bedroom, it can cause physical and emotional distress that’s difficult to explain to your doctor, partner or even your best friend. Here at iLiveactive, we believe it’s time to start the conversation and explore your options.
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Not suitable for vaginal dryness/vaginal estradiol treatment if any of the following apply. Will suggest personal lubricant
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  • Under age 40
  • Currently pregnant or breastfeeding will not have treatment for treatment for vaginal dryness, vaginal estradiol
  • Not diagnosed by a physician as being perimenopausal or menopausal
  • Period remains unchanged
  • Allergic to estrogen, estradiol, or Estrace when having Urinary tract infections/ Yeast infections
  • Not consult a healthcare provider in person for a pelvic and breast exam in the past 2 years
  • Currently experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding that is not associated with your period
  • Any first degree relatives that have a history of breast cancer (e.e., parent, sibiling, child)
  • Uterine/endometrial cancer or ovarian cancer(known or suspected estrogen-dependent neoplasia)
  • Endometriosis
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in leg)
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lungs)
  • Stroke, heart attack or other arterial thromboembolic disease or heart disease
  • Liver dysfunction or disease
  • Clotting disorders (including protein C, protein S or anthithrombin deficiency)
  • Hereditary angioedema
  • Smoke or use tobacco (e.g., chewing tobacco, snuff)
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What is Vaginal Dryness?

Vaginal dryness is a delicate topic for many women during perimenopause, menopause and beyond. From the bathroom to the bedroom, it can cause physical and emotional distress that’s difficult to explain to your doctor, partner or even your best friend. Since vaginal dryness is directly linked to declining estrogen levels, women will experience it for the rest of their postmenopausal life. The good news is that, with iLiveActive, you have the support and resources to help you through this midlife change.

As estrogen levels in the body decrease, the tissue inside the vagina produces less natural lubricant, and the lining becomes thin and fragile. This lack of lubrication paired with a delicate lining can cause irritation, itching, and burning. Vaginal dryness can lead to intimacy and relationship issues for women. Seventy-five percent of women reported it negatively affected their sex life, and 45 percent said they’d experienced discomfort while having sex. This natural biological change doesn’t have to mean the end of your sensuality. You have options and with the right treatment, enjoying sex can be possible again.

Since sex talk isn’t exactly small talk and knowledge about treatments can be sparse, many women suffer in silence. Here at iLiveActive, we believe it’s time to start the conversation and explore your options. For vaginal dryness, a iLiveActive-affiliated physician can prescribe, if appropriate, a cream that’s applied locally to the vagina. This application has been shown to restore the vaginal lining which leads to increased lubrication. We also carry an over-the-counter, all-natural, water-based lubricant and vaginal moisturizer. It’s vital to educate yourself about each option, including the risks and benefits of prescription products. We’ll always guide your choice with the support and resources you need along the way.

Getting the proper amount of high-quality sleep is necessary to function at your best. High quality sleep is uninterrupted and it slips smoothly through each sleep cycle (discussed below). Your body and mind both suffer if either your quality or duration of sleep is insufficient. Prolonged periods without proper sleep can compromise nearly every aspect of your health.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis for optimal health. Despite this advice, the CDC estimates that about 35% of adults sleep fewer than 7 hours per night. Sleeping fewer than 7 hours is associated with (either causing or caused by) many diseases, including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of death
  • Poor immune function
  • Increased pain
  • Higher risk of accidents

What changes are causing the dryness I feel?

Before perimenopause or menopause, the vagina is usually moist with skin that is pink from abundant blood vessels. There are multiple folds of extra skin and mucous secreting sebaceous glands that can produce moisture quickly during sexual excitement.

When estrogen is lost the skin becomes thin, pale, and dry. The vagina narrows and shortens. The opening to the vagina, called the introitus, can narrow, as well—especially when penetrative sex is not practiced.

The vaginal skin can become so thin that small breaks in the blood vessels (now far fewer in number) can occur, the once abundant folds of extra skin disappear, and the vagina loses much of its capacity to expand when needed.

The sebaceous glands may remain but they do not function well. The natural lubrication women experience with stimulation is both lessened and delayed.

Symptoms

NAMS’s (The North American Menopause Society) position paper on VVA (vulvovaginal atrophy) states, “Symptoms…such as lack of lubrication and pain with intercourse, affect 20% to 45% of midlife and older women but only a minority seek help or are offered help by their providers.”

Vaginal dryness is more than a minor inconvenience for many of the women with the condition.

The VIVA (Vaginal Health: Insights, Views & Attitudes) online survey asked women how the vaginal discomfort associated with vaginal dryness affected them. The results were striking:

  • 80% considered it to affect their lives negatively
  • 75% reported negative consequences on their sex life
  • 68% reported that it makes them feel less sexual
  • 36% reported that it makes them feel old
  • 33% reported negative consequences on marriage/relationship
  • 26% reported a negative effect on self-esteem
  • 25% reported that it lowers Quality Of Life (QOL)

Despite the toll it takes, vaginal health is commonly not addressed by healthcare providers during perimenopause and menopause. In the largest survey of US women, REVIVE (Real Women’s Views of Treatment Options for Menopausal Vaginal Changes), only 7% of the 3047 women in the study reported that their healthcare provider asked them questions about VVA.

The authors of the Viva Survey concluded, “Vaginal atrophy negatively impacts women’s lives, but women lack knowledge of the subject and are hesitant to consult healthcare professionals, who should proactively initiate discussions regarding appropriate treatment options.”

Vaginal dryness is associated with a number of significant symptoms that may be missed unless the question is asked. The REVIVE study reports, “The most common VVA symptoms were dryness (55% of participants), dyspareunia—pain with sex (44%), and irritation (37%). VVA symptoms affected the enjoyment of sex in 59% of participants.” Also, sleep was disturbed in 24% and enjoyment of life diminished in 23%.

Few women knew that their symptoms were associated with menopause and hormone changes. Yet, the personal consequences of unaddressed vaginal dryness are significant.
In the REVIVE study

  • 85% of partnered women had some loss of intimacy
  • 59% indicated symptoms affected their enjoyment of sex
  • 47% of women with partners said their symptoms interfered with their relationship

Vaginal dryness and the other vaginal changes associated with menopause are not minor inconveniences for many women. They can be life-altering.

Treatment

Complete an online visit and a doctor in our network will evaluate whether prescription vaginal dryness treatment is right for you. We also carry an over-the-counter, all-natural, water-based lubricant and vaginal moisturizer.

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Treatments for vaginal dryness
Complete an online visit and a doctor in our network will evaluate whether prescription vaginal dryness treatment is right for you. We also carry an over-the-counter, all-natural, water-based lubricant and vaginal moisturizer.
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Vaginal estradiol & personal lubricant

Prescription + over the counter

Quaterly plan: $219

A prescription cream containing plant-derived estrogen to treat vaginal dryness.

LEARN MORE

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Vaginal estradiol

Prescription

Quaterly plan: $180

A prescription cream containing plant-derived estrogen to treat vaginal dryness.

LEARN MORE

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All-natural personal lubricant

Over the counter

Quaterly plan: $39

A 2-in-1, non-prescription, water-based, non-hormonal lube. It can also be used as a daily moisturizer

LEARN MORE

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