When the season is high, and the humidity is low, the body becomes dry. On the surface, the skin becomes dry, resulting in cracks or itchiness.
This problem can also occur in the body. In particular, women should pay attention to vagina dryness, which serves as a gateway to the genitals. Vaginal dryness causes discomfort in everyday life and makes the body vulnerable to infectious diseases such as vaginitis. Consequently, we are going to introduce how to remedy vaginal dryness.
■ Vagina, is an important genital gateway
The female vagina is a tube made up of muscles and membranes. The vagina is a vital organ connecting the vulva and uterus. It is a pathway through which babies come out during childbirth, menstrual blood is discharged during menstruation, and it is also the gateway for conception through sexual intercourse.
The vagina consists of a front wall and a back wall, and it appears like the letter H in the cross-section. The front wall is about 7 cm long, and the back wall is about 9 cm long.
※ Roles of the vagina
- It is the passage through which menstrual blood is discharged during menstruation.
- It is the organ for conception, the place where the male penis is inserted for ejaculation occurs during sexual intercourse.
- The pathway where babies come out during delivery
■ Secretion of 'vaginal fluid' that provide protection from bacteria
In the vagina, the ‘vaginal fluid,’ a vaginal secretion, is released. Besides the vagina, the cervical (uterus) and vulva glands also secrets the vaginal fluid.
Vaginal fluid plays a number of roles. First of all, it provides lubrication during sexual intercourse. Notably, the vaginal fluid usually has an acidity of 3.5 to 4.5, hence function to regulate acidity even inside the vagina.
When the vaginal environment becomes acidic due to the vaginal fluid, the acidity hinders the growth of bacteria other than the beneficial bacteria that help the vagina; resultantly, other bacteria cannot penetrate. You can safely protect your vagina.
※ Roles of vaginal fluid
-Serves as lubricant during sexual intercourse.
-Wash out contaminants from the vagina.
-Provide bacterial defense by maintaining the acidity of pH 3.5 ~ 4.5 of the vaginal environment.
■ Vaginal dryness caused by reduction of female hormones
The amount of acidity, viscosity, and secretion of vaginal fluid changes according to a woman's body. The acidity and glucose level of vaginal fluid gets altered with changes in female hormones during the menstrual cycle. On the ovulation day, it has the lowest acidity and highest glucose concentration to accept sperm for fertilization.
Also, vaginal fluid secretion may vary depending on a woman's physical condition, health problems, and the living environment. If vaginal dryness occurs due to the decrease in the vaginal fluid resulting from changes in the female body, it can cause various health problems such as pain and bacterial infection.
Several factors can affect vaginal fluid secretion, vaginal dryness, and blood circulation in the uterus. Among them is the reduction of female hormones before and after menopause, which is the most critical factor.
※ Causes of vaginal dryness
Reduction of estrogen hormone as a result of menopause: the vaginal mucosa inside the vagina loses elasticity and flexibility and gradually becomes thinner, consequently reducing vaginal fluid secretion.
-When the ovaries are removed through surgery or one undergoes hysterectomy: the estrogen hormone production decreases.
- In the case of receiving anti-cancer treatment: Vaginal mucosal gets damage.
- Maternity, breastfeeding: The period when ovulation is temporarily suspended.
- Reduction in blood circulation around the vagina and uterus.
-Taking medications such as birth control pills, obesity treatments, infertility treatments, breast-cancer recurrence prevention agents, and ovulation inducers.
-When receiving steroid treatment systemically due to rheumatoid arthritis.
※ Main symptoms of vaginal dryness
-The vagina and vulva are painful and itchy.
-Experiencing pain during sexual intercourse.
-After sexual intercourse, the vulva gets inflamed, and one experiences pain and heat in the vagina.
-The vulva is hot and painful due to friction when walking.
■ Health problems caused by vaginal dryness
If vaginal dryness occurs as a result of vaginal fluid not being secreted normally due to various reasons, this causes discomfort in daily life and can lead to genital diseases.
Notably, pain occurs not only during sex, but also when walking, causing great discomfort. Also, when the amount of vaginal fluid is decreased, the vagina does not maintain the acidic environment, making it easy to develop bacterial vaginosis due to bacterial infiltration.
It also increases the risk of vaginitis or cystitis after menstruation or sex. Urinary pain and urinary incontinence may occur.
■ Vaginal dryness, continuous management is vital
If your vaginal dryness is very severe, you may need medications such as pills or ointments to insert into your vagina, and such medications contain estrogen.
However, the decrease in female hormones with age is not the only of vaginal dryness. Therefore, it is desirable to take care of your vagina.
■ To remedy vaginal dryness
- Do not wash the inside of the vagina with strong alkalis such as soap.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, which reduce the amount of water in the body and can lead to vaginal dryness.
- Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight pants.
- Use a vaginal cleaner (inclear) to maintain pH balance in the vagina.