Vaginal Dryness During Pregnancy – Causes & Treatment

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Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Obstetrician and Gynaecologist)
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Vaginal Dryness during Pregnancy - Causes & Treatment

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Pregnancy is a time of several bodily changes. You must be well acquainted with morning sickness, fatigue, body pain and many other changes. However, the one change that you will experience as a result of the hormonal fluctuations in your body during pregnancy, and you may not be prepared for, is vaginal dryness. This results in dry, itchy skin in the vaginal area and pain and discomfort during intercourse. Read on to know more about the causes and remedies for vaginal dryness during pregnancy.

What is Vaginal Dryness in Pregnancy?

Normally, the vagina remains moist and stretchable due to the mucous membranes present in the vaginal canal. These membranes cover the vagina with a thin layer of clear fluid. During pregnancy, fluctuating hormones affect the functioning of the mucous membranes, resulting in vaginal dryness, where the vagina then becomes dry and itchy. The absence of vaginal moisture can also affect your sex life by causing pain during sex.

Should You Be Concerned About It

Although a dry vagina may feel like a minor issue, it can cause a lot of discomfort and pain. Vaginal dryness could be caused by an allergy, cold medication, antidepressants, autoimmune disorders, urinary tract infections, or anti-oestrogen medication. Hence, you should be concerned and consult your doctor if you have vaginal dryness. Any discomfort, burning, and itchy feeling in the vagina should be reported to your gynaecologist. After ruling out other causes of vaginal dryness, he will recommend an appropriate treatment.

What Causes Dryness During Pregnancy?

The vagina has a thin layer of mucus secreted by the vaginal membranes. This vaginal epithelium is maintained by the hormone oestrogen, which is responsible for vaginal lubrication. During pregnancy, an imbalance in oestrogen levels causes a reduction in the fluid, leading to vaginal dryness. A dry vagina during early pregnancy is quite common, as oestrogen levels drop sharply in the first trimester. The oestrogen imbalance reduces mucus production in the vaginal epithelium and the cervix, resulting in a dry, itchy vagina.

How to Treat Vaginal Dryness During Pregnancy

If you have a dry, itchy vagina while pregnant, inform your doctor about it. The doctor needs to rule out other causes of the dryness and suggest an appropriate treatment. Here are some steps you can take to remedy the dryness:

  • Avoid using perfumed soaps and lotions to clean the vaginal area. Avoid bubble baths, douches, and scented lotions.

  • Wear loose, soft, and absorbent cotton underwear. Avoid synthetic fabrics and tight-fitting underwear.

  • Keep your vaginal area clean by washing with mild soap, and then dry it completely with a towel.

  • Your doctor may prescribe an oestrogen cream to counteract the dryness.

  • Use a water-based lubricant before sexual intercourse.

  • Apply Vitamin E oil or an expert-recommended moisturiser in the vaginal area to keep it moist.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Mucus is 90% water, so it will help the vagina stay lubricated.

Other Cervical Changes During Pregnancy

Vaginal dryness is just one of the many cervical changes you may notice during pregnancy. Here are some other cervical changes to look out for during pregnancy.

  1. Vaginal Itching

Imbalanced ph levels during pregnancy and hormonal changes can cause itching and redness in the vagina. If you also experience a burning sensation in the vagina, consult a doctor right away.

  1. Varicose Veins

Varicose veins usually occur in the leg, but don’t be surprised if you notice them in the vaginal area too, during pregnancy. This is usually due to the increased weight and pressure on the cervix. Varicose veins in the vaginal area usually disappear after delivery.

  1. Vaginal Discharge

In many cases, women may experience a vaginal discharge that is milky and sticky. Dryness usually only occurs when the oestrogen levels drop, but during the other times, you may experience vaginal discharge, so stock up on panty liners.

Vaginal dryness during pregnancy is very common, especially in the first and third trimester,, as the levels of oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate sharply. It is important to treat the dryness and keep the vagina clean and healthy. Talk to your doctor before using any products to remedy the vaginal dryness.

Also Read: Vaginal Swelling during Pregnancy

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