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  • Vaginal dryness and its accompanying itch are common complaints for women before, during and after menopause, with multiple potential causes.

    The Facts

    According to the Mayo Clinic, vaginal dryness occurs when body changes disrupt the formation of lubricating mucus on the vaginal walls, triggering itching or stinging centered on the lower third of the vagina and the vaginal opening.

    Estrogen Decrease

    Decreases in estrogen levels can trigger the symptoms of vaginal dryness. The Mayo Clinic cites underlying causes for estrogen decrease that include childbirth, menopause, breast feeding, surgical removal of the ovaries, cigarette smoking and the presence of immune disorders.

    Medications

    Medications can also decrease estrogen levels and cause vaginal dryness, including leuprolide (Lupron), tamoxifen, medroxyprogesterone (Provera) and danazol. Use of antidepressants and some cold and allergy medications can also trigger symptoms, reports the Mayo Clinic.

    Douches

    Women who douche may also experience vaginal itching or inflammation---known as vaginitis---from changes in the vagina's natural chemical balance, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Sjogren's Syndrome

    Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes tissue dryness in the mouth and eyes, can have the same effect on vaginal tissues, the Mayo Clinic says.

    Source:

    The Mayo Clinic: Vaginal Dryness

    UpToDate for Patients: Vaginal Dryness

    More Information:

    U.S. News and World Report: 6 Ways to Relieve Vaginal Dryness

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