Does Vaginal Moisture Change During Perimenopause?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the Experts:

What are the expected changes to the appearance of the vaginal mucus during peri-menopause and information on fertility levels at that time.

Doctor's Response:

Vaginal mucus changes with the hormonal changes of menopause. Usually theses changes take some time to develop, because hormone levels do not just drop to very low levels abruptly. The changes are more gradual, and different women will experience them differently. While some women will be bothered, others will experience vaginal dryness, itching, or irritation with menopause changes, because estrogen is necessary for a healthy vaginal lining. These can also cause intercourse to be difficult. Decrease in itching, irritation, and dyspareunia (painful intercourse) can result from estrogen replacement, in a variety of vaginal or pill forms see's Hormone Replacement Therapy article). Vaginal mucus becomes less acid when estrogen levels decrease. It is felt that this decrease in acidity can predispose the woman to increased infections. Vaginal estrogen preparations have been shown to restore the acidity of vaginal mucus exactly back to the pre-menopausal levels.

Women are sometimes surprised to hear that they can become pregnant until they have been without menses for a year, even though they are having active menopause symptoms. There are special consideration for contraception for peri-menopausal women that should be discussed with a doctor.

Thank you for your question.

Medical Author: Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018