Vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy occurs in women during perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. With vaginal atrophy, the lining of the vaginal wall becomes thinner, drier, less elastic, and light pink to bluish in color. Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include:Read more: Vaginal Dryness Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Picture of Vagina
The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation. See a picture of...
9 Signs of Perimenopause
Perimenopause occurs before menopause as estrogen levels begin to change. This can cause menopause like symptoms such as hot...
Women's Health: 25 Hormone Imbalance Symptoms and Signs
Hormone imbalance including abnormal levels of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, progesterone, and other hormones may lead to...
IMAGESSee a medical illustration of the female vagina plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Related Disease Conditions
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
There are many types of urinary incontinence (UI), which is the accidental leakage of urine. These types include stress incontinence, urge incontinence, and overflow incontinence. Urinary incontinence in men may be caused by prostate or nerve problems. Treatment depends upon the type and severity of the UI and the patient's lifestyle.
Vaginal Yeast Infection (in Women and Men)
Vaginal yeast infections in women are caused by an organism called Candida albicans. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include vaginal pain with urination, vaginal discharge, odor, and itching. Treatment is generally OTC medications. A man can contract a yeast infection from his female sexual partner. Symptoms of a yeast infection in men include penile itching. Treatment is with oral or topical medication.
Bacterial vaginosis is an abnormal vaginal condition with signs and symptoms of vaginal discharge, vaginal odor, and vaginal pain. Bacterial vaginosis results from an overgrowth of normal bacteria in the vagina. Although it may cause some disturbing symptoms (discharge and odor), it is not dangerous and cannot be passed by sex. Diagnosis becomes important to exclude serious infections like gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Many treatment options are available such as oral antibiotics and vaginal gels.
Sexual health information including birth control, impotence, herpes, sexually transmitted diseases, staying healthy, women's sexual health concerns, and men's sexual health concerns. Learn about the most common sexual conditions affecting men and women.
Sex and Menopause (What to Expect)
Menopause is often associated with a change in sexual functioning. Loss of estrogen, bladder control issues, anxiety, stress, health concerns, medications, and sleep disturbances often result in a decrease in libido. Though there are currently no good drugs for treating sexual problems in women, there are ways to increase intimacy with a partner and treat vaginal dryness.
Perimenopause is the time in a woman's life when she is approaching menopause. During this time a woman starts to develop symptoms of declining estrogen levels that may include mood swings, painful sex, night sweats, hot flashes, and weight gain. Every adult woman eventually will experience perimenopause.
Night Sweats (In Men and Women) Causes, Remedies, and Treatments
Night sweats are severe hot flashes that occur at night and result in a drenching sweat. The causes of night sweats in most people are not serious, like menopause in women, sleep apnea, medications, alcohol withdrawal, and thyroid problems. However, more serious diseases like cancer and HIV also can cause night sweats. Your doctor will treat your night sweats depending upon the cause. You may experience other signs and symptoms that are associated with night sweats, which depend upon the cause, but may include, shaking, and chills with a fever caused by an infection like the flu or pneumonia; unexplained weight loss due to lymphoma; women in perimenopause or menopause may also have vaginal dryness, mood swings, and hot flashes during the day; and low blood sugar in people with diabetes. Other causes of night sweats include medications like NSAIDs (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), antidepressants, sildenafil (Viagra), and abuse of prescription or illegal drugs and drug withdrawal; hormone disorders like pheochromocytoma and carcinoid syndrome; idiopathic hyperhidrosis; infections like endocarditis, AIDs, and abscesses; alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal; drug abuse, addiction, and withdrawal; and stroke. A doctor or other health care professional can treat your night sweats after the cause has been diagnosed.
Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)
Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) usually is caused by E. coli and other bacteria that have spread from the bladder from a UTI (urinary tract infection), poor hygiene, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, catheter, cystoscope exam, surgery, kidney stones, or prostate enlargement. Symptoms of kidney infection include back pain, frequent urination, pain during urination, fever, and or pus or blood in the urine. Kidney infection can be cured with antibiotic treatment. Cranberry juice may prevent UTIs, but that hasn’t been proven in all research studies.
Hot Flashes (Causes, Symptoms & Medication Treatment in Men and Women)
Hot flashes (or flushing) is the most common symptom experienced by a woman prior to and during the early stages of menopause, and often is described as the feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, often starting at the head accompanied by sweating. In the Study of Women Across America the Nation (SWAN) women had hot flashes that lasted on average 7 1/2 years. Symptoms of hot flashes include: Flushing Excessive sweating Anxiety Palpitations Diagnosis is made by taking a patient history and, at times, blood tests. Treatment options include hormone therapy, bioidentical hormone therapy, and medications. There are non-FDA approved natural home remedies such as: Black cohosh Licorice Evening primrose oil Wild yam Dong quai Hot flashes also can be caused by other conditions. Scientific studies to prove the safety and effectiveness of these products in relieving hot flashes have not been adequately performed. Consult your health-care professional before taking any herbal supplement.
Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia)
Vulvodynia or vaginal pain, genital pain is a condition in which women have chronic vulvar pain with no known cause. There are two types of vulvodynia, generalized vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis. Researchers are trying to find the causes of vulvodynia, for example, nerve irritation, genetic factors, hypersensitivity to yeast infections, muscle spasms, and hormonal changes.The most common symptoms of vaginal pain (vulvodynia) is burning, rawness, itching, stinging, aching, soreness, and throbbing. There are a variety of treatments that can ease the symptoms of vulvodynia (vaginal pain).
Urinary Tract Infections in Children
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in children. Symptoms and signs include fever and abdominal pain. Associated symptoms and signs include flank pain, vomiting, and blood in the urine. Treatment for a UTI involves antibiotic therapy.
Bladder Infection (Cystitis)
Bladder infection is an infection of the bladder, usually caused by bacteria or, rarely, by Candida. Certain people, including females, the elderly, men with enlarged prostates, and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for bladder infection. Bladder infections are treated with antibiotics, but cranberry products and adequate hydration may help prevent bladder infections.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person, and can last for days to months without periods of remission. Symptoms of MS include sexual problems and problems with the bowel, bladder, eyes, muscles, speech, swallowing, brain, and nervous system. The early symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis usually start between age 20 and 40. MS in children, teens, and those over age 40 is rare. Treatment options for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to manage MS symptoms.
Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a condition that happens when immune cells from transplanted donor tissue attack the recipient's tissues. Signs and symptoms of acute GVHD include enteritis, hepatitis, and dermatitis. Chronic GVHD symptoms and signs include rash, skin discoloration, dry mouth or eyes, jaundice, fatigue, and wheezing, among others. The standard of GVHD treatment is immunosuppressant medications.
Diabetes Symptoms in Women (Early and Late)
Diabetes symptoms in women include vaginal itching, pain, or discharge, loss if interest or pain after having sex, polycystic ovarian syndrome (POS), and urinary tract infections or UTIs (which are more common in women. Symptoms of diabetes that are the same in women and men are excessive thirst and hunger, bad breath, and skin infections, darkening of skin in areas of body creases (acanthosis nigricans), breath odor that is fruity, sweet, or acetone, and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, blurred vision, fatigue, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, wounds that heal slowly, irritability, and weight loss or gain. Complications of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the same, for example, skin, eye, and circulation problems, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), ketoacidosis, and amputation. If diabetes is not managed a person may not survive.
Local ResourcesFind a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- estradiol, Alora, Climara, Delestrogen, Depo-Estradiol, Divigel, Elestrin, Estrace, and Others
- estrogens conjugated (Premarin)
- conjugated equine estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate, Prempro, Premphase
- esterified estrogens (Menest)
- Evista (raloxifene)
- esterified estrogens and methyltestosterone, Estratest, Estratest HS
- estrogens conjugated synthetic (Cenestin)
- conjugated estrogens vaginal cream (Premarin Vaginal Cream)
- Conjugated Estrogens (Cenestin, Enjuvia, Estrace, and Others)
- estrogen/progestin - oral, Activella, Femhrt, Ortho-Prefe
- vitexagnus castus (Chaste Tree)
- estrogens (synthetic)-vaginal cream
- estrogens cream - vaginal
- flibanserin (Addyi)
Prevention & Wellness
- It's Not Just Menopause to Blame for Older Women's Flagging Sex Drive
- Douching: More Harmful Than Helpful
- Everyday Medications That Can Ruin Your Sex Life
- Don't Believe the Hype on 'Vaginal Rejuvenation,' FDA Says
- Range of Vaginal Dryness Products Can Help Postmenopausal Women: Study
- Many Women Mistaken on 'Side Effects' of Breast Cancer Drug
- Beating Breast Cancer But Still Paying a Price
- Menopause and a Decline in Intimacy
- For Many Women, Sex Gets Better at Midlife
- Estrogen for Vaginal Symptoms OK for Breast Cancer Survivors: Experts
- Suppository Eases Vaginal Dryness in Small Study
- Breast Cancer Drug Aromasin May Be Option for Some Premenopausal Women
- Experts Lay Out Options for Menopause Symptoms
- Hormone Therapy May Work Only for Women With Hot Flashes
- Women at High Breast Cancer Risk Should Consider Preventive Drugs: Experts
- Menopause-Like Woes Hinder Breast Cancer Treatment: Study
- Hormones May Not Raise Alzheimer's Risks
- Panel Advises Against Hormones to Prevent Disease
- New Guidelines to Help Breast Cancer Survivors
- Older Women Say They Want More Sex, Not Less
- Size Counts When It Comes to Sex
- Sex Not on Most New Moms' Minds
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter