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Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is a common problem that many women have at some point in their lives. But there are things that can help.

You may have vaginal dryness if you:

  • feel sore or itchy in and around your vagina
  • feel pain or discomfort during sex
  • need to pee more often than usual
  • keep getting urinary tract infections (UTIs)

These things may make you feel less like you want to have sex.

You can get vaginal dryness if you:

  • go through the menopause
  • are breastfeeding
  • take contraceptive pills or antidepressants
  • have your womb removed (a hysterectomy)
  • have cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy

These things can cause a change in your hormone levels. This change can affect how much vaginal discharge or fluid you have.

You can also have vaginal dryness if you:

  • are not aroused during sex
  • use perfumed soaps, washes or douches in and around your vagina
  • have an underlying condition, such as diabetes or Sjögren's syndrome

You can try these things before you see a GP. You can get most of them from a pharmacy without a prescription.

Do

  • use water-based lubricants before sex – put these in and around your vagina or on your partner's penis

  • use vaginal moisturisers for vaginal dryness – you can put these inside your vagina to keep it moist

  • use unperfumed soaps and washes around your vagina

  • try to enjoy more foreplay so you feel more aroused during sex

Don't

  • do not use perfumed soaps, washes and any douches in and around your vagina

  • do not put creams or lotions like petroleum jelly inside your vagina as it can cause an infection

  • do not use moisturisers that are not for your vagina