Vaginal Dryness During Pregnancy – Causes & Treatment

5 min read

Pregnancy is the time when your body will face several changes – good and bad! What you would have enjoyed eating earlier may become unbearable for you now. All these are caused by the hormonal changes that occur in our bodies during pregnancy. Nevertheless, one change that you may not be aware of or that no one would have warned you about is vaginal dryness during pregnancy.

Some of the most common effects of pregnancy are extreme tiredness, morning sickness, excess growth of facial hair, skin issues, swellings in several parts of the body, and even changes in your taste and smell.Thanks to the highly fluctuating hormones in your body, vaginal dryness will lead to itching and rashes in your groin area.

vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness also brings about discomfort and pain during intercourse. However, vaginal dryness is not a common occurrence during pregnancy. While some expecting women face excessive vaginal discharge, some others will have an extremely low supply of it, leading to vaginal dryness

In this blog, we will tell you in detail about vaginal discharge and if you should be worried or not when faced with it. Read on to know more

What is Vaginal Dryness in Pregnancy?

Usually, the vaginal region is moist, and the muscles are stretchable because of the mucous membranes that are present in the vaginal canal. The mucous membranes have a thin layer of fluid that is clear and covers the vagina.

The change in hormones and fluctuation of it during pregnancy causes disruption in the smooth functioning of this mucous membrane, which ultimately results in vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness brings about itchiness and dryness in the vaginal region.

Should You be Concerned About Vaginal Dryness During Pregnancy?

The dryness in the vaginal region seems a very small problem when you first hear about it. However, someone who has experienced vaginal dryness once can’t forget the pain and discomfort it can cause. There are various reasons as to why vaginal dryness can occur.

Some of the reasons are medications for cold, allergy, anti-depressants, urinary tract infections (UTI), autoimmune disorders, or anti-estrogen medicines. Anyway, if you experience dryness, burning sensation, or itching in your vagina, you should be concerned and visit your gynecologist at the earliest to get it treated.

It is important to rule out the chances of vaginal infection, which can bring about many complications during pregnancy. Your doctor can give you the appropriate treatment for this after ruling out the cause of this dryness to occur.

What Causes Dryness in Vagina During Pregnancy?

Following are top reasons that cause vaginal dryness during pregnancy.

Imbalance In Estrogen Level

As mentioned earlier, the vaginal membrane secretes a clear fluid, which forms a thin layer all over the vagina. The estrogen hormone present in the body helps to maintain this epithelium and keeps the vagina lubricated. However, during pregnancy, the hormones in our body tend to change, and there will be an imbalance.

This fluctuation of estrogen hormones in the body results in the decrease of this fluid secretion in the vaginal membrane leading to dryness. This condition is common during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, as that is when there is a drastic change in hormone levels.

The imbalance in the estrogen levels adversely affects the production of mucus in the vagina and cervix, which ultimately results in an itchy and dry vagina.

Drop in the Progesterone Level

Likewise, if your progesterone level, the hormone which is in charge of producing vaginal mucus drops significantly during pregnancy, you may experience vaginal dryness. However, if this is the reason, vaginal dryness will also be accompanied by abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, spotting, and low blood sugar.

Medicines

If you are taking antihistamines or antidepressants during pregnancy, it may trigger vaginal dryness.

How to Treat Dry Vagina During Pregnancy?

You must consult your doctor immediately if you are facing vaginal dryness during pregnancy. Your doctor can rule out all other possible underlying causes for this dryness and provide you with the right treatment.

However, there are a few simple home remedies that can be taken to reduce the impact or prevent the dryness from occurring. Some of the remedies are:

  •  Stop using scented lotions, soaps, or other cleansers in the vaginal region.
  • It is best to avoid bubble baths and douches.
  • Prefer to wear loose-fitting, soft, and cotton undergarments
  • Avoid tight-fitting and synthetic fabric ones.
  • Make use of a mild cleanser and always keep your vaginal region dry and clean.
  • You can ask your doctor to prescribe an estrogen cream for you to combat the dryness.
  • If you plan to have sexual intercourse, then it is best to make use of water-based lubricants.
  • Eating food rich in soy will help to ease mild vaginal dryness.
  • Drinking lots of water and keeping yourself hydrated all through the day as dehydration triggers vaginal dryness.
  • Taking a long relaxing bath like a sitz bath will help to get rid of vaginal dryness.
  • Doing pelvic exercises, like Kegels, can increase the blood flow to your vagina, thereby helping to get rid of the vaginal dryness.

Other Cervical Changes During Pregnancy

woman with vaginal itching

Vaginal dryness is not the only cervical change that happens during pregnancy. Other cervical changes to look out for during pregnancy are listed below:

1. Vaginal Discharge

During pregnancy, the cervix and vagina undergo changes that are mainly regulated by pregnancy hormones. This increases the production of cervical mucus and vaginal discharge. Throughout pregnancy, vaginal discharge undergoes changes. It can go from milky to thick and sticky to thin and watery.

2. Vaginal Itching

Vaginal itching is common in pregnant women. Most expecting mothers experience vaginal itching at some point during their pregnancy. The most common cause of vaginal itching during pregnancy is a change in vaginal pH levels.

The surge of pregnancy hormones can upset the vaginal pH balance. A small amount of yeast is normally present in the vagina. When the pH level is disrupted, yeast growth is favored. As a result, yeast thrives in the vagina, resulting in a yeast infection. This causes itching in the vaginal area.

3. Varicose Veins

Varicose veins usually occur in the leg. But pregnancy can make it appear in the vaginal area as well. The factors that trigger varicose veins in the vaginal area are:

  • Increased blood flow to the vagina
  • The pressure exerted by the uterus on veins of the pelvis
  • Vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) is executed by the pregnancy hormones

All of the factors mentioned above can potentially lead to pelvic congestion. This triggers vulvar varicose veins. The issue of varicose veins in the vaginal area gets resolved after delivery.

Conclusion

Although you hardly hear about it, vaginal dryness is not rare in pregnancy. Many have experienced it during the first and third trimesters. This is because, during this phase, there will be a sharp variation in the level of estrogen and progesterone.
It is essential that you get it treated and keep your vagina clean and hygienic at all times if you are pregnant. Avoid trying OTC medicines for vaginal dryness during pregnancy and seek your doctor’s help to combat this dryness.

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