What's Causing Your Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness cannot only make intercourse painful, but it can also bother you throughout the day. The occasional day-long bout of dryness is usually caused by nothing more than normal hormonal fluctuations, but if your dryness has lingered for a few days or more, it's time to look more closely for an underlying cause. Here are some of the most likely culprits.


Are you in your 40s or 50s? This could be the first sign of menopause. You might not be experiencing hot flashes and mood swings yet, but they could be just around the corner. Keep in mind, too, that everyone has different symptoms during menopause. Vaginal dryness might be the only symptom you notice. Talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy or topical estrogen creams that you can use to address vaginal dryness.

Birth Control Pills

If you're not anywhere near the onset of menopause, are you taking birth control pills? Some pills can cause vaginal dryness as a side effect. The dryness may be constant, or it may come and go at certain times in your cycle. Talk to your OBGYN about switching birth control pills. Often, one with a little higher dose of estrogen will clear up this symptom. 


Some medications, including corticosteroids and antidepressants, can cause vaginal dryness as a side effect. If you are taking any medications, either prescription or over-the-counter, read the label to see if this is listed as a side effect. If so, speak with your doctor about other medications you may be able to take instead. If the medication is one that you absolutely must take, your OBGYN may recommend some special creams you can use to add moisture throughout the day and prior to intercourse.

Tight Underwear

If you constantly wear very tight, constrictive underwear, this may cause bacterial counts in your vagina to rise, which can affect the pH of the organ. This may make your vagina feel dry and irritated even when you're producing enough natural lubricant. Luckily, there is an easy fix. Switch to looser, more breathable underwear. (Pairs made from cotton work well.) Try to keep things and other tighter-fitting panties for special occasions only. If your underwear is, indeed, to blame, the dry feeling should go away within a few days of switching panties.

If your vaginal dryness persists and you can't figure out its cause, make an appointment with your gynecologist. Check it out to learn more.