Vaginal dryness is a lack of natural lubrication in the vagina.
What is going on in the body?
Changes in the vagina occur in response to a woman's hormonal cycle. Estrogen causes the vagina to thicken. Blood vessels bring nutrients and oxygen to the vagina. These maintain vaginal flexibility and health. The amount of mucus and vaginal secretions produced is influenced by many factors. These factors include:
bacteria and viruses
blood vessels and nerves
exercise and sweating
irritants, such as feminine hygiene products
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Vaginal dryness is often caused by changes in the level of female hormones. Situations that alter these levels include:
low-dose oral contraceptives
Diseases and conditions that may cause vaginal dryness include:
cancer of the pelvic organs, such as uterine cancer
high blood pressure, with or without medication side effects
multiple sclerosis, a degenerative nerve disorder
uterine prolapse, a condition in which the uterus drops down into the vagina
Other factors that may cause vaginal dryness include:
allergic reaction to latex in condoms
damage from childbirth
irritation from feminine hygiene products or tampons
medication or drug side effects
previous pelvic or abdominal surgery
psychological issues, such as past or current sexual abuse