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Vaginal dryness: symptoms, causes and treatment

Woman with vaginal dryness sat on a bed in a blue shirt facing away
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Vaginal dryness commonly happens to most women at some point in their lives and is nothing to be embarrassed about. Thankfully there are many things that can help.

Here we share the things you need to know about vaginal dryness including symptoms and treatment.

What is vaginal dryness?

Vaginal dryness is a common issue that typically impacts women during menopause, however it can happen at any age. It occurs when the walls of the vagina aren’t lubricated as much as they naturally should be, causing irritation and discomfort. This is due to a drop in oestrogen levels

Vaginal dryness symptoms

There are many symptoms of vaginal dryness including:

  • Pain or discomfort during sex
  • Soreness in and around your vagina
  • Itchiness in and around your vagina
  • An increased need to pee
  • Ongoing urinary tract infections

Can vaginal dryness cause pain?

Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort that can be painful, itchy or feel like a burning sensation in the vaginal region. This typically occurs during sex as there is a lack of natural lubrication.

Causes of vaginal dryness

Various things can impact your hormone levels which in turn can cause vaginal dryness. The most common of which are listed below.

Vaginal dryness and the menopause

Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of the menopause, a natural part of ageing that typically occurs between 45 to 55 years of age. During this time, your oestrogen levels naturally decrease, causing ovulation and your periods to eventually stop.

This reduction in hormones can also affect the cells in the lining of the vagina, causing them to become dryer and more easily irritated. This can last any time from a few months to a few years depending on when your periods stop. Learn more about the menopause and its symptoms in our helpful guide.

Vaginal dryness in pregnancy

Hormones also fluctuate during pregnancy; therefore vaginal dryness is also a common symptom for pregnant women. This is often the case once the baby is born when levels of oestrogen plummet, especially for women who breastfeed.

Vaginal dryness and diabetes

For those who have diabetes, vaginal dryness can be a regular occurrence. This is due to damage to the vagina’s blood vessels caused by high blood sugars. Restricted blood flow and a lack of lubrication therefore combine, leading to dryness and discomfort.

Vaginal dryness and contraception

Hormonal contraception which contains oestrogen and progestogen may also cause vaginal dryness due to its impact on the body’s natural hormone levels. This includes combined methods such as the pill, patch and vaginal ring.

Treatment for vaginal dryness

There are many treatments for vaginal dryness that you can try at home before seeing a doctor. Most can be bought online or from your local LloydsPharmacy store.

HRT treatments

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment option for women during menopause. Oestrogen replaces the decreasing levels in your body in the form of a tablet, patch or gel. This can help to relieve symptoms including vaginal dryness.

Gina tablets

Gina is the only over the counter treatment that is clinically proven to target the causes of vaginal dryness for women after the menopause.

The small vaginal tablet delivers a low dose of oestrogen directly to the vaginal wall, helping to improve elasticity, replenish moisture and restore vaginal tissue within 8 weeks of use. Gina continues to work for as long as you use it however it isn’t suitable for everyone. Gina is recommended for women over 50 who have not had a period for at least one year.

You can buy Gina online and in-store without the need for a prescription.

Watch our video to find out how Gina could help you: 


Water-based lubricants can help to relieve vaginal dryness and make sex more comfortable by reducing friction. These can be applied in and around the vagina, onto your partner’s penis, fingers or onto a sex toy. Choose from a range of lubricants and gels available to buy online. Read our menopause sex guide for more tips.

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Vaginal moisturisers are a type of cream or gel that is applied in and around the vagina to help keep the lining lubricated. This can reduce dryness and make sex more comfortable. Examples include Replens MD Vaginal Moisturiser and Flourish Intimate Moisturiser for menopause.

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Menopause supplements

Women could benefit from taking menopause supplements to boost their oestrogen levels. This reduces the risk of developing weak bones but can also help with symptoms including vaginal dryness. Find out which supplements you could take in our menopause supplements guide.

How to increase your natural lubrication

Some people experience vaginal dryness if they are not aroused during sex. But there are plenty of things you can try to help with this.


Enjoying more foreplay will give your vaginal walls more time to naturally lubricate. This can also help you to relax and avoid ‘getting in your head’ before intercourse. Other activities such as touching, massaging and discussing your sexual likes can also increase your arousal. 

Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises such as Kegals will help to increase blood flow to the vaginal area and strengthen weaker vaginal muscles caused by lower levels of oestrogen. To do this you should squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times whilst relaxing the rest of your body. Over time you can progress to holding the squeeze for a few seconds or adding more.

What not to do

You should avoid using perfumed products in and around your vagina including soaps, washes, douches and lotions that may cause further irritation or an infection. Only use products that are designed for your vagina.

Vaginal atrophy

Vaginal atrophy is a condition that causes the vaginal walls to become dry, thin and inflamed. This usually occurs during and after the menopause. If you experience vaginal dryness in addition to other symptoms such as unusual vaginal discharge, yeast infections, burning when you urinate or bleeding during sex then you may have vaginal atrophy.

If vaginal dryness is affecting your daily life or you have any other symptoms, speak to your GP or local pharmacist.

In summary, vaginal dryness is a common problem however you don’t have to put up with symptoms. Discover more about Gina, a product effective at treating vaginal dryness now without a prescription. You can also get more health tips and advice at LloydsPharmacy including our guide to sex and the menopause.