How can I control vaginal dryness?

Monday April 15 2019


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Recently, my uterus was removed due to fibroids. However, I now suffer from vaginal dryness. There is no bleeding but I feel a lot of pain during sexual intercourse. What can I do? Nalongo

Dear Nalongo
A woman produces a vaginal discharge which cleanses the vagina apart from keeping it moist and well lubricated. During sexual arousal, more fluids from the Bartholin’s glands and vagina are produced for increased lubrication and if the fluids are minimal or lacking, both partners may experience painful sex.
The hormone oestrogen is very important in the production of the lubricating fluids and it is not surprising that towards, during and after menopause when women experience low oestrogen levels, vaginal dryness during sex is most common.

Most of the reasons women get surgical removal of their wombs (hysterectomy) including complications related to fibroids or cancer of the womb happen towards menopause when oestrogen is waning hence risking dry sex.
Sometimes, it is not only the womb which is removed but also the ovaries; the main source of oestrogen further risking the dryness.
Many women experience vaginal dryness during sex because they have not had enough foreplay to properly arouse them, are stressed, anxious or are low on sex drive.

The womb is a woman’s natural treasure and if it is removed, the psychological trauma that may follow may last a lifetime with resultant effects such as vaginal dryness. Here, continued counselling before or after the operation, having enough time for foreplay, using water-based lubricants and if in menopause vaginal creams that contain oestrogen can help.

As long as a woman has had sufficient time to heal from her operation, bleeding or pain should not occur during sex after a hysterectomy.
It is advised that she refrains from putting anything (penis, fingers or tampons) in the vagina for about six weeks to allow time for scars to heal properly and any vaginal discharge or bleeding to stop.
Having sexual intercourse earlier than six weeks can lead to bleeding, infection and more pain.