Sometimes, when modern medicine helps you solve one problem, another problem immediately crops up. Depending on the side effect, you can feel like you’re taking two steps forward, one step back with your health. Unfortunately, vaginal dryness is a side effect caused by a wide variety of medications, many of which you may not have the option of discontinuing use.
Which Medications Can Cause Vaginal Dryness Symptoms
Several types of medications can cause vaginal dryness symptoms.
- Yes, antidepressants can cause vaginal dryness for some women. If this is the case for you, talk to your doctor about switching to a different prescription, as some have very few sexual side effects.
- Hormonal birth control. The very medicine that allows women to avoid pregnancy can also hamper their drive to have sex in the first place. Progestin subdues the function of the ovaries, which prevents pregnancy; but it can also mean estrogen is in short supply. The reduction in estrogen can result in vaginal dryness symptoms that range from a minor irritation to severe enough to curtail your sex drive altogether.
- Cold and allergy medications. Another common medication that can cause vaginal dryness symptoms is any cold or allergy medicine that contains antihistamines or decongestants. The same mechanism that helps relieve congestion by reducing your mucus production can also dry out your vagina’s mucous membranes.
- Chemotherapy can reduce estrogen production and causes skin dryness in general—including vaginal skin. Other medicines that modulate estrogen production (often prescribed for certain cancer treatments) could have an effect on your vaginal moisture.
- Medication for endometriosis and uterine fibroids. Though it is a common treatment for endometriosis, hormone therapy can alter estrogen production and lead to a very unhappy vagina. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists (a treatment for uterine fibroids) mimic menopause in order to make fibroids smaller, and this curtails the estrogen production.
- Tranquilizers and sedatives. Sedatives such as benzodiazepines can cause pain during intercourse and vaginal dryness symptoms, too.
How to Mitigate the Side Effects
The reality is that you can’t always switch your medication if you find it is causing vaginal dryness. If one of the bottles in your medicine cabinet is causing vaginal dryness, there’s no need to despair. Many treatments are available that can help you feel like yourself again. Estrogen, for one, is effective but comes with strings attached—strings like significant health risks. Worse yet, survivors of certain cancers may not be able to take estrogen at all. For women whose dryness has nothing to do with estrogen (like those taking antihistamines or benzodiazepines), estrogen likely won’t solve the problem.
You shouldn’t have to live with seasonal allergies, depression, or anxiety in order for your vagina to feel healthy again. That’s why natural solutions are so important. To help restore your natural moisture from the inside out, try the Membrasin® 2-Step Starter Pack. Hormone-free and safe for cancer survivors, the Vitality Pearls and Intimate Moisture Cream work together to help support healthy vaginal function.