The phrase “I’m in the mood” tends to convey a sense of physical and emotional readiness for sex. So, it’s hardly surprising that mood disorders like anxiety and depression, can affect sexuality. If you ignore, or fail to recognize earlier symptoms, vaginal dryness sometimes functions as a physical manifestation of a mood disorder
Recognizing depression and anxiety
Women of any age can experience vaginal dryness related to depression and/or anxiety. Many of us are trained to ignore our emotions, “powering through” our feelings in order to get things done. In a culture where some people display “I eat stress for breakfast” posters in their office, we often fail to heed early signals of mental health imbalances.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
The Mayo Clinic’s description of anxiety disorders lists the following symptoms:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Discuss with your health care provider whether your vaginal dryness may be related to anxiety, depression, or other mood disorder.
Medication and estrogen
Unfortunately, several medications prescribed to treat depression or anxiety can negatively affect sexuality. As the Linder Center for Hope, a mental health facility in Ohio, explains “Antidepressant sexual side effects in women are vaginal dryness, decreased genital sensations, decreased libido, and difficulty achieving orgasm.”
If you have been diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression, talk with your doctor about treatment options. Carefully observe any side-effects from a newly prescribed medication and keep your health care provider informed of these.
Menopausal shifts in estrogen levels can have a strong impact on emotions. According to the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Women’s Mental Health, “Women are twice as likely as men to have major depressive disorder (MDD) during their lifetimes, and women are particularly at risk during the menopausal transition (including perimenopause and early menopause), which can last many years. Typically starting after age 40, this period is characterized by fluctuations in hormones and various physical symptoms like hot flashes, as well as mood symptoms.”
Some doctors treat menopausal hot flashes and/or vaginal dryness using conjugated estrogens. Depression and anxiety are potential side-effects of these hormonal medications, such as Premarin, which contain a mix of different estrogens.
If your doctor prescribes Premarin, carefully observe your moods in the first week or two after beginning the medication. If you experience depression and/or anxiety, discuss a different course of treatment with your physician.
Non-hormonal treatment for vaginal dryness
Fortunately, there is a non-hormonal solution for vaginal dryness. Whatever course of treatment you and your physician decide is best for your overall health, you don’t have to settle for vaginal dryness. In a clinical study, Membrasin® Vitality Pearls with SBA24™ were found to:
- Improve the integrity of the vaginal lining by 50%
- Relieve inflammation and sensitivity of vaginal mucous membranes
- Restore overall health of the genital tract
- Significantly decrease night sweats by the third month
Membrasin Vitality Pearls contain no hormones. Membrasin® is 100% estrogen-free, also GMO-free and cruelty-free. See the Vitality Pearls complete ingredient list here.