Causes Of Vaginal Dryness In Younger Women

Often, when a woman experiences vaginal dryness, it is because of hormonal changes associated with menopause. But what if you are a younger woman — nowhere near menopausal age — who is experiencing vaginal dryness? In this case, your gynecologist will want to look into other possible causes, including the following.

Low Estrogen Levels

Estrogen is the primary hormone that supports the production of vaginal moisture. So, if you report to your gynecologist with symptoms of vaginal dryness, the first thing they're likely to check are your estrogen levels. There are many reasons why women can develop low estrogen that leads to vaginal dryness. Being underweight can be a factor; this is a common symptom of eating disorders, such as anorexia.

Some women suffer low estrogen levels as a result of a poorly functioning pituitary gland. If this is the case, you'll probably have some other symptoms, like fatigue and heart palpitations, too. Your gynecologist will likely refer you to an endocrinologist — a doctor who specializes in hormones — if they suspect you have low pituitary function.

Chemical Irritation

It's quite common for women to experience vaginal dryness in response to a chemical substance that is irritating their vaginal region. Are you using any bubble baths, vaginal deodorizers, personal lubricants, or douches? You may be sensitive to an ingredient in one of these products. Your vaginal tissues respond to sensitivity with inflammation, which prevents your glands from secreting enough moisture. If you stop using these products, you should notice the dryness dissipate within a few days. 

Autoimmune Diseases

It's also possible that you have an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or Sjogren's syndrome. Usually, when this is the case, you will also have other symptoms, such as fatigue, dry eyes and a dry mouth, joint pain, and headaches. In an autoimmune disease, your body's immune system attacks your own tissues. Those tissues that are responsible for producing mucus and other fluids are often the first to be attacked, which is why vaginal, eye, and mouth dryness tend to be early symptoms. 

If you do have an autoimmune disease, your gynecologist may recommend some lubricating gels in the short term, and you'll likely be referred to a rheumatologist for further evaluation and treatment.

If you are a younger woman dealing with vaginal dryness, you do not have to keep suffering alone. Talk to your gynecologist. This is a common problem and one they'll help you treat.