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Your reproductive health is not the only thing to think about when trying to get pregnant. It also heavily depends on your vaginal health. Additionally, it contributes to infertility! How? Since sperm must survive and travel from the cervix into the uterus and eventually into the fallopian tubes, cervical mucus (fluid) is necessary. Couples may experience pain and additional tension if their cervical mucus production is not at the proper level during sex. This may lengthen the time it takes for a woman to become pregnant by causing vaginal dryness.
Vaginal dryness and infertility
When your vagina isn’t adequately lubricated, you get vaginal dryness, which is fairly frequent in older women, especially following menopause. As you approach menopause, secretion produced by the glands found on the vulva, the external female genitalia, scales down. As a result, the vagina’s natural lubrication is diminished, and vaginal dryness occurs! You may also experience itching or vaginal infection.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Aarthi Bharat, Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Banashankari, Bengaluru, to find out if there is a link between vaginal dryness and infertility.
Dr Bharat says, “Though vaginal dryness is the case during menopause, some younger women suffer from it too. This can be worrisome as it can lead to several problems in your attempt at conceiving. A few factors like fluctuating hormone levels, breastfeeding, or certain medications can lead to it.”
Here are some common causes of vaginal dryness:
- Breastfeeding and childbirth can lead to a dry vagina.
- Birth control pills or any form of hormonal birth control can cause your vagina to dry.
- It can also happen to women who are undergoing cancer treatments like chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
- Medications include anti-estrogen medications (treating uterine fibroids or endometriosis), certain antidepressants and antihistamines (treatment for itchy eyes and runny noses), etc.
- Removal of your ovaries can lead to vaginal dryness.
- Not being sexually aroused.
- If you are using scented or perfumed soaps, sprays, and washes around or in your vagina, it can lead to vaginal discomfort and dryness.
How vaginal dryness can cause issues with fertility
According to Dr Bharat, a lot of women find themselves wondering about vaginal dryness and if it can make them infertile. Though vaginal dryness may not directly lead to infertility, it can make it harder for you to enjoy sex due to a lot of friction. It can eventually make you dislike sex, and that would obviously make it harder for you to conceive naturally.
The cervical fluid is more than just a lubricant; it also helps sperm reach the egg and fertilize it, which is important when trying to conceive, especially if your partner has low sperm counts.
What can you do to deal with vaginal dryness?
Follow these tips:
- You may try a vaginal moisturizer and lubricants to reduce friction.
- Keep yourself hydrated because chronic dryness is a symptom of dehydration.
- You can also use coconut oil to reduce the itching and dryness.
- Avoid douching.
- Avoid using chemical-based products down there.