Vaginal dryness is usually experienced by women who have undergone menopause, but can occur at any time. The main culprit of a burning vagina is a decrease of estrogen, a female hormone, which can occur as a result of a variety of hormonal or external factors.
Childbirth, breastfeeding, perimenopause, and menopause are all causes of vaginal irritation due to a change in hormonal health as a result of major reproductive events. Any time the chemical balance of the vaginal tissue is disturbed, dryness can result.
Birth control medication, antihistamines, and antidepressant therapy can lead to a dry vagina. Birth control may affect the natural balance of vaginal tissue, much like any other hormonal change. Antihistamines are designed to decrease the moisture in the body, and some antidepressants have the same effect, leading to vaginal irritation and vaginal dryness.
Immune disorders, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also culprits in vaginal dryness. Sjogren's Syndrome, an immune disorder hallmarked by a decrease in fluids of the body, or treatment for certain cancers can also lead to vaginal pain, dryness, and itching.
Frequent douching affects the chemical balance of vaginal tissue, and instead of correcting the problem of vaginal dryness, can actually make it worse.
The hallmark symptoms of a dry vagina are vaginal itching, pain or burning. Sex can be quite uncomfortable without proper lubrication, leading to vaginal burning and a decreased interest in sex. Estrogen levels are very important in maintaining the health of vaginal tissue, keeping it flexible and elastic. A decrease in hormonal levels affects this and the sensitive chemical balance needed in order to maintain proper vaginal health.
Being aware of the causes of vaginal dryness can help women avoid the symptoms. Keeping well-hydrated by drinking enough water and using over-the-counter lubricants are only two ways to ease symptoms of a dry vagina. Doctors can provide other remedies, to include an estrogen cream or tablet to help maintain healthy tissue.
In some cases, especially if a woman is experiencing other symptoms of menopause or perimenopause, the period of time just before menopause occurs, a doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy. Keep in mind not all women are candidates for this kind of treatment, but it may be helpful in staving off vaginal dryness and associated unpleasantness.