Tips for Dealing With Vaginal Dryness in Sjogren’s Syndrome
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that causes symptoms such as dryness in the mouth and throat, eyes, skin, and other organs, including those in the reproductive system. The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the secretory glands, leading to reduced secretion and causing irritation, soreness, and pain.
Vaginal dryness is a common symptom in pre- and post-menopausal women with Sjogren’s syndrome. It can cause soreness or itching around the vagina, pain or discomfort during intercourse (dyspareunia), the urge to urinate more than usual, or frequent urinary tract infections.
Here are some tips for dealing with vaginal dryness if you have been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome.
Identify the cause of vaginal dryness
Avoid perfumed soaps and gels
The vagina has a mechanism of automatically cleaning itself via natural secretions. Do not use perfumed soaps, gels, douches, and antiseptics to clean your vagina as these can disturb normal vaginal bacteria and affect pH levels, resulting in dryness.
A bathing routine using plain, unscented soap to gently wash the area around the vagina should be enough to maintain proper hygiene.
Try vaginal moisturizers and lubricants
Consider estrogen therapy
Your gynecologist can prescribe an estrogen topical cream (Estrace), tablet (Vagifem), or ring (Estring) to treat symptoms of vaginal dryness associated with Sjogren’s syndrome. If you’re a current or past breast cancer patient, consult your doctor before using topical estrogen therapies.
Practice safe sex
Unprotected sex carries the risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis, which can affect the vagina and cause dryness. Using condoms during sex can help prevent the transmission of such infections.
Undergo cervical screening
Last updated: Jan. 30, 2020
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