Don't ignore vaginal dryness and pain

The condition is treatable, although treatments likely won't provide complete relief.


Image: © vchal/Getty Images

Vaginal dryness occurs in women of all ages, but it becomes much more common after menopause. It's estimated that the problem affects about half of postmenopausal women — most of whom, possibly as many as 90%, don't seek treatment for their symptoms, which include not only dryness, but also irritation and pain during sexual intercourse.

The North American Menopause Society and the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health refer to this combination of menopausal symptoms, which are brought on by a drop in the body's estrogen production, as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).

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