The causes of vaginal dryness include hormone levels, medications, cancer treatments, emotional problems and rigorous exercise.
Atrophic vaginitis is caused by decreased estrogen levels. Estrogen plays an important role in making the clear fluid that lubricates the tissues of the vagina and usually decreases following menopause. Estrogen levels also temporarily drop immediately following childbirth and while breast feeding.
Other causes of vaginal dryness include:
- Shrinking or thinning of tissue of the vagina
- Medications for breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids or infertility that can decrease estrogen levels
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatments of the pelvis
- Extreme stress
- Severe depression
- Heavy exercise routine
- Surgery to remove ovaries
- Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease the causes dryness in the mouth and eyes and can affect the vagina
Risk factors for vaginal dryness include use of some soaps, laundry detergents, perfumes and lotions. Douching, smoking, tampons and condoms are other causes of vaginal dryness.
Vaginal dryness is also caused by vulvovaginitis, an infection or inflammation of the vagina and vulva.