We spoke to Mr Nick Morris, Consultant Gynaecologist at Cromwell Hospital, to find out more about vaginal dryness and treatment options.

What is vaginal dryness?

Vaginal dryness (vaginal atrophy) is a common, but painful, issue that can affect women of all ages.

A dry vagina occurs when there is poor lubrication – which normally occurs around the menopause – and the vaginal skin or mucosa is thin or atrophic.

Symptoms of vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is characterised by a less lubricated vagina.

The resulting symptoms include:

  • pain during sex
  • soreness or itching in and around your vagina
  • needing to pee more often and bladder irritability
  • recurrent urinary tract infections

Causes of vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is caused by a reduction of the female hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen is the hormone that promotes a healthy vaginal blood supply and improves vaginal function and cell growth.

The most common time to develop vaginal dryness is at menopause.

Other causes include:

  • breastfeeding (temporary)
  • hysterectomy, or removal of ovaries (surgical menopause)
  • chemotherapy (Medical menopause)
  • chronic illnesses, including diabetes and autoimmune disease

Vaginal dryness can also be caused by fragranced body washes, soaps, or douches being used around or in the vagina.

How is vaginal dryness diagnosed?

If you are experiencing vaginal dryness and you are not sure of the cause, or it is causing you pain or discomfort, it is helpful to see a medical professional.

The doctor will not only take a detailed medical history but also will perform an internal examination to assess whether you have vaginal atrophy. You may well have blood tests to check hormone levels.

The doctor will discuss treatment options.

Vaginal dryness treatment

There are several excellent treatment options that can help with vaginal dryness, but it also depends on the cause of the dryness.


You can purchase vaginal lubricants or moisturisers without a prescription. However, if you are concerned about your symptoms or the cause of your vaginal dryness, it is important to talk to a medical professional first.

Non-fragranced soap

Changing to a non-fragranced body wash or soap may help improve your vaginal dryness.


Your doctor will explain your options, as the medication is not suitable for everyone.

MonaLisa Touch®

MonaLisa Touch® is an innovative CO2 laser which delivers local energy to the vaginal wall tissue. The laser stimulates the production of collagen and new blood vessels, restoring proper balance to the mucous membrane.

It is a quick and minimally invasive procedure, performed in an outpatient setting.

Your gynaecologist will discuss your treatment options after a clinical assessment to see if MonaLisa Touch® is the right option for you.

Find out more about MonaLisa Touch® >

Cromwell Hospital gynaecology service

Cromwell Hospital provides a comprehensive diagnostic service for all gynaecological conditions, using the latest technology and an on-site laboratory for fast, accurate test results.

In most cases we can offer same day diagnostic tests, including ultrasound, ensuring prompt and precise care from our dedicated team of leading gynaecologists in London.

Find out more about our gynaecology services >