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Vaginal Dryness

Less lubrication may mean more painful intercourse.

Hemera/Thinkstock

When estrogen departs, it takes a lot of moisture with it. That hormone is responsible for a surprising number of jobs, and one of them is helping with the production of oil and sealing moisture in the skin.

And while women in perimenopause may have been prepared to add a rich face cream to their makeup bag, they may not have been expecting dryness in more intimate areas.

Vaginal dryness isn't a sign of sexual inadequacy or dysfunction on a woman or her partner's part. It's simply biological fact, the result of thinner, drier vaginal tissue. The problem is that it can make sex painful.

There are plenty of options to try for a woman who's looking to regain some of that lubrication, in pill, cream, ring, tablet and gel form -- whatever you need. Some are over the counter, such as a lubricant like Astroglide or a vaginal moisturizer like Replens. Others, such as a vaginal estrogen preparation, require a prescription. A gynecologist can help you find a treatment that works for you.

The symptom on the next page is another result of biology, one that many women don't enjoy.

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