Though vaginal dryness is a very common issue, especially after menopause, the majority of women who experience this problem don't feel comfortable discussing it—even with their doctors. In fact, some may not realize that it's in their power to overcome it and regain control of their sex lives again.
Given that vaginal dryness affects approximately 50 percent of post-menopausal women, it's clear that more must be done to educate women about personal lubricants, medication and other treatments that can help.
Recently, the AARP reported on a study conducted at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, indicating that many women with vaginal dryness "suffer silently." Study leader Sheryl Kingsberg and her colleagues surveyed more than 3,000 women between 45 and 75 and found that 60 percent of participants had experienced this common side effect of menopause, but just 44 percent of these women consulted a physician about it.
The leading cause for this silence, according to Kingsberg, was embarrassment.
"There is a tremendous lack of communication around vaginal discomfort," Kingsberg said, noting that this could be responsible for the number of undiagnosed and undertreated cases.
The figures from this study are a slight improvement from a 2009 international survey which showed that 7 in 10 women around the world felt uncomfortable speaking up about their vaginal dryness.
Postmenopausal women aren't the only ones who experience this condition, which can make physical intimacy uncomfortable and even painful. The Mayo Clinic notes that women of all ages can develop this issue. However, by consulting a physician or investing in female lubricant, you can keep this problem from holding you back.