It is estimated that more than 14 million American women experience vulvar discomfort that generally affects many aspects of daily life, including intimacy. Vulvar discomfort can manifest in pain, itch and pronounced dryness on or around the vulva.
Hormonal changes can have a serious effect on vulvar skin. A decrease in estrogen has been linked to thinning skin, consequently making the vulva vulnerable. Such hormonal changes occur during menopause and can cause significant discomfort beyond just dryness.
A lesser known fact is that oral contraceptives lead to reduced estrogen levels. Therefore, even younger women experience vulvar discomfort. This is becoming more and more evident due to recent medical research. Certain drugs taken during breast cancer treatment can cause decreased estrogen levels, bringing about vulvar discomfort as well.
Vulvar discomfort can be real and is usually not "all in the mind.” Dealing with vulvar discomfort can lead to problems with partners and relationships by affecting intimacy. Ultimately, this can develop into emotional problems and low self-esteem issues.