Vagina cracking, especially after sexual intercourse, can be extremely distressing. It may occur due to low estrogen levels, infections or other conditions. These symptoms worry many women, although they may not seek medical advice due to embarrassment. This article aims to provide an understanding of the main causes of vaginal inflammations and cracking.
Causes of Cracking in the Vagina
As there are several reasons for cracking and fissures in the vaginal area; being aware of some of these causes may be helpful in identifying the reason behind the problem.
- Low estrogen levels - Menopausal women may experience cracking of the vagina along with vaginal dryness. This is due to low estrogen levels due to menopause. Estrogen plays a significant role in lubricating the vagina and enabling comfortable sexual intercourse. Low estrogen levels cause thinning of the vaginal tissue and vaginal dryness. This in turn, causes pain when having sexual intercourse resulting in cracks and fissures around the vagina.
- Infection - Many fungus and bacteria are present in the vagina. This is a normal process. However, certain circumstances aid in increasing bacteria and fungus growth in the vagina, causing infections. The most common infection causing vaginal fissures and cracking of the vagina are yeast infections. Candida albicans is a yeast-like fungus present in any moist, dark area of the body. Yeast infections such as this occur due to an overgrowth of normal fungi in the vagina. It may also occur when taking antibiotics, having diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and being obese or pregnant.
- Intercourse without lubrication - One of the most common causes of vagina cracking and fissures is intercourse without proper lubrication. Friction from latex condoms may also cause tears that result in pain. Once a tear occurs in the vagina, any activity such as exercise, clothing, etc. may aggravate the situation. Therefore, women who suffer constantly with this problem should not consider sexual intercourse without proper lubrication.
- Herpes simplex virus - Cracks in the vagina with or without pain may be seen if infected with the herpes simplex virus. However, symptoms of herpes vary in each person. Some may experience other symptoms without any cracking in the vagina. Painful sores may develop in the vaginal area along with swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin area. Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease and once infected cannot be cured.
Treating Vaginal Cracking
The treatment of vagina cracking depends on the underlying cause. Women experiencing vaginal fissures and cracking due to low estrogen levels may be able to solve the problem by considering hormone replacement therapy. Infections of the vagina may be treated according to the condition. For example, women experiencing cracking and fissures and pain due to a bacterial infection may obtain antibiotics. Women with fungal infections should consider topical antifungal medications. Over-the-counter medications should be avoided unless recommended by a doctor. Women experiencing tears and fissures in the vagina due to unsuitable lubrication should purchase and apply lubricating products before penetration to avoid further tears to the vagina. Herpes cannot be eradicated from the body. However, antiviral medication may assist in reducing the length and strength of the infection.
Often, cracks and tears in the vagina may not be serious issues. Care should be taken to facilitate healing and also to avoid infections. It is always beneficial to consider a medical examination before taking any medication.