Vaginal dryness can occur as estrogen levels fluctuate. Dryness occurs commonly with aging. However, in some women, vaginal dryness can occur during pregnancy, while nursing, or at certain times in the menstrual cycle. In addition, some disease states can cause vaginal dryness, such as Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease, which affects the body's moisture-producing glands.
A number of commercial products are available to counteract vaginal dryness, such as K-Y Jelly® (McNeil-PPC, Inc., Round Rock, Texas, U.S.A.) and Astroglide® (BioFilm, In., Vista, California, U.S.A.). These are water-soluble, glycerin-based products. Vegetable and olive oils are also used by some women, although these tend to be messy. Petroleum-based lubricants, such as petroleum jelly, can harbor bacteria and cause damage to latex condoms, rendering them ineffective against unplanned pregnancy and STDs.
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