When it comes to menopause symptoms, vaginal dryness is among the more unpleasant to experience. Changes in hormone levels during perimenopause can cause the vaginal tissues to become thin, lose elasticity, and secrete less moisture, resulting in a feeling of itchy, sore dryness. Luckily, there are a number of natural ways to help with vaginal dryness, one of which is exercise. Regular exercise boosts physical strength in the body, which can help it to fight off infections and other aggravations, including dryness. Try these low-impact activities to help promote sound vaginal health.
Sex not only works out all sorts of muscles in the body, but it is also a natural antidote to vaginal dryness. When a woman is aroused, blood flow to her genitals increases, thus stimulating the natural secretion of moisture in the vaginal tissues to help remedy dryness. Communicate with your partner about increasing the amount of sexual foreplay (e.g. kissing, caressing, and oral stimulation) to ensure you are fully aroused before intercourse.
If you find that sex is uncomfortable or painful due to dryness, try incorporating a water-based lubricant into foreplay, which can relieve dryness.
Like many other functions in the body, healthy vaginal tissues can be boosted by regular aerobic exercise. Working out for 30 minutes a day, five times a week increases the strength of the body in terms of fitness, disease prevention, and ability to fight infection. To help with vaginal dryness, any form of moderate intensity exercise that makes you slightly warm and breathless will help; try a yoga class, walking briskly, or jogging.
While swimming is an excellent form of exercise, it is best to avoid this with vaginal dryness because the chemicals used in swimming pools are likely to exacerbate the condition.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Strengthening pelvic floor muscles with exercises known as Kegels will help to promote the healthy function of vaginal tissues and - conveniently - these can be done wherever, whenever, without anyone else noticing. Your pelvic floor muscles are the ones you would use to stop the flow while urinating. To strengthen them, squeeze them tight, hold for ten seconds, then release for ten seconds. Do ten repetitions of this, three to five times a day to notice an improvement in vaginal muscle tone in four to six weeks.
The great thing about these exercises is that all three will not only help remedy dryness; they'll do wonders for your general well-being, too. Remember that, while the suggested activities help improve vaginal heath over time, there are natural vaginal moisturizers that can provide relief for immediate discomfort, and it's important to follow a healthy diet. The multitude of treatment options available mean that, while this menopause symptom may be unpleasant, it does not have to be permanent.
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Sex after the menopause. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/women4060/Pages/sex-after-the-menopause.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). Pelvic floor muscle training exercises: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003975.htm
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vaginal dryness. Retrieved February 25, 2014, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000892.htm