Vaginal dryness is an issue that can cause all sorts of problems - not just physically, but emotionally, too. This itchy, painful condition might occur at any point in a woman's life, and it can be a constant source of distraction, undermining public composure, not to mention inhibiting sexual confidence and comfort. Vaginal dryness is particularly common in women approaching menopause, when hormonal changes cause the vaginal tissues to become thin, lose elasticity, and secrete less moisture. However, a woman's lifestyle also influences the symptom, and a change in habits could reduce vaginal dryness.
Have Sex More Often
Vaginal dryness doesn't have to mean the end of your sex life; on the contrary, having sex regularly is a natural antidote to the condition. When a woman is aroused, blood circulation to her vaginal tissues increases, which stimulates the natural secretion of moisture there. If sex is uncomfortable because of vaginal dryness, try incorporating a water-based lubricant into foreplay to provide instant relief from dryness and aid comfortable penetration.
Examine Your Intimate Washing Habits
Certain washing habits are bad for vaginal health. The vagina is a sensitive, delicately balanced area, with natural self-cleaning functions. This means you do not need to wash internally. In fact, internal washing can upset the balance of the vagina, making dryness more likely and yeast infections more frequent. For this reason, vaginal douching and the use of harsh soaps, fragranced body washes, and shower gels should be avoided when washing intimately; opt for gentle soap-free cleansers or lukewarm water instead.
Use Natural Oils
Applying olive oil or coconut oil topically to the vagina is a surprising, yet effective way of relieving dryness; these oils are excellent natural moisturizers due to their vitamin E content. Vitamin E is a naturally hydrating antioxidant that nourishes the vaginal tissues and stimulates the healthy production of lubrication there, while acting as a dryness-relieving lubricant in itself. Oils are an excellent alternative for reducing vaginal dryness.
Changing Washing Powder
Swap biological detergents for non-fragranced, non-biological powders when washing your underwear to avoid microorganisms causing infection or aggravating existing dryness when you wear them.
Consider Different Underwear
Clingy styles of underwear in synthetic materials, such as silk or lace, restrict air access to the vagina and make the chances of infection and dryness more likely. They also rub against and exacerbate the pain and itchiness of existing dryness. Switch your underwear; comfortably-fitting briefs in breathable fabrics like cotton are a far more hygienic choice. Read more about underwear and vaginal dryness.
Avoid Chemical Environments
The chemicals used in swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and hot tubs can dry out the vagina and make the pain of existing dryness worse, so consider avoiding these environments to help minimize the condition.
Although vaginal dryness is a source of irritation and discomfort, there is no reason for a woman to experience this on a long-term basis. A few small changes to your habits will quickly reduce vaginal dryness, and you will notice other benefits alongside this, such as an improved sex life and a boost in general genital health.
- Better Health Channel. (2013). Hysterectomy. Retrieved March 18, 2014, from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Hysterectomy?open
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Sex after the menopause. Retrieved March 18, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/women4060/Pages/sex-after-the-menopause.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2011). Vaginal dryness: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 18, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000892.htm