Menopause has a number of symptoms, one of the most frequent of which is vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness, when the vagina does not produce sufficient levels of lubrication, can lead to painful intercourse. It's often accompanied by stinging or itching. However, because of its prevalence in menopausal women, there are many different treatment options available.
How Do You Manage Vaginal Dryness?
There are many treatments that can help relieve vaginal dryness. These range from lifestyle changes to natural supplements and alternative treatments. Some simple lifestyle changes you can make include:
- Avoiding douching
- Wearing cotton underwear
Additionally, there are many types of lotions and creams that you can use to lubricate your vagina prior to sex, including:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Vitamin E
- Water soluble creams
You can get these lubricants at your local drugstore.
Be aware that using things oil-based substances, like vaseline, may harm or dissolve the latex in a condom, rendering it ineffective. Read the details of the creams before you use them, or ask your local pharmacist.
You can also try a vaginal moisturizer, applied several times throughout the week, to maintain a healthy vagina. Each woman is different, and some methods will be more effective for certain individuals than others.
Diet Tips to Help Ease Vaginal Dryness
Creams, moisturizers, and lubricants are good for a quick fix, but for long-term vaginal health, it's important to address the root cause of vaginal dryness, estrogen imbalance. In addition, incorporating some foods to your diet may help to alleviate the effects of vaginal dryness. These include:
- Nuts. Tree nuts are high in fatty acids and many essential nutrients
- Fish. Omega-3 is key in reducing the signs and symptoms of menopause. Try salmon filets or canned tuna to reduce vaginal dryness.
- Water. Hydration is imperative. Drinking the equivalent of eight glasses of water a day should be the aim.
- Soy. Soybean products are high in plant estrogens and are widely used to treat many menopausal symptoms.
- Fruits and veggies. Easy additions to your diet are fruit and vegetables. Any food that comes with natural water is a plus.
Eating a balanced diet should be a key component of a woman's life, whether in menopause, adolescence, or anywhere in between. However, it's also important to keep stress levels low and exercise regularly. The addition of Kegel exercises to your daily routine can strengthen your vaginal muscles and keep the area healthy. Read on for more information about the different vaginal dryness treatments available.
- "Vaginal Dryness". Mayo Clinic Health Resource. 2007
- The Changing Body: Menopause Handbook.(n.d)."Vulvovaginal Symptoms". Retrieved from www.menopause.org
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.