Vaginal dryness is one of the most common symptoms of menopause, and if left untreated, it can greatly impact a woman's confidence and quality of life. Vaginal dryness can cause vaginal atrophy, thinner vaginal walls, pain during sex, and general discomfort. Fortunately, there are various ways to relieve this condition and to increase the moistness and overall strength of the vaginal area.
Use a Hormone Cream
Estrogen therapy can be inserted into the vagina, either as a cream or a suppository. Estrogen has been shown to support vaginal health. However, it can have some side effects, so it is important to talk with your doctor before you start taking it.
Try a Vaginal Moisturizer
Vaginal moisturizers are available over the counter and do not contain estrogen. Vaginal moisturizers are used on a regular basis and absorbed into the vaginal tissue to help increase moisture in the area.
Consider Changing Your Hygiene Products
Many of the chemicals or perfumes that are commonly found in bathing and laundry products can cause irritation in the vaginal area. Try to avoid contact between the vagina and oil-based products, bubble bath, soaps, and hand creams. The vagina naturally cleans itself, so using scented soaps or douches on the area can further irritate vaginal dryness and lead to infections. Opting for scent-free or natural products can be helpful.
Sex Can Help
During sex, the mucus glands are stimulated, which helps to make the vaginal area moist. Regular stimulation also increases blood flow to the genital area, which will improve vaginal health. Foreplay and masturbation also improve vaginal strength and health. Research has shown that regularly using a vibrator can improve vaginal health and overall satisfaction.
Use Over-the-counter Lubricant
Lube instantly moisten the vagina and decrease friction during intercourse. This means sex is less painful and therefore can be more enjoyable and comfortable. Most people use water-based lubricant, because other types of lubricant can break condoms and increase the risk of infections. Lubricant is usually applied right before or during sex. Lubricant differs from moisturizer because lubricant is not absorbed into the vagina and is only used before and during sex.
If vaginal dryness continues to bother you and lower your quality of life, it is important to speak with a doctor. If vaginal dryness is impacting your romantic relationships, it can be helpful to have an open and honest conversation so that your partner knows what you are experiencing. Click on the following link for more ways to relieve vaginal dryness.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2012). Vaginal Dryness. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginal-dryness/basics/definition/con-20029192
- North American Menopause Society. (2015). Vaginal and Vulvar Comfort: Lubricants, Moisturizers, and Low-dose Vaginal Estrogen. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/effective-treatments-for-sexual-problems/vaginal-and-vulvar-comfort-lubricants-moisturizers-and-low-dose-vaginal-estrogen