Common and uncomfortable, vaginal dryness and itching is one of the most frequent menopausal symptoms that women report. Alongside hot flashes, night sweats, and irregular periods, vaginal dryness is one of the major symptoms of menopause.
If your vaginal dryness is causing pain, itching, discomfort, or lowering the quality of the sex that you have, then you should consult a doctor. A doctor can offer your advice that is specific to what you are experiencing, and prescribe you estrogen replacement that can be applied to the vagina. If you choose not to take hormones, over the counter moisturizers and lubricants are available. General lifestyle changes and eating a healthy diet can also help.
Foods to Boost Vaginal Health
Your diet plays a role in vaginal health. However, not much research has been done that shows the connection between diet and vaginal health and dryness. However, many women have reported that consuming more soy and flaxseed, which are rich in phytoestrogens, have helped combat vaginal dryness and other menopausal symptoms.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that act like estrogen in the human body. This can have a wide range of effects, including diminishing menopausal side effects like vaginal dryness. Phytoestrogens work by disrupting the endocrine system, which produces hormones. Because they act like estrogen, phytoestrogens may help relieve menopausal symptoms. However, more research continues to be done to understand the full range of effects phytoestrogens have on hormones and human health.
Easing Vaginal Dryness and Itching
There are a variety of things you can look towards for dealing with this problem. These include:
Many women rely on using lubricant before penetrative sex in old to create natural moisture and reduce friction. Lubricant is not absorbed into the vagina and is usually used just before sex.
Using natural lubricants, such as olive oil and coconut oil, are becoming trendy and are also safe to use. However, these oils can be difficult to clean up, and any oil-based lubricant should not be used with a condom, because they are prone to break condoms.
Usually water-based lubricants are recommended to women because they do not cause condoms to break. Oil-based lubricants are also known to increase the chances of getting a vaginal infection. Both types of lubricants are available over-the-counter at drugs stores.
Although you should not force yourself to have sex or have sex if it is painful, sexual intercourse boosts blood flow to the vagina. This increased blood flow is good for the vagina and can increase how much natural moisture it produces.
Vaginas naturally clean themselves. This means that adding soaps and other bath products to the mix, especially if they are scented, can increase your risk for infections and disturb the vagina's natural pH level. An itchy and uncomfortable vagina are signs of an infection, such as a yeast infection, so if symptoms persist it is important to see a doctor. Click here for more information about treatments for vaginal dryness and itching.
- Patisaul, H. B., & Jefferson, W. (2010). The pros and cons of phytoestrogens. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 31(4), 400-419. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.yfrne.2010.03.003
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2012). Vaginal Dryness. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginal-dryness/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20029192