Vaginal dryness is frequently associated with menopause and the hormonal imbalance that often takes place during that transition, but it can be a problem for women at any age. Vaginal dryness tends to be accompanied by a burning or itching sensation, painful intercourse, and increased urination.
Nearly 80% of women suffer from vaginal dryness at some point, and its causes are wide and varied. The problem can be treated once the symptoms are recognized. Lifestyle changes combined with herbal remedies are often the best way to cure vaginal dryness.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
A deficiency or drop in the hormone estrogen is the main cause of vaginal dryness and the reason this problem occurs during menopause. With the right amount of estrogen, the vaginal walls are moist, elastic, flexible, strong, and protected. However, when this balance is altered, the vaginal walls become thinner and moisture is lost, which results in vaginal dryness. Part of menopause is a decrease in estrogen levels. However, menopause is not the only reason you could be experiencing changes in hormone levels that lead to vaginal dryness. Other main reasons this could occur include:
- Immune disorders
- Radiation or chemotherapy
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
In addition, certain medicines - such as those for colds and allergies - can reduce levels of moisture and trigger vaginal dryness. Emotional problems or medical conditions can also lead to this symptom. You do not need to live with vaginal dryness. Read on to discover more about herbal remedies and supplements for vaginal dryness.
Herbal Remedies and Supplements for Vaginal Dryness
When the vagina and its walls have an inadequate supply of lubrication due to infection or an imbalance in the levels of progesterone and estrogen, the area can become uncomfortable and painful. Alongside moisturizers and lubricants, there are herbal remedies that can be used to effectively treat the condition. Herbal remedies include:
A perennial plant native to North America, black cohosh was used by Native Americans to treat gynecological problems and is currently used to lighten menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness. This is a phytoestrogenic herb similar to the Chinese herb dong quai, which helps relieve vaginal dryness by introducing plant-based estrogen into the body.
Generally, women in cultures that incorporate a lot of soy into their diet suffer less from menopause symptoms. This could mean that adding or increasing the amount of tofu, soybeans, soymilk, and edamame in your diet is beneficial in alleviating vaginal dryness.
An alternative to phytoestrogen herbs, these don't contain any estrogen, but instead nourish hormonal glands to help them produce the proper amounts of natural estrogen to keep your body healthy. An example of this is Macafem.
Parsley, vitamin C, anise, and fennel are believed to ease the pain and discomfort of vaginal dryness and increase general gynecological health. Make sure to see a physician to find out how to use these therapies and the proper dosage for your needs. Click on the following link to learn more about vaginal dryness.
- "Vaginal Dryness". Mayo Clinic Health Resource. 2007
- "Vulvovaginal Symptoms". The Changing Body: Menopause Handbook. www.menopause.org
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.