Vaginal dryness can seem like a sensitive or embarrassing symptom of menopause, but it is not an uncommon one. The symptom often brings with it slight pain, itching, and maybe even a spot of bleeding. Not only unpleasant, vaginal dryness can also impact a woman's sense of femininity and could also have a detrimental effect on her libido. Thankfully, this is not a symptom that you have to live with, or one that has to hinder your sex life. Read on to understand why vaginal dryness occurs and what you can do to cure it.
Why Does Vaginal Dryness Occur?
A drop in estrogen levels during menopause causes the tissues and lips of the vagina to become thinner and dry - a condition called atrophy. When this happens, secretion levels in the vagina decrease, lowering the production of vaginal lubrication and creating dryness in the vagina. Keep reading to learn natural ways of rebalancing your hormone levels and steps to cure the symptom.
Adjust your diet
Incorporating hormonally beneficial nutrients into your diet is a natural way of boosting your body's estrogen. Soy products (e.g., tofu and soymilk) and black cohosh - a perennial herb available from health food stores and online retailers in teabag form - both contain phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that act like estrogen in the body, and they have been found to help regulate the hormonal imbalances that cause vaginal dryness.
Consider your underwear
Synthetic materials (e.g., lace) in clingy styles, such as G-strings and thongs, are likely to restrict blood flow around the vagina and aggravate discomfort and itchiness further in addition to increasing the risk of infection. Try to wear comfortably fitting underwear made of breathable fabrics like cotton, which are less irritating on the skin than materials like lace and polyester.
Avoid harsh soaps
Using soaps, shower gel, or bath oils when washing intimately can exacerbate the effects of vaginal dryness. When washing, either use a soap-free cleanser or simply wash with lukewarm water, both of which are considerably milder on the vagina than fragranced products.
Have regular sex
When a woman is aroused, the blood vessels in the vagina receive increased blood flow and secrete lubrication; regular sex will stimulate the habitual production of this secretion. Sex doesn't have to be uncomfortable if you are suffering with vaginal dryness; both partners should apply a water-based lubricant before penetration to reduce discomfort.
Use natural moisturizers
You don't need to spend a lot of money on expensive and artificial vaginal creams. It may seem unlikely, but products that you can often find in your kitchen, such as olive oil and coconut oil, moisturize and reduce aggravation in the vagina when applied regularly.
Use herbal supplements
When consumed regularly for an extended period of time, certain herbal supplements boost the body's internal hormone system to counter vaginal dryness naturally. Hormone-regulating herbal supplements nourish the endocrine glands with vitamins and minerals to improve their functionality and promote the natural production of estrogen.
You do not have to tolerate the discomfort of vaginal dryness or allow it to greatly impact your personal life. It would be easy to dismiss the symptom as an inevitable consequence of hormonal imbalances and menopause, so it's important to remember that your diet and lifestyle also affect the condition and influence hormone production in your body. A few lifestyle alterations and the implementation of nourishing herbal products can rid you of vaginal dryness naturally. Navigate below to learn everything about Vaginal dryness and the different ways to treat it.
- Ehrlich, S.D. (2011). Black cohosh. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved January 24, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/black-cohosh
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Sex after the menopause. Retrieved January 24, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/women4060/pages/sex-after-the-menopause.aspx