Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is a condition characterized uncomfortable pain and discomfort when vaginal tissue is not well lubricated. Although it can occur at any age, it is more common in older women, especially menopausal and post-menopausal women.
Women who have vaginal dryness usually experience pain or discomfort during intercourse, which may affect their sexual relationship their partner. Additionally, the condition can predispose women to bacterial or yeast infections.
Several factors, including medications and immune disorders, can contribute to vaginal dryness. If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, it would help to see your doctor so that they can help you determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition. If you do not wish to take hormone treatment, you can discuss alternative methods with your doctor.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness occurs naturally in menopausal and postmenopausal women. Here are some frequent causes:
Decreased Estrogen Level
Estrogen is a reproductive hormone that is responsible for the health of a woman’s reproductive tract throughout her life. It helps to maintain vaginal lubrication, acidity levels, and elasticity.
Consequently, a decrease in estrogen levels results in thinning of the vaginal walls. Additionally, the vaginal walls become less elastic, and the vagina produces less lubrication.
A decrease in estrogen levels has been described in several instances. Besides the perimenopausal and postmenopausal periods, decreases in estrogen levels can also occur after childbirth and during breastfeeding periods.
Other conditions that predispose women to low estrogen levels include smoking, ovariectomy (surgical removal of one or both ovaries), anti-cancer treatment, or certain immune disorders.
Some medications, including anti-allergic and chemotherapy drugs, can cause general body dryness, including vaginal dryness.
Other Less Common Causes
In some rare cases, a disruption of the natural chemical balance, which keeps the vagina clean and healthy, can cause vaginal dryness. This can happen when you use a vaginal cleanser or douche. While you might be thinking you’re helping yourself, these products can instead cause vaginal inflammation and dryness.
Another less common cause of vaginal dryness is Sjögren’s syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder. Women with this disorder experience eye and mouth dryness and can also experience dryness in the vagina.
You need to visit your doctor so that they can examine you and perform tests to determine the underlying cause. Your doctor will discuss your treatment options after determining the cause of the dryness.
Although estrogen therapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment, your doctor might discuss alternative options with you. Besides, hormone therapy is not suitable for all women, particularly those who have a medical history of cancer.
Drug-Free Treatments for Vaginal Dryness
Some alternatives to estrogen therapy can provide relief, and you can try these before opting for estrogen replacement therapy.
Aim for water-based lubricants, which can help add moisture to the vaginal mucosa. These are a good choice when you experience discomfort during intercourse, as they can keep the vagina moisturized for several hours.
Vaginal lubricants can effectively relieve discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse for women with mild to moderate vaginal dryness, especially those who cannot receive estrogen, or who choose not to use estrogen.
You should choose a vaginal lubricant that is optimally balanced and is physiologically similar to natural vaginal secretions. If you need help with this, it is advisable that you talk to a healthcare practitioner before purchasing a lubricant.
Natural Vaginal Moisturizers
Natural moisturizers such as coconut and olive oil can hydrate the vagina due to their vitamin E content. These can be applied to the vagina to provide instant relief, and a single application can provide relief for a couple of days.
Soybeans and Soy Foods
Soybeans and soyfoods are rich in isoflavones, which are known to have an estrogen-like effect, though weaker. Consequently, by consuming foods rich in soy, you may experience an improvement in your symptoms.
Researchers are still investigating the effect of soybeans and until now, there is no known ideal dose or source. Soy foods include tofu or soymilk.
Some women have reported an improvement in their symptoms after using creams containing wild yams. Nevertheless, there is no strong scientific evidence supporting the use of these creams in reducing symptoms associated with vaginal dryness. Additionally, researchers have not identified estrogen or progesterone-like activities in extracts of wild yam.
Some women use this herbal supplement to relieve menopausal symptoms. However, there are no clinical data that show the effectiveness of this supplement in reducing symptoms associated with vaginal dryness.
Lifestyle Changes to Consider
Certain lifestyle changes can help alleviate the symptoms of vaginal dryness.
While vaginal dryness can make sexual intercourse an unpleasant experience, regular sex actually promotes natural vaginal lubrication.
Wen a woman is aroused, blood flow to her vaginal tissues increases, subsequently leading to the production of moisture. Foreplay is essential to building sufficient arousal so that the woman can feel comfortable during sex and enjoy it.
Change Your Washing Products
You don’t need to use scented products (shower gels, soaps) or vaginal cleansers to have a clean vagina. The chemicals produced by your vagina enable it to self-clean. The normal bacterial flora in your vagina also helps you fight off infections.
By using vaginal cleansers and shower gels or soaps, you may be doing yourself more harm than good in that they can cause vaginal tissue irritation and lead to infections. These products can also upset the normal balance in your vaginal and exacerbate vaginal dryness and pain.
Ditch these products and instead use lukewarm water and a soft cloth to wash your genital area.
Wear Comfortable Underwear
If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, it may help to wear 100% cotton underwear. You should avoid tight/clingy underwear and non-breathable and synthetic fabrics such as polyester and lace, which are more likely to irritate your vaginal area.
Although most women have experienced vaginal dryness and pain at some point in life, it’s typically caused by inevitable hormonal changes during menopause.
It is important that you see a doctor if you experience vaginal dryness because you can get the best results if the underlying cause is identified and treated.
If receiving hormone therapy is a problem, you should not hesitate to discuss other options with your doctor. Fortunately, there are other strategies that you can try at home that are easy, healthy, and safe to optimize vaginal lubrication.
Medical disclaimer: The information provided here is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your doctor or pharmacist. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be interpreted to indicate that use of any drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any drug, making modifications to your diet or starting or discontinuing your treatment.