What Causes Vaginal Dryness & How To Treat It?
You’re a woman with things to do and places to be, so the last obstacle you want in the way of your workout session, big work conference, or date night is vaginal itching, dryness, and discomfort. Surprisingly, vaginal dryness is fairly common, and over 50 percent of women over the age of fifty experience it. While you can always talk to a trusted doctor or OB/GYN about what could be causing your specific case of vaginal dryness, a few common causes could be to blame. Read on to find out what could be causing this inconvenient problem, and we will even suggest some home remedies for dryness that will get you back to normal in no time.
If you’re a woman over fifty, it’s important to note that vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause. Vaginal atrophy, which makes the vaginal walls thinner, is another symptom of menopause that can lead to vaginal drying, inflammation, and pain during sex. Menopause also decreases estrogen levels in women, worsening vaginal inflammation and dryness.
If you aren’t fifty years or older and going through menopause, or even if you are, your vaginal dryness could be caused by another issue like a yeast infection, urinary tract infection, STD, or even a contraceptive such as an IUD or birth control pill. If you’re on special medications for an allergy or cold, acne, cancer, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis, these can often include vaginal dryness as a side effect. The vagina can even become irritated and dry from certain waxing and shaving methods, douching or putting scented soaps near your vagina, or if you suffer from increased levels of anxiety and stress.
If you’re experiencing dryness and pain specifically during intercourse, remember not to place lotions or scented soaps near your vagina as lubricant—these will only make dryness worse. Instead, use a water-based lubricant and take your time. Other home remedies for dryness include natural lubricants such as jojoba, coconut oil, and aloe vera for something a bit different and still safe.
It’s important to note the difference between vaginal lubricants and vaginal moisturizers. A vaginal lubricant can be helpful for vaginal dryness, specifically during intercourse and can be used on you and a partner. On the other hand, Moisturizers are focused on keeping the vaginal tissue moist and can be applied every two to three days. If you choose to use a vaginal moisturizer, check the ingredients list and ensure that it is all-natural and free of synthetic dyes or chemicals. Any vaginal moisturizer you choose should be water-based, and some even contain supportive ingredients like Vitamin E and aloe vera.
Unfortunately, menopause is unavoidable, and so are certain medications that keep us as women safe and healthy. But don’t worry—vaginal itching and dryness are treatable. You don’t have to live with this! If you’re going through menopause, you can talk to your doctor about estrogen hormone therapy. Supplementary estrogen is available in the ring, tablet, and cream format, all of which are applied directly onto your vagina, so you don’t have to worry about taking a pill. There are also estrogen alternatives in skin patches or implants under the skin.
It can be embarrassing to talk to a doctor about vaginal itching and dryness, even if they are a trusted OB/GYN. As an alternative, there are a few natural methods to treat vaginal dryness that you can do at home. The most accessible home remedies for dryness involve changing your diet. Foods such as soybeans, chickpeas, pistachios, peanuts, and apples have been known to help with declining estrogen levels since they contain isoflavones, which have estrogen-like properties. Soybeans, soy products, and flaxseed also contain natural estrogens. In addition, foods high in Omega-3 like fish, raw pumpkin, and sunflower seeds can also help increase vaginal lubrication.
Sweet potatoes are great for protecting thin vaginal walls through menopause, while cranberry juice, probiotics, and yogurt help maintain your vaginal pH levels.
It can be challenging to remember to eat all of these helpful fruits, vegetables, meats, and proteins in one day. The easiest way to ensure your vaginal pH is balanced and your vaginal walls are protected, and well-lubricated is to take a multi-vitamin. Vitamins A, B, and E are essential for vaginal health. It may help find a multi-vitamin designed explicitly for women going through menopause.
A lack of sleep and dehydration can also cause vaginal dryness and irritation alongside a host of other health issues, so make sure you’re adequately hydrated and well-rested and implement these other home remedies for dryness.
Vaginal dryness and itching can be an embarrassing problem, especially if you’re already experiencing hot flashes and other startling changes due to menopause. But don’t worry—you’re not alone, and there are plenty of home remedies for dryness that is easy to incorporate into your daily routine.