Vaginal dryness, or atrophic vaginitis, is a common problem for many women, but it doesn't mean you have to suffer. Read up on our natural remedies to help provide relief downstairs and learn more about ways to combat vaginal dryness.
How To Help Vaginal Dryness: Causes, Prevention and Tips For Comfort
Vaginal dryness, or atrophic vaginitis as it’s known, is an issue that affects women of all ages and life-stages, especially postmenopausal women. Although this is a common problem, it’s rarely discussed and few know that there are many natural ways to resolve the matter.
But, left untreated, it may impact on physical or psychological wellbeing. It may affect your sex life, and/or cause discomfort in the pelvic and vaginal regions.
When it comes to knowing how to help vaginal dryness, it’s first import to understand the issue and ways to prevent it. In this feature we’re going to take a look into some of the most commonly asked questions and concerns surrounding vaginal dryness, and ways to help combat it.
What exactly is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal moisture plays an important role in keeping the vagina supple and clean, while removing dead cells at the same time. When you experience less lubrication than normal (for you), this is classified as vaginal dryness.
It can also manifest in other symptoms, such as; vaginal burning, itching, pain and/or soreness. According to the NHS, reoccurring urinary tract infections, the need to pee more than usual, and discomfort during sex, may also be indicators of dryness.
This may leave you wondering ‘is vaginal dryness normal?’ – rest assured it is – with as many as half of all menopausal women experiencing this issue.
Why is my vagina dry, and is vaginal dryness normal?
There are a number of reasons why some women experience vaginal dryness, it is a common problem. Quite often, these are in response to hormonal changes. Here’s some of the most popular reasons:
Breastfeeding: women who are breastfeeding may notice vaginal dryness, as well as sensitivity or tightness. This is a result of hormone fluctuations, particularly lower levels of oestrogen.
Contraceptive pill: the birth control pill is taken by millions of women around the world. One of the side-effects for some types, is that it can lower a woman’s testosterone levels, resulting in vaginal dryness.
Medication: certain medication or cancer treatments (like chemotherapy) may impact your body’s natural balance.
Lack of sexual arousal: it’s also worth noting that vaginal dryness in your sex life is common, if you have not reached an arousal state. In a study, as many as 17 per cent of women (aged 18-50) experienced dryness during sex.
Dehydration: Whatever is happening to your skin on the outside, is likely to reflect on the inside. Ergo, being dehydrated can have a knock-on effect on your vaginal moisture levels. Once again, this may manifest in itching or yeast infections.
Menopause: women going through the menopause are most likely to suffer with vaginal dryness. During this transition, tissues around the vagina become thinner, and more easier to irritate. At the same time, women experience a natural decline in oestrogen levels, which all add up to dryness downstairs.
Hysterectomy: one of the implications of having a hysterectomy, is that a woman is no longer able to produce oestrogen. This can result in discomfort, as well as painful intercourse, impacting on dryness.
So, if you’ve ever wondered ‘why is my vagina dry?’, it could be for any of these reasons.
How can I decrease vaginal dryness?
While vaginal dryness is a common problem for women, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. There are many natural remedies, to help women.
- Drink lots of water: to stay hydrated, it’s advised to drink between six and eight glasses of fluid a day.
- Review your diet: diet has an impact on our overall wellbeing. It is understood that a diet high in fatty acids may help with the production of vaginal lubrication. Some examples of these foods include nuts and seeds (flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts) and seafood - especially cold-water fatty fish like tuna and salmon. Although supplements are no substitute for a well-balanced diet, Vitamin A and B supplements and beta-carotene, are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which may help.
- Foreplay in your sex life: if you experience a lack of vaginal moisture during sex, foreplay can help to stimulate lubrication and increase blood flow to the vaginal tissues. Regular sexual activity (alone or with a partner) can help to combat this issue too.
- Pelvic exercise: some studies suggest that pelvic floor muscle training may help to improve some of the symptoms around vaginal dryness. To make sure you’re doing these correctly, there’s plenty of helpful instructional videos on YouTube.
- Avoid certain products: your vaginal ecosystem is delicate and designed to be self-cleaning. Douching and personal hygiene products, as well as some sanitary products, may contain fragrances or ingredients that can irritate or dry out your vaginal tissue.
As a footnote, if you decide (or are advised) to go down the medical route, there are also some oestrogen creams and treatments and over-the-counter treatments.
What to use for a dry vagina?
If you’re wondering how to help vaginal dryness, there’s a number of natural remedies on the market that can be applied.
Natural oils are a popular natural remedy, as they can alleviate some of the symptoms of dryness and help with lubrication. But, any products applied to your vagina should be safe and intended for that use.
Specifically look for 100% natural products that are fragrance free, designed to provide relief from discomfort for application on intimate areas. NESSA Vagina Victory Oil is the perfect example of this, which can be used pre or post pregnancy, or during menopause. Used daily, it can help to improve elasticity and reduce dryness.
Vaginal dryness is a common problem with women of all ages. However, there are a number of natural remedies that can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with a lack of vaginal moisture. And while it’s rarely a serious issue, do consult a professional caregiver if you are concerned or have ongoing symptoms.