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Vaginal Atrophy: 8 Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is often common during and after menopause, but it can occur at any age for several reasons. The dryness of the vagina is usually due to low estrogen levels, which is the hormone that keeps the lining of the vagina thick, lubricated, and elastic. Vaginal dryness affects many women, but many do not pay attention to it, considering it a health ailment that can be treated without medical help. But, it is not always true. This dryness can result in severe pain during sexual intercourse, leading to a loss of sexual desire.
Therefore, each and every woman must go to recover vaginal dryness. There are several natural remedies for vaginal dryness to relieve the condition’s symptoms. Let’s have a look at how you can relieve vaginal dryness naturally without any side effects.
You will learn the following from this post:
- Meaning of vaginal dryness
- Causes of vaginal dryness
- Symptoms of vaginal dryness
- Diagnosing vaginal dryness
- Conventional treatments for vaginal dryness
- Natural remedies for vaginal dryness
Table of Contents
What is Vaginal Atrophy or Dryness?
Vaginal dryness, or genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), is a condition in which a moist layer of the vagina becomes extremely thin. Due to its secretions, this moist layer of the vagina is responsible for maintaining the alkaline environment for sperm and preventing friction against the vaginal walls during sexual intercourse. The thining of the layer causes the loss of secretion and results in vaginal dryness.
Vaginal dryness occurs mainly due to a decreased estrogen level. Mostly, estrogen level continues to fall after a specific age among women. Due to this reason, postmenopausal women having low estrogen are more prone to this condition.
Vaginal dryness, also known as vaginal atrophy, can negatively affect your sex life since it can result in uncomfortable sexual intercourse. As a result, you may not be willing to participate in sex or satisfied with it as you usually do. This condition may also affect your partner in the long run.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
As already mentioned, a drop in estrogen level is the primary cause of vaginal dryness. Estrogen is the sex hormone produced by the ovaries. It controls the development of the characteristics of the female body, such as body shape and breasts. Estrogen also plays a significant function in pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. It assists in keeping the tissues lining the vagina healthy, moisturized, and thick.
But, estrogen level begins to reduce as one approach menopause. As estrogen levels reduce, the vaginal lining becomes thinner, less elastic, and drier. These changes further lead to vaginal atrophy.
Besides menopause, various other reasons can result in a fall in estrogen levels in the body. The main reasons are listed below:
- Anti-estrogen drugs
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Breastfeeding and childbirth
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
Anti-estrogen drugs, such as Goserelin, are normally taken by females to treat endometriosis or breast cancer. These drugs limit the production of sex hormones, including estrogen. Chemotherapy often alters female blood hormonal levels, leading to disturbed estrogen production. All other reasons also cause the fluctuation in the estrogen level and lead to vaginal ailments.
Some other causes of vaginal dryness include:
- Flammer syndrome (a situation where the blood vessels reach strangely to stimuli like stress and cold)
- Reduced supply of blood to the vagina
- Anxiety and stress can affect both vaginal lubrication and libido
- Antidepressants. As they sometimes come with sexual side effects like decreased libido, difficulty having an orgasm, and vaginal dryness.
- Antihistamines. Their side effects usually include trouble urinating and vaginal dryness.
- Sjögren’s syndrome (a disorder of the autoimmune which involves inflammation of the tear and salivary glands)
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
Women suffering from vaginal dryness can experience variable symptoms. Some of the main vaginal dryness symptoms are listed below:
- An elevated risk of urinary tract infections and vaginal infection
- Discomfort while performing physical activities
- Pain during sex
- Vaginal itching
- A narrowing of the vagina
- A tightening of the vaginal opening
- Lower levels of natural vaginal secretions
A condition known as dyspareunia occurs when all these vaginal dryness symptoms collectively appear. It often results in severe pain during penetrative sex.
Diagnosing Vaginal Dryness
In most cases, women do not pay attention to vaginal dryness unless it leads to serious complications. A proper recovery from vaginal dryness is needed to prevent it from causing other vaginal ailments.
Your doctor can surely prescribe effective treatments if you are experiencing vaginal dryness symptoms. You should consult your medical professional if experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Sexual Intercourse Pain
The doctor will most likely:
- Ask questions about your vagina and other symptoms you might be feeling
- Ask to know about your menstrual changes
- Carry out a pelvic examination
- In some situations, take a vaginal swab for a lab test
There is not any specific test that can help you in diagnosing vaginal dryness. Your doctor usually carries out the diagnosis of vaginal dryness through the symptoms. You might feel a little uncomfortable or embarrassed to discuss such private details with your doctor, but that is their profession. They usually have these types of conversations, so there is no reason for you to feel embarrassed. Always remember consulting people who can help is the first step in managing the condition’s symptoms.
Conventional Treatments for Vaginal Dryness
Several treatment options are available for vaginal dryness. The most common treatments include the use of over-the-counter or prescribed medications. You may also be prescribed some vaginal creams or suppositories. Some of these commonly practiced treatments are mentioned below:
Topical Estrogen Therapies
Topical estrogen therapy is one of the treatment options you can try if you are reluctant about using natural remedies for vaginal dryness. Examples of topical estrogen therapies include the following:
|Topical Estrogen Therapy||How To Apply?|
|Premarin creams||Use an applicator or your finger and apply the cream on vaginal lips.|
|Vegifem tablets||Lie on your back with your knees bent and your legs slightly apart. Remove the pessary from the wrapper and insert them in the vagina as comfortably as possible.|
Topical estrogen therapy should not be used by anyone with a history of breast cancer, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those who are at risk of breast cancer. It is important to take extra care and treat vaginal dryness during pregnancy. Therefore, you should inform your doctor before taking any medications if you are suffering from any of these conditions.
Over-the-counter medications may assist with vaginal dryness. For instance, a person may use lubricants during sexual intercourse to increase moisture. The best lubricants for vaginal dryness can be either oil-based or water-based lubricants.
Among some women, oil-based lubricants may cause irritation and condom breakage, so that you can choose water-based lubricants. Here is a list of some water-based lubricants:
- Sliquid H2O: It is a popular choice among those who prefer natural and organic products. It is free of glycerin, parabens, and fragrance, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin.
- Astroglide: It is a classic water-based lubricant that has been around for years. It is a great choice for those who are looking for a long-lasting lubricant that won’t dry out quickly.
- K-Y Jelly: It is another well-known water-based lubricant that has been around for decades. It is a great option for those who are looking for a simple and effective lubricant without any added bells and whistles.
- Überlube: It is a premium water-based lubricant that is perfect for those who are looking for a high-quality product. It is long-lasting and has a silky-smooth texture that feels great on the skin.
- Pjur Aqua: It is a water-based lubricant that is known for its long-lasting formula. It is a great option for those who are looking for a lubricant that won’t dry out quickly and feels natural.
You can apply vaginal moisturizers every 1 or 2 days to maintain your vagina’s natural moisture. You can easily purchase these products online.
Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
A few lifestyle changes or health-promoting habits can help women combat the symptoms of vaginal dryness. Also, there are available natural remedies for vaginal dryness. Women suffering from the symptoms of vaginal dryness should go with these remedies to treat their symptoms.
1. Herbs and Supplements
Sea buckthorn oil is one of the best oils you can get from herbs for vaginal dryness. Sea buckthorn oil is an alternative to traditional estrogen therapy. This oil contains rich fatty acids. You will notice incredible vaginal elasticity and tissue integrity improvements when you take sea buckthorn oil. Other vitamins and supplements for vaginal dryness include:
|Supplements||How Do They Treat Vaginal Dryness?|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||It helps maintain the disturbed hormonal levels among women after menopause. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can promote fast recovery from vaginal dryness and other reproductive issues.|
|Vitamin A||It promotes the repairing of the lost mucus membrane of the vagina. It helps recover the vaginal membrane and maintains moisture preventing dryness.|
|B vitamins||B vitamins can help vaginal dryness mainly by boosting immune functioning and preventing damage to the vaginal membrane.|
|Beta-carotene||It is a pro-vitamin, which helps produce other active forms of vitamins. Thus, it can also promote the recovery of vaginal dryness, as discussed above.|
|Vitamin E||It helps to regain vaginal lubrication and reduces friction. Thus, intake of vitamin E can lower the severity of vaginal dryness.|
|Coconut oil||Using coconut oil as a lubricant for vaginal dryness can be very effective. It is because of the moisturizing and soothing effects of coconut oil.|
|Aloe vera oil||Using aloe vera oil as a lubricant for vaginal dryness helps reduces the intensity of symptoms.|
Maintaining and reaching a healthy body mass index and weight may also help with vaginal dryness. However, losing weight too speedily may have a negative effect. Therefore, consider a slow and steady weight loss. You can add foods that contain plant estrogen or phytoestrogens, like flaxseed, soy products, or soybeans. You will notice a significant reduction in vaginal dryness when you consume plant estrogen. Also, you should drink plenty of water to remain hydrated. Finally, try to limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
3. Regular Sexual Activity
Having frequent sexual stimulation can help improve your overall vaginal health. You can do it with a partner or use a device like a vibrator. When there is sexual stimulation, there will be increased blood flow and vaginal secretion, thus relieving vaginal dryness.
If you are having sex with a partner, try a little bit of foreplay before the actual intercourse. The foreplay will make you feel more aroused and enjoy the sex more. In addition, foreplay will help increase blood flow and secretion to the vagina.
4. New Approach to Sex
While it is good to engage in sexual activity to improve your vaginal health, consider your method of approach. As already discussed, foreplay can be a great tool in getting ready for intercourse. And once you begin the sex, endeavor to take it slow. This will make you enjoy it more and give the Bartholin’s glands time to secrete more natural lubrication in your vagina.
You can also engage in other sexual activities that do not involve intercourse but still allow you to get intimate with your partner. Activities like oral sex, mutual masturbation, massaging, or erotic touching can be fulfilling. These activities are typically effective in moments when the symptoms of your vaginal dryness become bothersome.
5. Red Clover
Red clover is a herb from a family of plants known as legumes. It is one of the richest sources of isoflavones, which are beneficial for improving female hormones. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, which are similar in structure to our estrogen and are capable of mimicking the natural estrogen our bodies produce. They, therefore, restore balance at moments when hormones are fluctuating. Try to increase the level of estrogen in your body by consuming foods rich in phytoestrogen, such as red clover. In addition, you can incorporate this red clover into your diet to help normalize your estrogen levels and reduce the symptoms associated with vaginal irritation.
Shatavari belongs to the species of asparagus (also called Asparagus Racemosus), which has been an effective choice for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It has a range of benefits essential for the female reproductive system. Most people call it the queen of herbs due to its brilliant work in improving health and libido.
Besides promoting conception, Shatavari is also excellent for the treatment of menopause. In addition, this herb is an effective demulcent (that is, it can relieve irritation of the mucus membranes by creating a protective film that may be beneficial for the treatment of vaginal dryness).
The main constituents of Shatavari are steroidal saponins, which seem to assist in estrogen regulation. Several factors have suggested that Shatavari is effective in improving hormonal imbalance. In addition, recent research has indicated that Shatavari may help reduce the symptoms of menopause when used with other herbs.
Comfrey is a herb native to Asia and Europe. It is a perennial herb that is popular among herbalists globally due to its healing properties. People have cultivated and used comfrey to prepare various medicines since 400 BC. Comfrey contains a certain substance known as allantoin. This substance has mucilaginous properties and nature. In addition, comfrey produces a thick, gluey substance that can aid skin regrowth.
Due to these properties, Comfrey creates softening effects on the skin. You can soothe your itchy vaginal tissue when you use comfrey in the bath. A 5 to 10 minutes soak using the tea made from comfrey leaves will help create stronger vaginal tissues.
Further, comfrey oil is an anti-inflammatory, which means that it can assist in healing wounds and reduce skin dryness. For this reason, people frequently use comfrey to treat sore, itchy skin conditions. Comfrey is particularly beneficial when you add it to creams, tinctures, or balms containing vitamin E and calendula.
For safe usage, apply comfrey in small amounts directly on the vaginal tissue if the skin is unbroken. But if there is a sore or wound around the vagina, applying comfrey directly to it may result in irritation. Therefore, you should take proper care when you are making use of this substance.
8. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is a natural remedy that can be used to alleviate vaginal dryness. Aloe vera is a plant that contains a gel-like substance in its leaves, which has been used for centuries for its healing properties.
The gel has a cooling and soothing effect on the skin and can help to moisturize the vaginal area. Aloe vera gel is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce irritation and inflammation caused by vaginal dryness.
To use aloe vera gel, apply a small amount to the vaginal area and gently massage it in. It is important to use pure aloe vera gel without any added ingredients, as some products may contain fragrances or other irritants that can further dry out the vaginal area.
You can manage the symptoms of your vaginal dryness by making simple lifestyle changes or trying some trusted natural remedies. A change in diet and sexual habits can aid a lot in alleviating the symptoms of vaginal dryness. Always discuss with your doctor before trying any home remedy on your own. Some of these remedies may interact with certain medications. Also, when you still feel no improvement after trying the remedies already provided above, do not be reluctant to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss other treatment options or further diagnoses for any underlying condition.
Can You Use Coconut Oil for Vaginal Dryness?
Coconut oil can be used as a personal lubricant, but it is not recommended as a vaginal moisturizer. This is because coconut oil can disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina and lead to irritation or infection. It is also important to note that coconut oil is not compatible with latex condoms, so it should not be used as a lubricant during intercourse if condoms are used.
Is Tree Tea Oil Good For Vaginal Dryness?
Yes, under its antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, this oil helps treat the persistent odors problem in the area around Vagina.
Is It Normal to Experience Vaginal Dryness During Pregnancy?
Vaginal dryness is a common symptom during pregnancy, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. This can be due to hormonal changes in the body that lead to a decrease in estrogen levels. This can cause the vaginal tissues to become thin, dry, and less elastic, leading to discomfort and itching. Vaginal dryness during pregnancy is usually not a cause for concern and can be treated with over-the-counter lubricants or moisturizers.