Vaginal Atrophy: 7 Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is often common during and after menopause, but it can occur at any age due to some reasons. 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 of them do not bother to seek help because they feel it’s not a health issue that requires any help. But such dryness can result in pain during intercourse, leading to a loss of sexual desire. Several natural remedies for vaginal dryness are available to relieve the condition’s symptoms.
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
What is Vaginal Dryness?
Another name for vaginal dryness is genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), which occurs due to the decrease in estrogen levels. Due to this, postmenopausal women are most prone to having this condition. In addition, the dryness of the vaginal can cause other symptoms like burning and itching sensations, all of which can contribute to making sex pretty painful. In addition, when you have vaginal dryness, you may begin to urinate more often than usual.
Several natural remedies for vaginal dryness are available as solutions to the problem, but so far, there is a lack of significant scientific evidence to back up the claims.
Besides calling it the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, you can also refer to vaginal dryness as vaginal atrophy. This condition can negatively affect your sex life since it can result in uncomfortable intercourse. As a result, you may not be willing to participate in sex or satisfied with it as you usually do, and this 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 level begins to reduce as one approaches menopause. The ovaries produce estrogen, and estrogen controls the development of the characteristics of the female body, such as body shape and breast. Estrogen also plays a significant function in pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. Estrogen assists in keeping the tissues lining the vagina healthy, moisturized, and thick. But as the levels reduce, the lining becomes thinner, less elastic, and drier. These changes are vaginal atrophy.
There are various reasons why the estrogen level can drop; such reasons include:
- Anti-estrogen drugs for the treatment of endometriosis or breast cancer
- Treatment for cancer, including radiation and chemotherapy
- Breastfeeding and childbirth
- Surgical removal of the ovaries, which can result in menopause
Other causes of vaginal dryness may include the following:
- 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 sometimes comes with sexual side effects like decreased libido, difficulty having an orgasm, and vaginal dryness
- Using antihistamines to help control cold and allergy symptoms by drying secretions. The side effects of this can 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
People suffering from vaginal dryness may experience the following symptoms:
- An elevated risk of urinary tract infections and vaginal infection
- Discomfort while performing physical activities
- Pain during sex
- Vaginal itching
If the dryness is a result of a fall in estrogen levels, a person may also have:
- 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 changes combine, resulting in pain during penetrative sex.
Diagnosing Vaginal Dryness
Many people do not know that vaginal dryness is an indication that a person is not entirely healthy, and this health issue affects many people. A doctor can suggest treatment to help deal with the pain and discomfort it can cause.
You should consult your medical professional for medical advice if you experience the following symptoms:
- 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
No single test can diagnose vaginal dryness or atrophy. Instead, a doctor will usually carry out the diagnosis from 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. 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 the condition. Some treatments are available over-the-counter, and others may need a prescription. Consider the following treatments:
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:
- Vaginal ring
- Vaginal cream
- Vaginal tables (Vagifem)
Women with a history of breast cancer, those who are or may be pregnant, or the ones who are breastfeeding should first discuss with their doctor the safety of topical estrogen therapy. Your doctor may suggest non-hormonal treatments instead.
Over-the-counter medications may assist with vaginal dryness. For instance, a person may use lubricants during intercourse to increase moisture. You might consider water-based lubricants more preferable to oil-based ones. In some people, oil-based lubricants may cause irritation and condom breakage. You can apply vaginal moisturizers every 1 or 2 days to assist in maintaining your vagina’s natural moisture. You can purchase these products online.
7 Natural remedies for Vaginal Dryness
There are a number of lifestyle alterations that can help women combat the symptoms of vaginal dryness. Also, there are available natural remedies for vaginal dryness, and those suffering from the symptoms of the condition can try them. Consider the following treatments, lifestyle changes and natural remedies:
1. Herbs and Supplements
Sea buckthorn oil is an alternative to traditional estrogen therapy. This oil contains rich fatty acids. You will start noticing some incredible improvements in your vaginal elasticity and tissue integrity when you take sea buckthorn oil. Other supplements and vitamins that may help battle the symptoms include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- B vitamins
- Beta carotene
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
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 slow and steady losses. You may add foods that contain plant estrogen or phytoestrogens like flaxseed, soy products, or soybeans. When you consume plant estrogen, you will notice a significant reduction in vaginal dryness. 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 either do this alone or with a partner or even 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, the 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 not only make you enjoy it more but will also 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 that is a family of plants known as legumes. Red clover 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. Shatavari 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.
Comfrey is a component that 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.
Comfrey oil is an anti-inflammatory, which means that it can assist in healing wounds and reduce skin dryness. For this reason, people frequently make use of 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.
You can manage the symptoms of your vaginal dryness by engaging in some simple lifestyle changes or trying some trusted natural remedies for vaginal dryness. A few clinical trials can assist supplements or alternative medicines for vaginal dryness. Always discuss well 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.
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. Always consult your primary care doctor before using the remedies that are provided. The information is provided by The Hidden Cures and while we do timely, in-depth research on the information that we provide to you, everything stated may not be up to date or accurate from the time it was written.