Vaginal dryness is a common condition that affects women of all ages. It occurs when the vaginal tissues fail to produce enough moisture, leading to discomfort, itching, and pain during sexual intercourse. While it may seem taboo, discussing vaginal dryness openly is crucial to help women understand its causes and explore natural remedies that can provide relief. Here we explore the reasons behind vaginal dryness and offer some natural tips to alleviate this uncomfortable condition.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
Hormonal imbalances, particularly during menopause, can cause a decline in estrogen levels, leading to vaginal dryness. Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining vaginal health by stimulating the production of vaginal fluids. Reduced estrogen levels can result in thinning and drying of the vaginal tissues.
Particular medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and hormonal birth control pills, can contribute to vaginal dryness. These medications can interfere with the body’s natural lubrication process, causing a decrease in vaginal moisture.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can profoundly impact overall health, including vaginal health. When stressed, the body releases cortisol, interfering with estrogen production. This hormonal disruption can lead to vaginal dryness.
Postpartum hormonal changes, combined with the hormonal effects of breastfeeding, can cause vaginal dryness in some women. The drop in estrogen levels during breastfeeding can result in reduced vaginal lubrication.
Certain Health Conditions
Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that affects moisture-producing glands, can contribute to vaginal dryness. Additionally, conditions like diabetes and certain autoimmune disorders can affect nerve function and blood flow, leading to reduced vaginal lubrication.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy used in cancer treatments can disrupt the normal functioning of the ovaries and reduce estrogen levels, leading to vaginal dryness.
Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
- Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential for maintaining overall health and vaginal moisture. Drinking adequate water can help keep your body hydrated and promote natural lubrication.
- Dietary Modifications: Including foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, can help improve vaginal lubrication. These foods contain essential fatty acids that support hormonal balance and promote vaginal health.
- Phytoestrogens: Certain plant-based foods contain phytoestrogens, which are natural compounds that mimic the impacts of estrogen on the body. Examples of foods rich in phytoestrogens include soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, and flaxseeds. Including these foods in your diet may support and alleviate vaginal dryness.
- Vaginal Moisturizers: Using a water-based, fragrance-free vaginal moisturizer can help alleviate vaginal dryness. These products are designed to provide long-lasting moisture and improve comfort during intercourse. It is important to choose products specifically formulated for vaginal use and avoid using regular lotions or oils that can disrupt the natural balance of the vagina.
- Natural Lubricants: During sexual activity, using a natural lubricant can enhance comfort and reduce friction. Look for water-based lubricants without added fragrances or chemicals, which can irritate.
- Avoid Harsh Soaps and Irritants: Using harsh soaps, douches, or other products with fragrances can disturb the pH balance of the vagina and worsen dryness. Opt for mild, unscented soaps and avoid using products that may irritate the vaginal area.
- Regular Sexual Activity: Regular sexual activity or self-stimulation can help improve blood flow to the vaginal area and promote natural lubrication. It also helps maintain the elasticity and health of the vaginal tissues.
- Kegel Exercises: Kegel exercises support the pelvic floor muscles, which can help improve vaginal tone and increase blood flow to the area. Regularly practicing these exercises can enhance vaginal health and reduce dryness.
- Stress Management Techniques: Implement yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engage in hobbies that bring joy and relaxation. Reducing stress levels can help balance hormones and promote vaginal health.
Vaginal dryness can be distressing for women, impacting their sexual health and overall well-being. While this condition has various causes, it’s important to remember that natural remedies can relieve and improve vaginal moisture. By adopting a holistic approach that includes dietary modifications, hydration, and natural lubricants, women can address vaginal dryness and enhance their overall vaginal health. If symptoms continue or worsen, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional who can offer further guidance and treatment options.
Vaginal Dryness due to Menopause
NourishDoc: How does vaginal dryness impact during perimenopause?
Naturopathist Rachel: There are a whole host of causes of vaginal dryness. Dehydration is the main factor. We usually don’t drink enough water daily, and our tissues must have that moisture copper composition to be strong and sturdy. Sparkling water doesn’t hydrate the body. Other factors can be medication or oral contraceptives, even if you’re no longer on birth control and Hormonal changes are a big factor in vaginal dryness.
Testosterone is very important for women’s health. The stamina, kind of libido, and assertiveness also decline when our testosterone levels decline. Progesterone is also a key player in DHEA. So getting to that root cause of poor diet and low protein, women are often very low in protein; most women need about 60 to 70 grams daily. Fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are useful. Those will be great for supporting vaginal tissue.
Vaginal Safety in Perimenopause
NourishDoc: What should women do to help with vaginal dryness?
Naturopathist Rachel: So things like proper sleep, hydration, foods, and a good colorful protein-rich diet, ensuring that female hygiene products, which can be very toxic, Panty liners, and other soap fragrances on your body, can be harmful and caustic. Read the label for topicals and gels.
Just make sure to read labels, and if there are ingredients on the label that you can’t read or pronounce, it means it’s probably a chemical, and we don’t want that going into the body. So avoiding sodium lauryl, parabens, and phthalates is very important for vaginal tissue. A whole host of botanicals can be very wonderful. Vitamin E and sodium hyaluronate can make great topicals, even suppositories.
Benefits of Natural Supplements
NourishDoc: Are there any herbs or natural supplements that women should focus on
Naturopathist Rachel: With low testosterone, some beautiful botanicals help boost testosterone, things like Tribulus ashwagandha Asian ginseng. Exercise is a key factor in boosting testosterone naturally; when it comes to estrogen, things like red clover, Don Quixote, and Black cohosh can all be beautiful botanicals for boosting estrogen. So yeah, botanicals love using botanicals and practice.
Efficacy of Naturopathy
NourishDoc: Efficacy of naturopathy and natural remedies
Naturopathist Rachel: Using nature’s toolbox is very effective and safe because we also don’t typically get the side effects of various medications. I’m not anti-medication. As a naturopathic physician, I think there’s a place for them when they’re used judiciously and responsibly; they can provide respite and be life-saving. We are a pill-happy society because we want something fixed quickly. But using natural medicine is a long-term fix.