As part of the aging process, hormone production changes may cause the vaginal walls to shrink. The thinner the walls, the less moisture they secrete. This may lead to vaginal dryness. Hormonal imbalance is the most common cause of vaginal dryness, but it isn’t the only one.
Research indicates that over half of all postmenopausal women suffer from vaginal dryness or atrophy. However, it can affect anyone between the ages of 21 and 55. Left untreated, it can thin and weaken the vaginal wall, resulting in additional problems such as infertility. Fortunately, there are several home remedies for dryness.
What is Vaginal Atrophy?
Vaginal atrophy is when the estrogen level drops significantly, and the moisture around the vaginal wall decreases. In a healthy vaginal environment, estrogen keeps the vagina supple and moist, preventing infection. After menopause, estrogen levels decrease naturally, causing the vaginal area to become dryer.
This may not be an issue for some, but it may be concerning for others. Dryness of the vaginal area can cause itching, burning, and painful intercourse. In addition to menopause, vaginal dryness can result from many variables, including breastfeeding, eating disorders, chemotherapy, antidepressants, thyroid, and oral contraceptives. Among other factors, strong soaps, sprays, and pool chemicals can cause irritation and dryness.
What are the Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness?
- Excessive pain during sexual activity
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Infection of the urinary tract caused by thinning of the urethra
- Changes in the appearance of the vagina
- Lack of sexual desire
7 Home Remedies to Treat Vaginal Dryness
Apply a lubricant to the area around the lips (vulva) and the vagina before sexual activity to relieve pain and discomfort. Use a water-based lubricant for best results, and avoid glycerine-based lubricants, which can irritate the skin. Some of the best home remedies for dryness are natural lubricants like the ones below may relieve vaginal discomfort and dryness. Apply one topically in tiny amounts:
- Coconut oil
- Aloe vera
- Jojoba oil
- Evening primrose oil
- Shea butter
Vaginal moisturizers help provide moisture to the cells. The general idea is to prevent dryness and improve the vaginal pH balance. Although these products do not address the root cause of vaginal dryness, they are useful for day-to-day use to relieve discomfort and improve vaginal moisture. Those with sensitive skin may benefit from avoiding products containing parabens, glycerin, or propylene glycol. These additives may cause skin irritation.
Regular Sexual Intercourse
A healthy vagina requires regular sexual activity. Consistent stimulation stimulates blood flow to the vaginal tissues and generates dampness in the area. Make sure you have enough foreplay before intercourse for better arousal and less pain. Doing so will promote natural lubricant production and make sexual activity more enjoyable.
Consume Foods with Phytoestrogens
The most effective natural therapy for any infection or ailment is a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients and vitamins. Foods rich in phytoestrogens and essential fatty acids should be consumed regularly. A phytoestrogen is a natural compound found in plants and plant-based foods. They help restore estrogen levels and maintain a healthy pH balance in the vaginal area. Some of these foods include:
- Organic eggs
- Cod liver oil
- Olive oil
- Organic butter
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
As estrogen levels drop, vaginal muscles begin to deteriorate. Exercise is one of the best home remedies for dryness. It strengthens the pelvic floor muscles. Exercises like Kegels improve blood flow to the vaginal area and keep it healthy. You can improve or maintain good blood flow in your vaginal tissues by doing pelvic floor exercises like Kegels. Good blood flow results in increased nutrient and oxygen supply to the vagina. Practice them while doing household chores, watching TV, or reading!
How to do Kegels:
- Engage your pelvic floor muscles. Be sure not to hold your breath or tighten your thighs, abdomen, or buttocks.
- Maintain the first step for three seconds.
- Gently release your pelvic floor muscles for three seconds.
- Do ten sets daily.
Limit Sugar and Alcohol
Sugary foods increase your risk for yeast infections. Additionally, estrogen interferes with the blood’s balance between insulin and glucose levels. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in your vagina, resulting in a lack of lubrication. Lowering your sugar intake is one of the easiest home remedies for dryness.
When it comes to alcohol, most of us enjoy a drink or two (or three), but it’s important to remember some of the harmful effects of alcohol. Alcohol is very drying. And if your body is dry, this may also have consequences for your vaginal health. When the vagina is not adequately hydrated, it is difficult for it to produce adequate amounts of lubrication.
Take Natural Probiotics
Probiotics do not have to be taken in the form of a tablet, capsule, or drink to be effective. Fermented foods like natto, kimchi, kefir, and pickled vegetables are rich in these gut-friendly microbes. Yogurt (not the kind with preservatives and sugar) is also a good source of probiotics. But why do we need probiotics? The presence of good bacteria may alleviate symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy and dryness.
Limit Your Exposure to Vaginal Irritants
In short, scented and bleached products can irritate and dry your lady parts. Many product formulations contain chemicals that strip the skin of its natural moisture. Choosing fragrance-free lotions, sanitary pads, soaps, and detergents for underwear is best.
You Don’t Have to Suffer
Vaginal dryness can negatively impact one’s quality of life even before menopause. Mild symptoms, however, can be treated using the home remedies for dryness described above. As always, if you have a serious problem, consult your doctor right away.