Once we hit menopause, our body changes in many different ways.
One of those changes is often a change in the amount of lubrication your vagina once had, resulting in vaginal dryness.
It’s a sign of vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis), which means that the vaginal walls are thinning due to a decline in oestrogen. This decline means that when you are aroused, a thin layer of moisture should appear, however this process may not happen due to the atrophy issue, leaving you feeling dry and sore.
It’s a common problem – between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of women develop this symptom during menopause or after – and can be worsened by antihistamine medication, caffeine and alcohol.
There are effective ways to combat the issue, though. And although home remedies may not cure the cause of vaginal dryness, they do provide some relief, especially for women who choose not to use HRT.
It seems like an obvious choice, but not everyone wants to give it a go. There are many types of lubes on the market now, but an all-natural, water-based product is best to add moisture. This is a good alternative when dryness causes the most discomfort during sexual intercourse.
There are a number of moisturisers that can relieve vaginal dryness symptoms for up to three days. Replens is a well-known brand, as is Vagisil. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
If you have very bad vaginal dryness, this is not advised. However, if your dryness is only mild, sex can help promote natural lubrication.
Aloe vera gel
A mixture of aloe vera gel can reduce the discomfort vaginal dryness if applied to the area regularly or used as a lubricant. One of its advantages is that it won’t destroy latex condoms, as oils do. But some people are sensitive to the gel, so it’s best to test it on your forearm before applying it to more sensitive parts.
This nutritious food can be added to meals and is used as a herbal cure for vaginal dryness because it can help increase oestrogen levels. Flaxseed oil can also be taken orally according to the instructions on the bottle and is a good optionfor those with mild vaginal dryness.
A diet high in fatty acids may aid in producing additional vaginal lubrication. Consider eating pumpkin, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and fish (especially salmon, mackerel and tuna) as these are all high in fatty acids. Vitamin A and B supplements and beta-carotene also have high levels of omega 3 fatty acids.
Coconut oil is a healthy fat that helps restore the body’s natural level of hydration. This treatment can be used as a lubricant or supplement to treat dryness. But if applying it directly to the body – yours or your partners – be aware that it can destroy condoms.
And remember, while it may seem embarrassing to bring up the topic of vaginal dryness with your doctor, it is an important medical condition. If it is affecting your life and is making you feel very uncomfortable, see your doctor because additional help is available.