Vaginal dryness affects numerous women throughout various stages of life, although it’s much more common in menopausal and post-menopausal women. Vaginal dryness makes everyday activities uncomfortable or downright painful!
Vaginal dryness particularly affects activities that put pressure on the vagina such as riding a bike, exercising, and, especially, intercourse. Fortunately, you don’t have to endure the discomfort and pain with no relief; several natural and gynecologist-approved treatments exist to help increase lubrication down there.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
The main culprit in causing vaginal dryness is a reduction in estrogen levels.
Estrogen, a hormone produced by your reproductive system, naturally goes down in your body as it progresses toward menopause. This hormone is responsible for maintaining healthy lubrication, acidity, and elasticity in your vagina.
Smoking, eating foods that contain hormones or antibiotics, and exposure to toxins may disrupt your body’s hormones, including estrogen, which may lead to vaginal dryness.
Vaginal dryness may also be a symptom of many other conditions, as well as a reaction to certain things. Various medications may cause vaginal dryness including antihistamines, antibiotics, some birth control, and certain antidepressants, according to Dr. Anna Cabeca, The Girlfriend Doctor.
Some women experience vaginal dryness after using certain bath-and-body products such as douches, soaps, and unfortunately their beloved bubble bath.
At-Home Treatments for a Dry Vagina
Treating your vaginal dryness at home may prove to be your best option after discussing the condition with your doctor. Some women may need more advanced treatment; however, natural adjustments may prove beneficial to many. As an added bonus, many of the at-home treatments are beneficial to your body in other ways, as well!
Adjust Your Beauty Routine
One of the first things to drop if you’re experiencing the discomfort of vaginal dryness is perfumed or specialized products for your vaginal area. By design, our vaginas clean themselves so douches, intimate hygiene soaps, and perfumes for that area are not only unnecessary but possibly dangerous. Stick with a gentle, non-scented soap.
Drink Up: Staying Hydrated Helps Maintain Moisture Levels
Water: something many of us take for granted and admittedly don’t drink enough of. Make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and moisturized. Think about it: if being dehydrated can affect the skin people see, imagine what it’s doing to the skin you keep hidden!
Soy: Will an Increase in Natural Soy Products Help?
Although it’s still being researched, soy may prove beneficial in treating vaginal dryness. Soybeans contain isoflavones that provide an estrogen-like effect on your body (although much weaker). Grab some organic tofu, soy milk, or edamame on your next grocery strip and start incorporating this magic little plant into your diet. It’s super versatile so try it in your favorite recipes - or find new favorites! You can even use tofu to create sweets.
Probiotics: Help Your Body’s Natural Flora with a Probiotic Regimen
Your vulvovaginal area contains its own flora which helps keep everything balanced. Probiotics help boost this flora and keep it healthy, which in turn helps keep your vagina healthy and lubricated. It’s not hard to find a women-specific probiotic on the shelf of your local health or grocery store; some are even targeted to your vaginal flora. In addition to probiotic pills and tablets, several fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Kimchi and kombucha are among the most common probiotic-rich foods (and drinks)!
Getting Intimate: Making Love-Making Enjoyable - (Our Favorite)
Lubricants are a short-term solution to a long-term issue but can help make intimate time more enjoyable if you’re experiencing painful sex due to vaginal dryness. Stick with natural, water-based lubricants as oil-based lubes do not do well with latex or most toys. Before engaging in intercourse, take your time and ensure you’re fully aroused, giving your vagina time to lubricate itself.
Get Fat: Add Healthy Fats into Your Diet
Healthy fats should make their way into your diet on a regular basis. We’re not talking about fried foods here. Healthy fats are essential and include avocados, olive oil, pasture-raised, hormone-free eggs, and salmon. Healthy fats help your body’s natural hormones!
Get Healthy: Exercising and Quitting Smoking Might Be the Ticket
Maintaining a healthy exercise schedule is essential to your entire body, including your vaginal health. Exercising may help improve hormonal balance and activity in your body even when going through life changes such as childbirth or menopause. Drop the tobacco, as well, as smoking has shown to have a negative effect on your estrogen and other hormones.
Your vaginal dryness doesn’t have to stick around. Research has shown that women may spend 40-percent of their lives dealing with the discomfort of vaginal dryness! The seven tips above can help your vagina maintain natural lubrication but also increase your overall health. Always speak with your physician regarding concerns about your vulvovaginal area and discuss treatment options that work for you.