Vaginal dryness is a problem that can impact women of any age, although it is typically more common after menopause. The condition is relatively common, and there are many treatments and options to alleviate vaginal dryness, including home remedies, changes in diet, or over-the-counter lubricants.
Moisture in the vagina comes from lubrication that is produced by glands within the cervix. The moisture produced in the cervix moves through the vagina, helping to remove dead cells and keep the vagina clean. When a woman is sexually aroused, the Bartholins glands, located at the entrance to the vagina, produce additional moisture that makes sex more comfortable. If sufficient moisture is not produced, sex can become uncomfortable or even painful.
Understanding the causes of vaginal dryness are important in treating it. Vaginal dryness is experienced by approximately 17 per cent of women between the ages of 18 to 50, and by a higher number of post-menopausal women over 51. The vagina may be dry to a lack of sexual arousal- this can be resolved with more foreplay or ensuring you are not experiencing stress. Low oestrogen levels and certain drugs (cold medicines and antidepressants) can also cause vaginal dryness, as can the use of scented or chemical products.
Symptoms of vaginal dryness include a lack of lubrication during sex. This may make sex uncomfortable or painful. Vaginal dryness may also cause pain while performing routine activities, including standing, sitting, exercising or urinating. This may feel like burning pain, or cause itching. The lips of the vagina may appear thinner or otherwise change in appearance, and vaginal discharge may become discoloured, appear watered down or have a slight odour.
The best natural cure is prevention. Avoid using performed soaps, douches, or other products that interfere with the natural chemicals in the vagina. Ensure that you take sufficient time to become aroused prior to sex. Over-the-counter vaginal lubricants may also help to make sex less painful, while over-the-counter creams can treat general irritation you may experience as a result of vaginal dryness.
Diet & Lifestyle Changes
Certain dietary and lifestyle changes can also help to reduce vaginal dryness and increase natural lubrication. A diet high in fatty acid may aid in producing additional vaginal lubrication. Foods like raw pumpkin, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and fish (especially salmon, mackerel and tuna) are high in fatty acids. Vitamin A and B supplements, and betacarotene also have high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. A vitamin E suppository may be an additional option as well. You should also eat foods that contain isoflavones, which can help regulate hormone levels. Foods high in isoflavones include flaxseed, soy, legumes, cherries, nuts, apples and celery.
Drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol, caffeine and other beverages that tend to have a drying effect. Limiting white flour carbohydrates and sugar may also be helpful.
Finally, ensure that all soaps and feminine hygiene products are pH balanced and unscented.