Vaginal dryness is something most women will experience at least once in their lifetime. It’s often nothing to worry about and certainly nothing to be embarrassed about.
However, vaginal dryness can be uncomfortable and often painful. It’s not an easy condition to live with but fortunately, there are many remedies that can improve it. If you’re looking for a natural treatment for vaginal dryness, take a look at the information below.
What Is Vaginal Dryness?
You may first notice vaginal dryness because it starts to become uncomfortable. Vaginal dryness happens because of a decrease in the hormone estrogen. This naturally happens around the time of menopause and after.
After menopause, dryness can happen because of other conditions. Medications and immune disorders could also play a part in triggering vaginal dryness. In this instance, it’s important to talk to your doctor about what’s happening. You may need to adjust your medications or use topical creams to avoid pain.
Why Does Vaginal Dryness Happen?
The most common reason for vaginal dryness is a decline in estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for keeping the lining of the vagina thick and elastic but when levels of the hormone drop, the lining becomes thin. Estrogen is also what balances the acidity levels and lubrication of the vagina.
Estrogen levels can drop significantly at different points in a woman’s life. They’re expected to drop at menopause but they can also drop during childbirth, while breastfeeding, and after menopause.
Some women may also experience dryness if they smoke regularly, have their ovaries removed, have been treated for cancer, or have an immune disorder.
Medications are also known to cause vaginal dryness. If you’re currently taking cold medications or have recently suffered from allergies and needed to take medication, you may experience some vaginal dryness. Antidepressants have also been linked to vaginal dryness, along with cancer treatments, like chemotherapy.
Treating Vaginal Dryness
The sooner you treat menopause dryness, the more comfortable you will be. However, hormone replacement isn’t always the best option. Women who have had cancer treatment or have suffered from some form of disease may not qualify for hormone replacement.
Women that do qualify may find that there are side effects to the treatment. These can include weight gain, nausea, headaches, fluid retention, and a higher risk of blood clots or breast and ovarian cancer.
So, are there alternative treatments for this problem? The great news is there are a few things you can do yourself to ease vaginal dryness.
1. Water-based lubricants
These can help to add moisture to the vaginal lining and often last hours at a time. They’re ideal if you’re finding it difficult to have sex comfortably.
2. Vaginal moisturizers
These can give relief for up to three days after use. They’re specifically designed for addressing dryness and it only takes one application every 72 hours.
3. Soy products
The soy compounds in soy products can produce the same effects as the hormone estrogen. Adding soy to your diet could give you some sought-after relief.
4. Black cohosh
This is a supplement that has been linked to relieving menopausal symptoms. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest this is correct but many women have found the supplements useful.
5. Wild Yam
You can also find wild yam in supplements. These are meant to bring on relief of menopausal symptoms but the evidence is lacking.
6. What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
If you don’t find that natural remedies work for you, you may want to consider HRT. This is something that your doctor can prescribe for you and it can be given in tablet form. It works to replace the estrogen your body has lost by providing a synthetic alternative.
Visiting Your Doctor
Perhaps you would prefer to use alternative treatment methods because you don’t want to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. However, your doctor will have experience of treating your symptoms and you can be sure your doctor will be discreet.
If you’ve come to the point where your vaginal dryness is causing you pain and hindering your lifestyle, it’s time to seek professional help from a healthcare provider.
During your doctor’s appointment, your doctor may ask you some questions. Although you may feel uneasy about answering them, it’s important to remember your doctor has heard it all before. Tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking in case an alternative needs to be prescribed.
Your doctor may also want to perform a pelvic examination. During this examination, your doctor will press your abdomen firmly, while inserting a lubricated finger into your vagina. This will allow her to determine any obvious cause of dryness or abnormalities.
If you have additional symptoms, your doctor may recommend a pap smear or other tests to rule out conditions like cancer or vaginal infections. Once your doctor has the results, you’ll be able to discuss a treatment plan you’re happy with.
You should always consult with your doctor if you plan on taking supplements or drastically altering your diet as natural treatments. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Natural Treatment for Vaginal Dryness: Your Options
Your options in natural treatment for vaginal dryness are limited but that doesn’t mean they won’t help. When taking supplements, it can often take up to three months to see any change, which could be too long if you need immediate relief.
If vaginal dryness is starting to continually bother you, it’s time to get some advice from your doctor and think about all your options, including hormone replacement therapy.
For more information on your options for treating vaginal dryness, take a browse through our website or contact us with any queries.