What is that fire between your legs and how do you put it out? Whatever stage of menopause you're in, we have the answers to your burning questions on vaginal dryness.
If you have a vagina, it's likely you'll experience vaginal dryness at some point. While you may feel uncomfortable, itchy dryness at any stage of life, we know that more than 50% of post-menopausal women experience vaginal dryness (or atrophic vaginitis). However, social taboos mean we don't really talk about this stuff. The natural solution to treating this condition is still a well-kept secret.
Vaginal dryness symptoms
Vaginal moisture plays an important role in keeping the vagina supple and clean, while removing dead skin cells at the same time... hello natural exfoliation! When you experience less lubrication than normal, this is classified as vaginal dryness. This looks different for everyone. You may usually be flooding with lubrication or have very little. In any case, a drought looks different for each person.
As well as feeling dryer than usual (or as dry as the Sahara, as one of our customers put it), you may also feel uncomfortable burning, itching, pain or soreness. The NHS notes that indicators of dryness may also include:
- reoccurring urinary tract infections
- the need to pee more than usual
- discomfort during sex
Does menopause cause vaginal dryness?
Women going through the menopause are most likely to suffer with vaginal dryness. During this transition, your oestrogen levels naturally decline (you're probably sick of hearing this if you've experienced other menopausal symptoms - those sodding oestrogen levels).
A drop in oestrogen causes the vaginal walls to become thinner. The cells on the walls of the vagina produce moisture, so when the walls thin, there are less cells doing this job, which results in a dryer environment down there.
Image credit: www.mymenopausecentre.com
Does vaginal dryness pose a health risk?
If left untreated, vaginal dryness can have an impact on your physical or psychological wellbeing. It may cause discomfort in the pelvic and vaginal regions, and no one wants to feel uncomfortable down there forevermore.
Intimate dryness can also affect your sex life, which is a damn shame as we need all the oxytocin boosts we can get when our hormones start fluctuating like crazy.
There are several things you can do to promote natural moisture. Thousands of women have found relief from intimate dryness with Victory Oil. It's 100% natural and can be applied to the inner and outer labia and perineum to reduce that uncomfortable dry feeling down there.
This has been a total game changer for me! I've been very lucky with the menopause except for vaginal dryness with trips back and forth to doctor and seeing a specialist who gave me a handful of creams and steroid cream which was a temporary support but couldn't see how this could help long term! This oil has been amazing within days all started to feel more "normal" and I've been using for months now and what a relief everything so comfortable. It has also allowed for my hubby and I to feel a closeness/intimacy that has been missing due to me feeling so sore previously - still need to go easy ;) but 100% times better and my confidence coming back in that area of my relationship - wouldn't be without it!
- Lorraine D., NAYDAYA lover
Please remember that your downstairs does not want any chemicals or fragrances - this will only exacerbate the problem. Any products you apply to this area should be natural, fragrance free and designed for use on intimate areas, like Victory Oil. Used daily, Victory Oil can help to improve elasticity and reduce dryness.
Other ways to treat a dry vagina
As with everything, our health issues don't exist in isolation. There are several things you can do to improve your natural moisture levels.
- Drink lots of water: It’s advised to drink between six and eight glasses of fluid a day. This is especially important when we're riding those wild hormonal waves.
- Eat healthy fats: Diet has an impact on our overall wellbeing. It is understood that a diet high in fatty acids may help with the production of vaginal lubrication. Some examples of these foods include nuts and seeds (flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts) and seafood - especially cold-water fatty fish like tuna and salmon.
- Take your vitamins: Although supplements are no substitute for a well-balanced diet, Vitamin A and B supplements and beta-carotene, are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which may help.
- Foreplay in your sex life: If you experience a lack of vaginal moisture during sex, foreplay can help to stimulate lubrication and increase blood flow to the vaginal tissues. Regular sexual activity (alone or with a partner) can help to combat this issue too.
- Pelvic exercise: Some studies suggest that pelvic floor muscle training may help to improve some of the symptoms around vaginal dryness. Not sure exactly how to perform these? Pelvic health physio, Clare Bourne is a wealth of information on the matter.
- Avoid certain products: your vaginal ecosystem is delicate and designed to be self-cleaning. Douching and personal hygiene products, as well as some sanitary products, may contain fragrances or ingredients that can irritate or dry out your vaginal tissue.
If you decide (or are advised) to go down the medical route, there are also some oestrogen creams and treatments and over-the-counter treatments. Your GP will be able to advise which, if any, are appropriate for you.
Non-menopausal vaginal dryness
Don't worry, ladies. If you're experiencing vaginal dryness but you're not in any stage of menopause (including perimenopause), that's still very normal. 17% of women experience vaginal dryness before menopause. Some common causes of non-menopausal dryness include:
- Breastfeeding: women who are breastfeeding may notice vaginal dryness, as well as sensitivity or tightness. This is a result of hormone fluctuations, particularly lower levels of oestrogen.
- Contraceptive pill: the birth control pill is taken by millions of women around the world. One of the side-effects for some types, is that it can lower a woman’s testosterone levels, resulting in vaginal dryness.
- Medication: certain medication or cancer treatments (like chemotherapy) may impact your body’s natural balance.
- Lack of sexual arousal: it’s also worth noting that vaginal dryness in your sex life is common, if you have not reached an arousal state. In a study, as many as 17 per cent of women (aged 18-50) experienced dryness during sex.
- Dehydration: Whatever is happening to your skin on the outside, is likely to reflect on the inside. Ergo, being dehydrated can have a knock-on effect on your vaginal moisture levels. Once again, this may manifest in itching or yeast infections.
- Hysterectomy: one of the implications of having a hysterectomy, is that a woman is no longer able to produce oestrogen. This can result in discomfort, as well as painful intercourse, impacting on dryness.
Ladies, there's light at the end of the tunnel, rain at the end of the drought, and lubricated sex in store for you. Please don't suffer in silence if you're experiencing vaginal dryness, you're not alone with it.
If you're worried about ongoing dryness and discomfort, chat to your GP, they'll be able to advise if medical treatment is necessary. If you'd prefer to try a natural solution first, we're always here to answer your questions about Victory Oil. You can drop us a message on Instagram or send us an email. We really do talk about vagina health all day long, so there's no need to be nervous about reaching out.