(Vaginal Dryness, Vaginal Moisturizer, Menopause)
In today’s society, many women experience the symptom of vaginal dryness, but a majority of the women choose to overlook it. Vaginal dryness can have a big impact on women’s sex life—because women with such problem often find sex uncomfortable, they might shy away from having sex and associate sex with unpleasant feeling. A reduction in sex drive could develop, thereby preventing these women from dating and having intimate relationships with their partners.
What Cause Vaginal Dryness?
Hormonal change is a major reason behind vaginal dryness. The hormone estrogen, known as “the female hormone,” plays a crucial role in women’s health. Estrogen controls the development of heart, bone, female characteristics (such as breasts), while plays a significant role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Estrogen is also responsible for keeping the vagina healthy. Estrogen keeps the inner lining of the vagina thick, moist, and elastic—which are important for reproduction.
The decline of estrogen thus has a negative impact on women’s health. A drop in the level of estrogen may occur years approaching menopause, as well as after menopause. Women undergoing menopause often have night sweats, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, moody feeling and other symptoms. In addition, the decline of estrogen causes the thinning of vaginal wall and reduces the moisture in vaginal wall. With insufficient moisture inside vagina, sexual intercourse results in discomfort and even pain during intercourse. Because vaginal dryness increases irritation, the chance of vaginal infection also rises, this in turn makes sex for these women even more uncomfortable.
Other causes of vaginal dryness include:
- After surgical removal of both ovaries (surgical menopause)
- During breast-feeding
- While taking medications that can affect estrogen levels, such as some birth control pills
- After pelvic radiation therapy for cancer
- After chemotherapy for cancer
- As a side effect of breast cancer hormonal treatment
Tips to Deal with Vaginal Dryness
- Maintain a positive attitude: stress from work and life in general could cause low libido and vaginal dryness. It is thus important to think positive, feel positive, and act positive. Having a positive attitude helps reduce stress.
- Vaginal moisturizer: just like putting lotion on one’s body, using vaginal moisturizer on a regular basis helps women relieve vaginal dryness. In some European countries, women who experience pain during sex would use vaginal gel to moisturize the inner lining of vagina in order to relieve discomfort, particularly during the time of sexual intercourse. These women believe that such use of vaginal moisturizer not only provides personal relief but also allows them to have better intimate experience in their relationship. After all, if these women do not enjoy sex, their reaction would affect their partners, and many studies have already shown that positive sexual experience is crucial in relationships.
There are several types of water-based vaginal moisturizers in the market, make sure to avoid the ones with the following ingredients:
Nonoxynol-9 (kills off good vaginal bacteria)
- Eat well, and rest well: a balanced lifestyle helps reduce the problem of vaginal dryness. Food that contain phytoestrogens, which include plant compounds called isoflavones that mimic estrogen, are most often found in soy products such as edamame, soy milk and tofu, as well as in flaxseed. Cranberry juice is acidic and full of vitamin C, which boosts body’s ability to fight urinary tract and vaginal infections. Also, food that contains vitamin A (sweet potatoes, avocados) helps strengthen vaginal walls.
Brosek, Shannon. “What are the possible causes of vaginal dryness?.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 25 Apr. 2018. Web.
29 May. 2019. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321615.php
Mayo Clinic. “Vaginal atrophy.” Web. 29 May. 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginal-atrophy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352288