Ladies, are you dealing with a dry vagina? It can seriously dampen your sex life, so the concern is totally valid. The soreness, burning, and itching just makes matters worse.
Often, vaginal dryness is caused by a drop in estrogen. This hormone is vital for lubrication! It maintains collagen and elastic fibers that moisturize the vaginal tissue. Estrogen also promotes secretions, helping you feel comfortable “down there.” But when there’s not enough? Vaginal dryness is likely.
Estrogen is the standard treatment, but it’s not the best choice for everyone. Many women actually stray away because of its link to venous thromboembolism, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer. If you’re one of those people, take time to learn about the other options.1 2
Causes Of Vaginal Dryness
Estrogen takes a nosedive during menopause. This can bring on vaginal dryness, making sex super painful. The vagina also starts to thin out.
A woman is in menopause when she doesn’t have a period for 12 months straight. For most females, it takes place between 45 and 55 years of age. However, symptoms like vaginal dryness might show up earlier. The drop in estrogen may also spark hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and concentration issues.3 4
2. Childbirth And Breastfeeding
The postpartum period is a stressful time. It doesn’t help the situation if estrogen also drops after childbirth and if you choose to breastfeed. Plus, the longer you breastfeed, the longer vaginal dryness will linger.5
Some medications can also lead to vaginal dryness. Specifically, hormonal drugs that treat breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, or infertility are common causes. If you’re concerned, talk to your doctor about potential side effects.6
Estrogen isn’t the only factor. In diabetes, the continuous high blood glucose may eventually lead to nerve damage. It affects roughly 60 to 70% of diabetics.7
In women, this may hinder vaginal stimulation and lead to dryness. In fact, 18% of females with type 1 diabetes will experience sexual problems. About 42% of type 2 diabetics have it. And dryness can also be related to other issues like pain during intercourse and little to no sexual desire.8
Natural Treatment For Vaginal Dryness
1. Vitamin D
Did you know that vitamin D helps repair the epithelial tissue? This includes the vaginal wall, making it a possible treatment for dryness. Specifically, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol) may be the answer.
2. Sea Buckthorn Oil
In Central Asia, sea buckthorn oil is used to treat inflammation of the reproductive organs. As a capsule, it can do wonders for vaginal dryness! A 2014 study saw this effect after postmenopausal women consumed sea buckthorn oil capsules. This remedy is also used for dry and irritated skin, proving its power as a natural lubricant.11 12 13
3. Black Cohosh
According to a 2012 study, black cohosh can improve menopausal symptoms, which include vaginal dryness! Hot flashes and night sweats may also be reduced. Even if you’re not going through menopause, black cohos will still help.14
Like most herbs, black cohosh is available in capsules, tablets, extracts, tea, and liquid tincture. Don’t confuse it with blue cohosh, a totally different herb.15
As always, check with your doctor before trying these remedies, especially if you’re taking any drugs.
|↑1, ↑11||Larmo, Petra S., Baoru Yang, Juha Hyssälä, Heikki P. Kallio, and Risto Erkkola. “Effects of sea buckthorn oil intake on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Maturitas 79, no. 3 (2014): 316-321.|
|↑2||Vaginal dryness. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑3||Menopause and Hormones: Common Questions. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.|
|↑4||Menopause. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑5||Breastfeeding and everyday life. Womenshealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health.|
|↑6||Vaginal Dryness. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑7||Nerve Damage (Diabetic Neuropathies). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑8||Diabetes & Sexual & Urologic Problems. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑9||Rad, Parastou, Mitra Tadayon, Mohammadreza Abbaspour, Seyed Mahmood Latifi, Iran Rashidi, and Hamdollah Delaviz. “The effect of vitamin D on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women.” Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research 20, no. 2 (2015): 211.|
|↑10||Yildirim, Basak, Babur Kaleli, Ender Düzcan, and Oya Topuz. “The effects of postmenopausal Vitamin D treatment on vaginal atrophy.” Maturitas 49, no. 4 (2004): 334-337.|
|↑12||Czaplicki, Sylwester, Dorota Ogrodowska, Ryszard Zadernowski, and Iwona Konopka. “Effect of Sea-Buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides L.) Pulp Oil Consumption on Fatty Acids and Vitamin A and E Accumulation in Adipose Tissue and Liver of Rats.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 72, no. 2 (2017): 198-204.|
|↑13||Hou, Dian-Dong, Zheng-Hong Di, Rui-Qun Qi, He-Xiao Wang, Song Zheng, Yu-Xiao Hong, Hao Guo, Hong-Duo Chen, and Xing-Hua Gao. “Sea Buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides L.) Oil Improves Atopic Dermatitis-Like Skin Lesions via Inhibition of NF-κB and STAT1 Activation.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 30, no. 5 (2017): 268-276.|
|↑14||Leach, Matthew J., and Vivienne Moore. “Black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms.” PhD diss., John Wiley & Sons Limited, 2008.|
|↑15||Black cohosh. University of Maryland Medical Center.|