Vaginal dryness is a common condition for many women. If you use birth control pills, you are 25 percent more likely to have vaginal dryness. Another main cause is perimenopause or menopause.
Vaginal dryness can also occur due to a decrease in estrogen and/or testosterone (yes, women need testosterone too!), regardless of age or birth control pills.
Vaginal dryness can be a symptom of a common but little-known condition called vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy, also called the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, occurs in 50 percent of perimenopausal or menopausal women. Add to that the millions of women affected by birth control pills.
Vaginal atrophy can also cause painful intercourse. (Note: While women directly experience the painful consequences of sexual intercourse, their partners can also be affected. Men can feel rejected, frustrated, guilty, and afraid of the situation. Make sure you communicate openly and honestly about it. This way, be careful not to get disconnected while you wait for your symptoms to improve.)
What can be done to relieve vaginal dryness and atrophy
First stop: Gynecologist
If you’re like most women, you might be embarrassed to approach a doctor (even a gynecologist) about vaginal dryness or anything vaginal for that matter. Vaginal atrophy can worsen over time, so the sooner you talk to your gynecologist about treatment, the better the treatment.
Gynecologists are very familiar with vaginal diseases and are there to relieve your symptoms. So rest assured, there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Vaginal dryness treatment
Low-dose vaginal estrogen or other estrogen creams
This is a medicine usually needed for vaginal dryness. According to studies, clinical effects can be excellent, with few or no side effects. Apply using your finger, do not use an applicator that pulls creams that are too high for estrogen intake. Apply to the entire vaginal area.
Studies have shown that phytoestrogens (low-dose estrogens found in foods or herbs) can improve vaginal dryness. Foods rich in phytoestrogens include flaxseed, flaxseed oil, soybeans, soy milk, tofu, and miso.
Hormone-free vaginal moisturizers
For those concerned about using hormonal treatments, hormone-free options include vaginal moisturizers. Use these products regularly for full effect. But remember that it only relieves symptoms for a short time. If you’re looking for an alternative ingredient to try, try a moisturizer that contains phytoestrogenic herbs.
Four supplements for vaginal dryness
Vitamin E: This supplement has been shown to increase blood supply to the vaginal wall and improve symptoms of menopause. A dose of 50–400 IU per day is recommended. And don’t give up, it may take up to a month before you feel the effects.
Maca powder (Maca): This dietary supplement has been shown to increase estradiol levels in menopausal women and help with vaginal dryness, depression, memory and concentration. The recommended dose is 2,000 mg per day and is in powder form. Sprinkle on smoothies, yogurt or puddings.
Vitamin D: This supplement reduces vaginal pH and dryness associated with vaginal atrophy.
Probiotics: Researchers have found that the vaginal bacterial flora varies with a woman’s reproductive stage. Therefore, personalized probiotics may be helpful in combating vaginal atrophy.