Vaginal dryness is a painful and uncomfortable condition that most women go through at a certain point in their life. All hope is not lost though as there are treatment options for women suffering from vaginal dryness. Let’s see what vagina dryness is, the causes, and some of the remedies for it.
What is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness is often a symptom of several medical conditions. It can cause pain in urination, exercising, sitting as well as sexual intercourse. Women of all ages experience vaginal dryness but it's most common in menopausal women. Vaginal dryness can make the vagina thinner and less elastic; a condition known as vaginal atrophy.
Causes of vaginal dryness
Typically, the vagina has a clear fluid which is often maintained by the hormone, estrogen. So, most women experience vaginal dryness as a result of decreased estrogen levels in the blood. Some of the causes of vaginal dryness include the following:
- breastfeeding and childbirth
- cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation
- Anti-estrogen medications (often used in treating uterine fibroids and endometriosis), as well as some medications like anti-histamines used for treating cold and runny nose, and some anti-depressant drugs which have several side effects like vaginal dryness, decreased libido, and difficulty reaching orgasm.
- surgical removal of the ovaries (triggering menopause)
- Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disorder that involves inflammation of the salivary and the tear glands)
- Flammer syndrome (a condition where blood vessels react in an unusual way to treat stimuli like cold and stress)
Symptoms of Vaginal dryness
- vaginal itching
- tightening of the vaginal opening
- reduced vaginal secretions
- painful urination, painful intercourse, higher risk of infections
- narrowing of vagina
Treatment/ Remedies for vagina dryness
Numerous treatment options exist but the major ones include the following:
1. Topical estrogen application
This is the most common treatment for vaginal dryness. Most of these artificial estrogens come in creams/ointment form and they are usually applied to the vagina area to relieve vaginal dryness symptoms. Some examples of estrogen application methods include:
- Vaginal ring (Estring): this is a flexible ring inserted into the vagina that releases low amounts of estrogen at intervals. It undergoes replacement every 3 months.
- Vaginal cream (Estrace, Premarin): This involves the use of an applicator for easy insertion. It’s a great treatment option for vaginal atrophy and dryness.
- Vaginal tablet (Vagifem): It’s similar to the cream as an applicator is used to insert the tablet into the vagina.
Note that topical application of estrogen isn’t advised if:
- you have breast cancer and are using aromatase inhibitors
- have vaginal bleeding and don’t know why
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have a history of endometrial cancer
2. Over the counter treatment
Aside from estrogen therapy, there are other over-the-counter treatment options and they include:
- water-based lubricants in times of sexual activity to increase moisture and lubrication. Water-based lubricants are preferable to their oil-based counterparts as oil-based lubricants can cause irritation and tear of condoms.
- vaginal moisturizers: use every 1-2 days to help keep your vagina moist. The best time for application is just before going to bed.
3. Practice regular sex
Regular sexual stimulation helps your overall vagina health. You can do this with your partner or with a vibrator device. Regular stimulation will increase blood flow to your vagina, increase vaginal secretions and help relieve dryness.
Also, try engaging in foreplay with your partner before having sex. This will help you feel aroused so that sex will be more enjoyable and comfortable.
- Yoni Steaming
Yoni steaming using yoni pearls is one of the most effective natural ways to treat vaginal dryness. The absorption of the herbs by your vagina and uterus causes a normal flow and release of estrogen. It affects everything from your sex drive, to your vagina health in the most positive way.
If you’re weary of trying western medicine and dealing with terrible side effects, a natural remedy like Yoni pearls is a great option.