It seems like everyone is talking about menopause vaginal dryness and honestly, it’s about time. The symptoms associated with vaginal dryness often take women by surprise during the menopausal transition, and unlike hot flashes, which will eventually subside, vaginal dryness and the vulvovaginal changes associated with it, can be more chronic and progressive if not treated. Vaginal and vulvar burning, itching, irritation, dryness and pain during sex are all common symptoms that may be experienced in women with vaginal dryness.
The good news? Vaginal dryness and itching are totally manageable and there are treatments that can help with menopause vaginal dryness and its associated symptoms. So, what causes this and what can help with vaginal dryness?
What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
Lower estrogen levels that occur during menopause can change the vagina on a cellular level. Less estrogen means less blood flow, which can transform the typical lush, elastic vaginal tissues into something thinner, more delicate and less lubricated. In fact, this type of change occurs to some degree in other stages of life too; during lactation, while taking birth control pills and other medications, such as those used in breast cancer treatment and prevention, as well as in smokers, and in those who have had their ovaries removed.
Vaginal dryness can also predispose women to vaginal infection and subsequent odor. In some cases, women with vaginal dryness and itching describe intercourse as feeling like “sandpaper” or “razor blades”. This makes penetration next to impossible.
How to Help Vaginal Dryness
If you’re wondering how to help vaginal dryness, there are many management options that address both irritating dryness and its associated symptoms. Some of these could be considered to be more “natural” remedies for menopause vaginal dryness, while others require a prescription from your healthcare provider.
Let’s talk about some of your options.
First, consider investing in a fabulous vaginal moisturizer. Commit to using it regularly and indefinitely. After all, would you skip a day of your daily facial care regimen? I recommend a hyaluronic acid-based product. Hyaluronic acid is already widely used in the dermatology and cosmetic worlds. It’s found naturally in the body and is able to retain 1000 times its weight in moisture.
Second, if you’re curious about what helps with vaginal dryness and itching or burning, especially if you’re experiencing discomfort during sex, you may want to consider using a lubricant. You may be wondering what’s the best lubricant for vaginal dryness. Water, silicone, and oil-based products are abundant and can temporarily help with menopause vaginal dryness symptoms but are most-often used in the moment. Some lubricants are hypoallergenic or organic for those who are super sensitive. Remember, less is more when considering ingredients since many women become irritated from added chemicals.
Third, be mindful of feminine hygiene and bath products. Harsh fragrances might prompt irritation in the delicate vaginal and intimate skin and may aggravate vaginal dryness due to menopause. Douches are generally frowned upon since they can disrupt vaginal pH. It’s important to keep in mind that the vagina has natural mechanisms to keep itself clean and pH balanced. Using gentle, fragrance-free, and dye-free products, as well as not over cleansing, can help with easing menopause vaginal dryness.
Hormone replacement therapy is another option that can help with vaginal dryness. However, this type of treatment is not without potential risks, and you should speak with your gynecologist or healthcare provider to see if this or other prescription options might be appropriate for you.†
Hear more about what you can do about vaginal dryness in our quick video, below: