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Natural Treatments for Vaginal Dryness

Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is a common condition that every woman will have experienced at least once at some point in her life.  In this article we will discuss the typical causes for vaginal dryness, provide natural treatments for vaginal dryness, and managing it.

Common Causes of Vaginal Dryness

Menopause and Postmenopause

Menopause, whether natural or induced by surgery or cancer treatment, will lead to a decrease in estrogen levels, which in turn reduces natural lubrication.

Postmenopausal women experience vaginal dryness, menopausal symptoms, and changes include sensation of burning upon friction (such as when the penis thrusts inside the vagina), reduced vaginal elasticity, and diminished vaginal lubrication.  

Primary or Secondary Vaginismus

Vaginismus, or Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration disorder, is characterized by the inability or great difficulty with vaginal penetration and intercourse.  Primary vaginismus is when the woman has always struggled with this condition, whereas secondary vaginismus is the result of disruptive life’s events.

Vaginismus is always an anxiety-based condition.  You can learn more in this video.  One symptom of anxiety is dryness due to a change in hormone levels, i.e. dry mouth, dry eyes, dry throat, and dry vagina. 

Hormonal Changes

The woman’s body is continuously subjected to hormonal changes and their manifestations, including vaginal dryness.  Examples:

  • Menopause: the estrogenic decline brings about dryness, which is a chief complaint of women in this phase of life;
  • Breastfeeding: estrogen levels are typically low during breastfeeding, resulting in vaginal dryness and discomfort;
  • Menstrual cycle: estrogen levels are at their lowest during the period, before rising again toward ovulation in preparation for conception. This is a typical cyclical feature in the woman’s body; 
  • Anxiety: as discussed above, anxiety is a ‘drier…’

Excessive Genital Hygiene

The genitals do not need excessive harsh or scrubbing cleaning.  Gentle washing and relieving with a mild or hypoallergenic soap will do it.  And there is never a need for washing inside the vagina (douching) unless medically prescribed.

Watch Part I and Part II and Part III of our video series about genital hygiene.

Medications, Stress & Anxiety

Certain medications, such as antihistamines, anti-anxiety & antidepressants, antibiotics, hormonal contraceptives, hormone suppression medications, and chemotherapy drugs have vaginal dryness as a side effect.

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions that may cause vaginal dryness include Sjögren’s syndrome, autoimmune disorders, hypothyroidism, allergies, hormonal imbalance, and certain cancer treatments that can cause vaginal dryness.

Chemicals, Medications, Etc.

Our patients are often surprised when we point to a list of everyday habits and activities that may cause vaginal dryness:

  • Dry heat in winter, which dries up your hands, eyes, body, and yes – the vagina.  Read more here;
  • Antibiotics;
  • Prescription creams and ointments for treatment options of genital infections;
  • Immersing body in salted or treated water, i.e. ocean, whirlpool, jacuzzi, hot water bathtub, or Mikvah;
  • Using hot water on the genitals during bathing, which causes chafing and irritation;
  • Religious practices such as intense rinsing after voiding and sexual intimacy.

Home Remedies for Vaginal Dryness

Considering the many causes of vaginal dryness described above, management will have to do with addressing the particular cause or causes.  In addition to professional management, there is plenty that a woman can try on her own to manage her dry vagina, as follows:

Hydrate & Moisturize the Vagina

  • Be sure to drink sufficiently to avoid dehydration;
  • Use vaginal moisturizers, water-based lubricants, or topical for penetrative activities.  Watch this video for which to use and how to use; 
  • Discuss with your healthcare provider the option of vaginal estrogen cream therapy;
  • Use a humidifier in winter when the dry heat is going, or if you live in a dry climate – if your hands and eyes are dry, so is your vagina!  

Avoiding Irritants

  • Use a mild or hypoallergenic soaps to clean between the genitals lips;
  • Do not scrub nor rub hard with a hand towel;
  • Rinse with warm water using a hand-held shower or a spray bottle;
  • Avoid irritating bath oils;
  • If a hot bath is your choice, add a bit of baby oil to the water to make them a bit oily, and place a towel at the bottom of the tub to prevent slipping;
  • No douching unless medically prescribed;
  • Avoid using scented products on the genitals or inside the vagina.

Herbal Supplements

This may be a potential troubled zone as they may irritate the vagina so use cautiously or under the care of your healthcare provider.  Also, the research is not yet conclusive as to the efficacy and safety of these products.

Sex & Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels)

  • Ensure sexual activity with partner and/or by self masturbation to ‘get the juices flowing’, and increase blood flow to the vagina thus promoting vaginal lubrication and elasticity in your vaginal area and vaginal wall.
  • Promote vaginal health by doing Kegel exercises to pump blood and keep the muscles active and enhancing vaginal moisture.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Vaginal Dryness

  • Maintain a healthy diet that includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts, and chia seeds.  These fats can help support healthy cell membranes and may improve vaginal lubrication;
  • There have been reports that vitamin E and D are also of help to vaginal dryness, whether via a capsule or a vaginal insert.  Discuss with your health care provider;
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as they may increase vaginal dryness;
  • Manage stress!  We cannot say this enough… 

Seek Advice and Guidance From Professionals at Women’s Therapy Center

Women can often sort out disruptive vaginal dryness by using common sense and any of the above suggestions.  However, if not successful, or still suffering, reaching out to your healthcare provider is recommended so they can identify the root cause and provide help with vaginal dryness. 

If you’d like to learn about natural remedies for vaginal dryness, we welcome your inquiries and look forward to being of help so do not hesitate to Contact Us for coaching and treatment. 

About The Author

vaginismus specialist Dr. Ditza Katz team member Women's Therapy Center

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