Home Remedies for Vaginal Atrophy and Dryness

Natural Ways to Alleviate Vaginal Dryness

What is Vaginal Dryness?

Vaginal dryness is commonly associated with a medical condition called “Vaginal Atrophy”. This health condition is experienced by as many as 32 million women in the United States alone (Journal of Clinical Medicine Insights: Reproductive Health, 2014).

The condition is often a result of menopause and involves a thinning and inflammation of the vaginal tissues, resulting in vaginal dryness and discomfort. Vaginal Atrophy can affect virtually every area of a woman’s life and well-being, from self-confidence and self-esteem to sexual and urinary health.

Common Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness

  • Vaginal burning
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Urgency with urination
  • Burning with urination
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Discomfort or pain with intercourse
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Vaginal dryness despite sexual arousal 
  • Tightening or shortening of the vaginal canal 

Causes of Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal atrophy is typically the result of a drop in estrogen production, resulting in reduced elasticity, sensitivity, and thinner vaginal tissue.

This drop in estrogen is often caused by:

  • Aging and menopause 
  • Removal of the ovaries
  • During breastfeeding
  • Due to certain medications (such as birth control) 
  • Post-radiation therapy of the pelvis (for cancer)
  • After chemotherapy treatment 
  • As a result of hormone treatments 

Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes are simple, natural and often effective ways to alleviate symptoms associated with vaginal dryness. In conjunction with other therapies such as medications or vaginal dilators, these adjustments to habits can make a positive impact on health and well-being.

  1. Keep Hydrated

Staying hydrated is one of the simplest ways to ensure that your bodily tissues have the hydration needed to stay adequately lubricated. Drinking enough water can also aid in cellular health and the absorption and shuttling of vital nutrients in the body.

  1. Consistent / Regular Exercise

We all know exercise is good for us, but for those of you struggling with vaginal dryness, it can be especially helpful. Exercise may improve symptoms by increasing serotonin levels (synergistic with estrogen), improve mood, reduce depression and anxiety, eliminate toxins and increase blood flow to tissues improving nutrient delivery and overall health.

  1. Stop Smoking

If you suffer from vaginal atrophy it can be especially harmful. Not only does smoking reduce estrogen, but it also has a significant negative impact on blood vessels. Vascular health is incredibly important for keeping your vaginal tissues healthy.

  1. Don’t Write Off Vaginal Sex

Many women with vaginal dryness experience discomfort or pain during sex, reduced self-confidence, and some degree of anxiety about having intercourse. This leads to decreased sexual drive or outright avoidance. However, for those in a healthy relationship and practicing safe sex, staying sexually active is an important aspect of vaginal health. Sexual intercourse can stimulate natural blood flow, increasing moisture and lubrication. Speak with your partner and work through challenges to make things as comfortable as possible, using a natural lubricant when appropriate or as needed.

  1. Avoid Synthetic and Irritative Perfumes, Soaps, etc.

You might not have given it much thought, but the products you use in and out of the shower can have an impact on your vagina. Harsh or perfuming soaps, detergents used to wash panties, perfumes and more can all cause irritation and dry out the skin.

Treatment Options for Vaginal Dryness

When lifestyle changes aren’t enough, it’s time to up the ante. Luckily there are safe, reliable, effective and affordable options to explore.

Vaginal Dilator Therapy 

These tube-shaped, tapered medical devices come in varying lengths and thicknesses suitable for all body types. Designed for gentle insertion into the vagina, these devices can aid in improving tissue health, stimulating localized blood flow, helping your body adapt and adjust to penetration, strengthen localized musculature, and even stimulate moisture and natural lubricant production.

Natural Lubricants

Sometimes a little help can go a long way. Natural, water-based lubricants used in conjunction with vaginal dilator therapy can be an effective 1-2 punch combination for improving vaginal dryness.

Some Ingredients to Look for Include:

  • Vitamin E
  • Aloe Vera
  • Coconut Oil 

Probiotics 

There is some evidence to suggest that probiotics may improve symptoms of vaginal dryness by aiding in balancing pH levels of microflora present in the vagina. These microorganisms play a key role in vaginal health.

Hormone Therapy

Although natural remedies are almost always worth exploring before considering medications, your doctor may suggest exploring hormone replacement therapy in order to alleviate symptoms. Because vaginal atrophy is largely regulated by estrogen, this can be an effective treatment option for some women. However, always be sure to discuss potential side effects with your healthcare professional.

Don’t Let Vaginal Dryness Impact Your Quality of Life

Millions of women suffer from vaginal dryness worldwide, with the effects running into many aspects of life, from sexual health to self-confidence. Don’t let vaginal atrophy get the best of you. By implementing the natural remedies in this guide you can begin to take back control of your health and sexual well-being, giving you the confidence you need to live your best life, comfortably and pain-free.

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By   Dr. Amanda Olson,DPT, PRPC