Let’s go ahead and put it out there: vaginal dryness is a nuisance. That’s right, I said it! Dry subjects don’t require dry explanations, so I thought I’d just jump right into this one.
Yes, vaginal dryness is a thing and yes, most women experience it, BUT…there are definitely options to treat vaginal dryness. Whether vaginal dryness is occurring because of hormonal changes or as a result of your medication, there’s a remedy to improve the waterfall. However, the treatment depends on the cause.
When Medications Are The Cause
Did you know that antidepressants cause vaginal dryness? A few studies found that 30 to 70 percent of individuals that take antidepressants experience some form of sexual difficulty.
Colds and allergies can be a pain as well. The runny nose, dry throat, and persistent cough are enough to drive you up a wall. But have you ever noticed that your water well runs a little dry too? Allergy and cold medications contain ingredients that remove moisture from your body, which includes your lovely lady parts too.
And, of course “the pill”. It turns out that birth control pills make the vagina dry. In fact, 3-5% percent of women on low-dose birth control pills experience vaginal dryness. If you’ve just started the pill, then give it a few weeks so the hormones in your body can adjust.
So, What Should You Do?
If you think any of those medications are causing you to have vaginal dryness, then speak with your doctor. Your best option to treat vaginal dryness may be a different brand of medication
Not interested in changing your meds, but want to get frisky? Then consider a good ole lube. A silicone-based lubricant is probably the best way to avoid discomfort during sex. Is vaginal dryness causing you to feel uncomfortable in general? Opt for a vaginal moisturizer. Moisturizers can be used regularly.
When Hormones Are The Cause
If your issues are because of hormonal changes, such as having a baby or menopause, then estrogen therapy may the best way to treat vaginal dryness. Currently, there are three main types of estrogen therapy, of which I’ll refer to as the ring, the cream, and the tablet.
- The Ring: A doctor puts a flexible ring into your vagina where it’ll release estrogen directly into the tissue. These are typically replaced every 3 months.
- The Cream: Not feeling the ring? Then try a cream. You’d manually put the cream into your vagina daily for two weeks. After that, just do it 1-3 times per week.
- The Tablet: Like the cream, you’ll self-insert a tablet into your vagina once a day for two weeks. Then cut down to twice a week until it’s no longer necessary.
Change Your Diet & Lifestyle
You might be surprised, but what you eat and drink does have an impact on the health of your vagina and can be a great natural way to treat vaginal dryness.
Did You Say Soy?
While soy is a little controversial, minimally processed soy can be advantageous to your vaginal health. Soy helps our muscles retain more water and contains phytoestrogens, which mimics estrogen. Who knew that eating a little tofu and tempeh could help treat vaginal dryness?
An Apple A Day
Oh, apples. Where art thou when the water well runs dry? Turns out, an apple a day may help treat vaginal dryness. The antioxidants found in apples stimulate vaginal blood flow, which also helps with lubrication.
Another Reason To Eat Your Veggies
Some people hate veggies, but I’ve got something that might convince you to try them anyway. Dark leafy green veggies are known to improve circulation due to their blood purifying powers and various nutrients. Those two components alone can treat vaginal dryness AND…can improve the health of your vaginal muscles.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Have you ever tried having sex with your partner after a night of partying? Alcohol dehydrates you big time and unfortunately, that includes your vagina too.
Try Low Impact Exercise
Low intensity aerobic exercises can help your lower lady parts too. Try an activity that makes you warm and a little breathless, like yoga and jogging. Kegel exercises help to promote the healthy function of vaginal muscles too!
Steer Clear Of Scents
Choices, choices. Would you rather smell like peaches and cream or have a healthy vagina? While lovely scents may be appealing, they can dry you out big time. Steer clear of scented soaps, lotions, and shower gels. Also, say no to douches. All of those can actually worsen dryness.
The Key Takeaway
While vaginal dryness is a nuisance, there are so many ways to make it better. Whether it is changing your diet, getting estrogen therapy, or switching your medication – there’s a solution out there for you.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH