Vaginal dryness: causes, symptoms & remedies
Vaginal dryness is a common concern that many women experience at various stages of their lives, and for many it can persist over months and even years. Vaginal dryness can be uncomfortable, causing irritation and discomfort, and it can cause pain during intimate moments. However you don't need to live with vaginal dryness and you can do something about it.
Shona Wilkinson explains the causes, symptoms and remedies for vaginal dryness, and how to overcome it through diet, lifestyle and supplements, including pH Hero, the unique supplement specifically formulated to rebalance the vaginal microbiome, combat UTIs and vaginal dryness.
What is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness refers to a condition where the vaginal tissues lack proper lubrication. This can result in discomfort, itching, and pain during sexual intercourse. The symptoms may also include a burning sensation and an increased risk of irritation.
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Causes of vaginal dryness
Several factors contribute to vaginal dryness, ranging from hormonal changes to lifestyle choices. Hormonal fluctuations, often associated with menopause, childbirth or breastfeeding, are the most common cause of vaginal dryness. The decrease in oestrogen levels that occurs during hormone changes leads to a decline in vaginal moisture. Other common causes of vaginal dryness include certain medications, anxiety and stress, hygiene factors, and inadequate arousal during sexual activity.
Vaginal dryness vs. vaginal atrophy
While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, it's important to note the difference between vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy involves the thinning, inflammation and drying of the vaginal walls due to decreased oestrogen levels, typically occurring during menopause.
Vaginal dryness is a broader term that encompasses various causes beyond hormonal changes, including changes in the natural ph balance of the vagina and the vaginal microbiome. You may also enjoy reading 'How your gut and your vagina are linked'.
pH Hero® is a unique vaginal probiotic specifically formulated to rebalance the vaginal microbiome and combat vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy, UTIs, infections and discomfort.
Vaginal dryness and UTIs
In some cases, vaginal dryness can increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Insufficient lubrication may lead to irritation and microtears in the vaginal tissue, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth, which can travel to the urethra and bladder. Maintaining proper vaginal moisture is crucial to reducing the likelihood of UTIs.
Winter dryness / winter vagina: myth or reality?
The idea of 'winter vagina' or increased dryness during colder months has circulated in discussions about seasonal changes. However, there's limited evidence to support this claim. While environmental factors including cold weather and indoor heating can contribute to overall skin dryness, the impact on vaginal moisture may vary among individuals.
Tips and home remedies
- Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall health, including vaginal moisture.
- Topical lubricants: Using water-based or silicone-based lubricants can provide instant relief during intimate moments.
- Regular sexual activity: Regular sexual activity promotes blood flow to the genital area, maintaining vaginal elasticity and moisture. You may be interested in reading 'Does sex boost your immune system?'.
- Moisturising oils: Applying natural oils like coconut oil or vitamin E oil can help moisturise the vaginal tissues.
Foods to combat vaginal dryness
Certain foods can contribute to better vaginal health:
- Avocados: Rich in healthy fats, avocados can support the body's natural lubrication.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Found in flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts, omega 3 fatty acids can promote overall vaginal health.
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Supplements for vaginal health
Known for its moisturising properties, vitamin E can be beneficial for vaginal dryness.
Omega 3 supplements
Omega 3 supplements, like DR.VEGAN's Vegan Omega 3 algae oil softgels, can support overall vaginal health and combat dryness.
DR.VEGAN® pH Hero®
pH Hero® was created by experts specifically to re-balance the health of the vagina. It contains ingredients that target the vagina and causes of discomfort, including:
Parsley extract is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and supports overall reproductive health and optimal vaginal moisture levels. The antioxidants present in parsley may help combat oxidative stress, promoting a healthier environment for the vaginal tissues.
Cranberry extract helps prevent urinary tract infections by inhibiting the adhesion of bacteria to the urinary tract walls. Cranberry extract may indirectly support vaginal health. This can be crucial in preventing UTIs, which can contribute to vaginal discomfort and dryness.
Inulin is a prebiotic fibre that acts as a food source for beneficial bacteria in the gut. By promoting the growth of these bacteria, inulin indirectly supports vaginal health. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to overall wellbeing, including the prevention of infections that may affect the genital area. Continue reading about how your gut and vagina are linked.
Probiotics, including L-acidophilus, L-crispatus, L-rhamnosus, L-reuteri and L-Plantarum
These probiotic strains are beneficial bacteria that naturally inhabit the vagina. They play a crucial role in maintaining the acidic pH of the vagina, creating an environment that discourages the growth of harmful bacteria. By promoting a balanced vaginal microbiome, these probiotics can help prevent infections and support optimal moisture levels.
Stinging nettle extract
Stinging nettle extract contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may contribute to overall reproductive health. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial in reducing inflammation and discomfort associated with vaginal dryness.
Sea buckthorn extract
Sea buckthorn extract is rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. It is known for its moisturising and nourishing properties, which can be beneficial for maintaining healthy mucous membranes, including those in the vaginal area. The fatty acids, especially omega 7, may contribute to skin and tissue hydration.
Vitamin B6 plays a role in hormonal balance and hormonal fluctuations can contribute to vaginal dryness. By supporting hormonal regulation, vitamin B6 may indirectly help maintain optimal vaginal moisture levels.
Vaginal dryness is a common concern, with various contributing factors. By understanding the causes and symptoms, individuals can take proactive steps to address and alleviate this discomfort. Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, staying hydrated and considering dietary changes can significantly contribute to maintaining optimal vaginal health.
You may also enjoy reading:
- Nutrition for the menopause
- Mental health effects of menopause
- What is period poo?
- The surprising life impacts of PMS
- What PMS type are you?
- Nutrition for PMS symptoms
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