Did you know that around 50% of women over the age of 50 experience symptoms of vaginal dryness? Additionally, during sexual intercourse, 16% of women report experiencing vaginal pain and 25% of women report experiencing vaginal dryness. These numbers can feel a bit disheartening, but luckily, there are lots of ways that women can pursue relief, even in the comfort of their own homes before having to seek additional medical attention.
Vaginal dryness, burning, itching, discomfort, and pain during sex can be really tough symptoms to ignore. Menopause often leads to women’s hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone dropping significantly. This shift in the body can lead to vaginal dryness or unbalanced pH. It is important to note, however, that symptoms of vaginal dryness can occur at any age, not just in the age group of menopausal women, and there are other causes for dryness worth noting. Frequent urinary tract infections, yeast infections, acne medications, and nutritional imbalances can all be causes of female dryness. Luckily, there are many home remedies for dryness, and we’ve outlined a few below.
1. Supplemental estrogen is the most common way to help alleviate the burden of vaginal dryness. By increasing the hormone that is most likely the culprit for your issue of dryness in the first place, a lot can be solved. Estrogen supplements can be found in cream form, pills, or even patches. Many women prefer the cream form that can be applied directly to their vaginal area and it acts as both a natural lubricant and moisturizer which brings relief. Pills and patches can be great too in that they allow women to control the exact dosage of estrogen they are putting into their bodies. It may sound weird, but sometimes supplemental testosterone can also help sexual arousal for women who struggle with vaginal atrophy where intercourse is uncomfortable and painful. By taking a hormone treatment called Dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA, the body is able to convert this into testosterone in small doses that can be safe and helpful for women.
2. Though sex may be the last thing you want when you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, it’s important to note that having sex less frequently really does lead to the vagina shortening and becoming less elastic. This tightening of the pelvic muscles can actually add to additional pain during sex. As long as you are set to go with the proper lubrication, it’s encouraged to continue to have sex to continue to work on increasing the natural blood flow and lubrication in that area and prevent the more painful effects of a narrower vagina and tighter pelvic muscles that may occur if you stop altogether. Not to fear though, there are plenty of over-the-counter lubricants that are designed specifically for vaginal dryness. Using them can help reduce discomfort and dryness during intercourse. It’s important to note that not all lubricants are created equal, and many ones at the grocery store actually can have the opposite effect and leave you feeling even drier. Not to mention, many of them can mess up your body’s natural vaginal pH. Alternatively, many over-the-counter lubricants promote hydration and also help with the pH level down there which can help prevent urinary tract infections.
3. Foods you eat can often be a great supplemental option that helps in aiding vaginal dryness, as many foods can act as a natural lubricant. You may be wondering what those foods are, so we’ve compiled a list.
- Fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), sesame seeds, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds are all examples of foods that are rich in Omega-3s or fatty acids which are known to increase blood flow and decrease dryness. Hot chiles are also a food that helps increase blood circulation and therefore help vaginal stimulation.
- Cranberry juice is known to help reduce vaginal irritation and help restore a normal vaginal pH. Yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, kimchi, and any sort of probiotic-rich food are also great vaginal pH restorers and help fight infection.
- Foods that protect your uterine wall and strengthen vaginal tissue, such as sweet potatoes, can help stabilize estrogen levels due to the fact that they contain vitamin A and beta carotene.
- Soybeans, soy products (such as tofu, tempeh, miso, and edamame), pistachios, peanuts apples, fava beans, and chickpeas are all foods that are high in isoflavones which can help skin issues due to a decrease in estrogen.
- Taking daily multivitamins that are appropriate for your age group, along with Vitamins A, B, and E can act as great supplements to help women re-regulate and get the nutrients they need to help symptoms of female dryness.
- Kale, spinach, collard greens, chard, and all leafy green vegetables, are foods that increase female stimulation, therefore acting as an aid to dryness. Avocado is great in that it is rich in vitamins, potassium, and healthy fats. It helps with lubrication and estrogen levels.