Let’s face it. Vaginal dryness is not exactly a topic most women jump on the bandwagon to talk about. Yet, it is a very real and common complaint among perimenopausal and menopausal women.
As with all the symptoms we suffer with in perimenopause, vaginal dryness is the result of hormonal fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone. Nothing new there.
Declining estrogen levels can upset the natural pH balance (acidic versus alkaline) in vaginal tissue causing a disruption in the natural moisture levels. The leads not only to an obvious dryness, but secondary symptoms, such urinary tract infections, can also result from the irritation as well.
If the pH environment of the vagina (which tends toward acidic) leans too far to the alkaline side, unwanted bacteria, such as yeast, can multiply causing the dreaded yeast infections that so many women suffer with.
In addition, low estrogen levels are also responsible for the thinning of the vaginal walls and a loss of elasticity. Both of which can give the sensation of vaginal dryness.
Things You Can Do
A lot of women resort to simple over-the-counter lubricants, but really, lubricants are, in my view anyway, just a temporary fix. Once the lubricant is gone, vaginal dryness is back. Though I think they have their place, certainly, promoting the natural moisture is the preferred route.
Probiotics – Found in many different forms, such as acidophilus milk and milk products, like yogurt, probiotics can help to put back necessary enzymes, which in turn helps to re-establish a healthy bacterial flora and therefore balance the pH environment of vaginal tissue. If you are not too fond of yogurt or other milk based products you can find probiotics in acidophilus tablet form instead.
Increase Phytoestrogens in Your Diet – Phytoestrogens, which are plant based estrogens, are able to mimic our own body’s estrogens and can therefore help increase vaginal moisture.
Phytoestrogens can be found in soy products which contain soy isoflavones and other food sources such as flaxseed, flaxseed oils, legumes (beans), nuts, apples and cherries, just to name a few. Increasing phyoestrogens in your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to combat vaginal dryness.
Take A Medical Grade Nutritional Supplement – Boosting your body’s ability to heal itself by taking nutritional supplements, such as a multi-vitamin. The preferred method of course is always by way of good, wholesome food sources, but if you’re like me, you don’t always eat a rich variety of foods. That’s where good supplements come in.
And finally, believe it or not, increasing your water consumption can help as well. A well hydrated body has a much better chance of restoring a natural balance than one that is not. Besides, it’s good for your skin too.
Things To Avoid
You know, some things are just a no brainer, like avoiding harsh douches (which includes vinegar). And as much as we love our bubble baths, perfumed sanitary products, scented toilet tissues and soap, the perfumes can irritate vaginal tissue. The harsh douches, well, do I need to say it?
If you’re having serious issues with this, you might also want to consider washing your underwear in non-perfumed clothes detergent as well. And of course, avoid tight clothing which can cause chaffing and rubbing and just make matters worse.
These are just a few suggestions that can help with vaginal dryness. Thankfully ladies, we live in a time where we have lots of choices. So let’s not suffer in silence or take this lying down.