Vaginal dryness shouldn’t have to be embarrassing, especially when it happens to so many people as they grow older. Nonetheless, it can be a little difficult to talk to a doctor about what’s going on down there.
Whether you’re trying to figure out what might be causing your dryness, or you’re interested in learning about some home remedies for dryness that you can try before you resort to traditional medicine, you’re in the right place.
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What causes vaginal dryness?
There are multiple potential causes of vaginal dryness, and irritation related to vaginal dryness is an extremely common problem. According to By Winona, vaginal dryness affects more than 50% of women 50-years-old and higher. Additionally, 25% of women in general struggle with vaginal dryness during sex. Even worse, 16% experience some kind of vaginal pain.
The most common cause of vaginal dryness can be tracked down to hormonal estrogen levels, specifically when these levels are reduced.
This dryness in the vagina or in the vulva (the lips visual on the outside of the vagina) is even more likely to occur for those experiencing menopause. Feelings related to these hormones, other than dryness, include:
- pain during sex,
- varying levels of discomfort,
- itching, and/or
According to WebMD, decreased estrogen levels are also common:
- during childbirth or breastfeeding,
- following surgical removal of ovaries, or
- during and after treatments of radiation or chemotherapy for cancer.
- Further, these decreased hormone levels can occur if you’re using anti-estrogen medications, including those that treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis.
There are also many reasons that a person might experience vaginal dryness that are unrelated to dropping estrogen levels, including:
- yeast or urinary tract infections,
- bouts of lice,
- use of particular acne medications,
- some nutritional imbalances,
- waxing or shaving can also cause general vaginal discomfort, including dryness and other irritations,
- the use of some hormonal contraceptives,
- the presence of some STDs or STIs,
- Sjögren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disorder that attacks moisture-producing cells),
- the use of certain antidepressants,
- allergy and cold medications,
- a lack of/not enough foreplay before vaginal penetration, or
Things related to emotions can also lead to a lack of sufficient lubrication during sex, including increased stress or anxiety. With heightened anxiety levels, blood flow to the vagina is more likely to be insufficient. This can easily lead to increased vaginal dryness and a decrease in natural vaginal lubrication.
Can Eating Better Soothe Dryness?
A change in diet can lead to a dramatic improvement in vaginal moisture and should be strongly considered amongst the lineup of home remedies for dryness. However, while many foods can support the improvement or maintenance of vaginal health, there is something that should not be avoided.
Drinking lots of water is strongly related to improving the body’s general hydration levels. Plenty of water should be consumed on a daily basis, not only to allay irritation related to thirst, but also to help lower general levels of dryness throughout the body.
Foods that are high in isoflavones can support healthier levels of estrogen, especially during perimenopause when estrogen levels are more likely to be rapidly declining. However, it’s best if foods high in isoflavones have been only minimally processed. Some foods high in isoflavones include:
- fava beans
Additionally, further powerful home remedies for dryness are foods that are high in fatty acids, also known as Omega-3. These are able to support decreased vaginal dryness and increased blood flow, and they may be able to support the production of natural vaginal lubrication as well. Some common ones are:
- sesame seeds
- sunflower feeds
- raw pumpkin
Cranberry juice is famously associated with decreasing the frequency of UTIs, and drinking cranberry juice low in sugars could support improved pH levels in the vagina. In general, this could increase your intake of Vitamins C and E, which could also be beneficial for improving vaginal irritation and dryness.
Sweet potato has high levels of both Vitamin A and beta carotene, which can support increased strength in vaginal walls and maintenance of estrogen levels.
Avocados, like sweet potatoes, can also support the maintenance of estrogen levels during periods of change. Additionally, its healthy fats have been correlated to supporting improved vaginal lubrication.
Probiotics or yogurts can also be useful home remedies for dryness, as they can support healthy pH levels in the vagina. They’re useful for preventing irritation and infections as well. Some common probiotics include a variety of fermented foods, such as kombucha, pickles, pickled daikon and carrots, kimchi, or sauerkraut.
Daily vitamins tailored for specific genders and age groups can also be extremely helpful in supporting overall health, including health-related to the vagina. As bodily needs change during the aging process, it might be helpful to take some of these supplements and vitamins to get exactly what you need and support your body’s changing requirements.
Trying multiple foods from each of these groups has the potential to support reduced vaginal dryness. These home remedies for dryness could help you identify exactly what sorts of nutrients your body may be needing in order to sustain levels of vaginal moisture.
This could especially be the case if food from these groups are tried in increased quantities individually, rather than all at once. Trying the foods on their own could help you identify what responds best to your body, as well as which combinations best suit your preferences and lifestyle.
What Other Techniques can I try to Soothe Vaginal Dryness?
Some other, non-diet-related home remedies for dryness can also be tried, especially if you’re still experiencing vaginal dryness problems and already have a healthy and varied diet. Some things you could try include:
- pelvic floor exercises
- over-the-counter (OTC) lubricants, especially those that promote vaginal hydration
- having more sex, which could support the overall elasticity of the vaginal walls and improve blood flow to the area, so long as there is enough lubrication
- sleeping well and sleeping enough
- treating existing yeast infections with OTC treatments
- avoiding douching and otherwise “cleaning” the inside of your vagina