Vaginal Dryness Treatments
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Vaginal dryness is unfortunately a very common part of the transition into menopause. In fact, some studies report that 40 to 60% of women develop this symptom at some point during the menopausal transition.
Other studies have discovered that many women are not informed or are embarrassed to ask about vaginal dryness. However, learning more about this normal symptom of menopause is one of the best ways for a woman to seek a solution and increase her physical and emotional wellbeing.
Approaches to vaginal dryness treatments will depend on a number of factors. For some women, vaginal dryness will be a mild symptom that lasts for a short period of time. For others, it may be more problematic, interfering with intercourse, daily comfort, and more. In these cases, treatment for vaginal dryness may require more effort or stronger methods. Keep reading to learn about the three main approaches to vaginal dryness treatment.
Three Approaches to Treating Vaginal Dryness
Women looking to treat vaginal dryness will find three approaches to treatment: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications.
It is recommended that women start with lifestyle changes, the least-risky form of treating vaginal dryness. While such adjustments are often effective in restoring vaginal moisture, they are unable to address hormonal imbalances, which are the underlying cause of vaginal dryness. However, herbal supplements alongside lifestyle changes can treat vaginal dryness safely and effectively. Medications should only be used when other options have been exhausted.
While medical intervention is not usually necessary, some women may wish to consider medications if they are unable to find relief from natural vaginal dryness treatments. For women considering this option, it is important to be informed about the risks associated with such treatments and carefully weigh them.
1. Lifestyle Changes for Vaginal Dryness
Making adjustments in lifestyle is the first approach menopausal women should take to relieve vaginal dryness. These changes may come at no cost and little to no risk, but they demand the most self-discipline. The following self-care techniques can help to alleviate vaginal dryness safely:
Products to Try
Moisturizers. These products act directly on tissue to relieve dryness. Moisturizers may be preferred by women with irritation and burning not limited to sexual activity, and they can also help prevent vaginal infections.
Lubricators. Water-based vaginal lubricants decrease friction and ease sexual discomfort.
Vitamin E oil. This nutrient protects membranes from damage.
Note: Only products specifically designed for vaginal lubrication should be used to treat vaginal dryness.
Blood flow. Regular sexual stimulation, which promotes blood flow to the genital area, can help maintain vaginal health.
Interaction. Communication between partners can also help.
Other techniques. If vaginal penetration is difficult, other techniques such as massage, extended caressing, and mutual masturbation (sometimes referred to as “outercourse”) may be more comfortable and pleasurable.
Diet and Supplements
Staying hydrated. Water provides the vaginal lining with more moisture.
Phytoestrogens. Increasing soy, legume, and flaxseed consumption can help with estrogen deficiency.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Found in coldwater fish and olive oil, this nutrient helps with vaginal lubrication.
Eating a balanced diet. Low-fat diets can actually worsen vaginal dryness. Unsaturated fats are recommended over saturated ones.
What to avoid
Vinegar, yogurt, or other douches
Oil-based products such as petroleum jelly and baby oil.
Antihistamine pills dry out mucous membranes, including the vagina.
Caffeine and alcohol consumption can dry out tissues.
While lifestyle changes are a healthy and holistic form of managing vaginal dryness, they may be hard to implement and keep up with. Exercise and a healthy diet benefit overall health and may alleviate vaginal dryness, but they do not address the underlying cause of the dryness – hormonal imbalance. However, alternative medicines are a safe and effective way of treating hormonal imbalance and, in turn, vaginal dryness. Keep reading to find out more about natural treatments for vaginal dryness.
2. Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine approaches are typically considered a highly effective method of treating vaginal dryness, since they involve only minor side effects, if any.
This level of treatment encompasses various methods. Herbal supplements are thought to the best treatment, but some women may find relief from techniques like massage, acupuncture, biofeedback, or homeopathy. While any one of these may produce results, many women discover that herbal supplements require less time and monetary commitment in addition to being easier to follow. Additionally, they are the only type of alternative treatment that can directly address the underlying hormonal imbalance of vaginal dryness.
Vaginal Dryness Diet
In one study, researchers found that women who supplemented their diet with 45 grams of soy flour and 25 grams of flaxseed daily had measurable increases in vaginal moisture during and two weeks following this dietary change.
As for supplementary herbs, there are two types that are practical in treating vaginal dryness: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements.
These supplements (such as red clover) contain certain compounds that mimic the function of estrogen when introduced into the body. This plant-based estrogen can complement an estrogen deficiency, helping relieve vaginal dryness. On the other hand, due to the addition of outside hormones, the body may become less able to produce hormones naturally, which could ultimately result in a further decline in the body's hormone levels.
By contrast, these supplements (e.g., Macafem) are free of hormones, including phytoestrogens. This supplement works by providing nutrients to the endocrine system and thus stimulating the natural production of hormones at balanced levels. This applies not only to estrogen, but also to other vital hormones like progesterone and testosterone. Because the body produces hormones naturally rather than using external hormones, herbal supplements that promote the endocrine system are considered to be a safe and effective way to treat vaginal dryness.
From “Nature and Health Magazine”, Dr. Chacon says:
“Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production, by inducing the optimal functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands”. Click on the following link to read more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches is typically the most effective form of treating vaginal dryness. Specifically, most women find that lifestyle changes accompanied by hormone-regulating herbal supplements are the best method of treatment. However, in some cases, vaginal dryness may be so persistent or severe that it calls for the third approach – medications – but this should only be considered after the risks have been fully evaluated.
The medical approach involves the highest risk and is frequently the most expensive as well. In North America, the most used medication to treat vaginal dryness was once hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Though this can be a fast and potent way to relieve vaginal dryness and restore moisture, it also carries the risk of harmful side effects, such as an increased risk of certain cancer types, as the following study shows.
In 1991, The National Institute of Health (NIH) launched the largest clinical trial ever performed in the U.S., the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). This study was designed to answer looming questions regarding the pros and cons of HRT. In July 2002, it was halted due to the discovery that artificial hormones raise the risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, blood clots, stroke, and heart disease. These results were published in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and they have not been challenged since.
Vaginal estrogen therapy is an alternative to systemic estrogen treatment that may carry a lower risk of side effects. This is because absorption of estrogen into the bloodstream is minimal, so only the vaginal tissue, which is the target area, is affected. This usually comes in the form of a ring that is inserted into the vagina.
It's important to take into consideration the fact that while several medications can potentially help with vaginal dryness, they all can cause significant side effects, which may offset the possible benefits. If vaginal dryness is so severe that a woman wants to choose this type of treatment, she is encouraged to speak with her doctor for advice.
These three approaches can be combined or used separately according to each individual's symptoms. More and more women are finding that alleviating vaginal dryness is best achieved via a combination of healthy lifestyle adjustments and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
A Safe Way of Treating Vaginal Dryness
Hormone-regulating herbal supplements for easing vaginal dryness, as established in the alternative medicine approach, are often considered the prime treatment because they are effective and have a low risk of side effects.
Macafem, for instance, is considered to be an excellent hormone-regulating herbal supplement. Its mechanism is straightforward: it stimulates the endocrine system to produce natural hormones rather than introducing outside hormones into the body. This is what makes Macafem so distinct. Click on the following link if you want to find out more about Macafem.
Vaginal discharge is uncomfortable and worrisome, but many women experience it – even after menopause. Lowered levels of estrogen set off a chain of events that can eventually lead to infections. To find out more about the causes and treatments of discharge after menopause, read here.
Vaginal dryness and need for lubrication during sexual intercourse can be difficult problems to talk about for many women. Coconut oil is a natural lubricant that can ease discomfort. To find out more about whether or not to use this home remedy in place of processed versions, keep reading.