All about each symptom of menopause
women going through menopause

Soy and Black Cohosh to Treat Vaginal Dryness

Many women going through menopause suffer from vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness can be generally uncomfortable, itchy, and cause pain during sex. One of the most effective treatments for vaginal dryness is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which solves symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings by increasing the amount of estrogen in the body.

Soy and Black Cohosh to Treat Vaginal Dryness1

However, many people look for alternatives to vaginal dryness. Two natural remedies people use are black cohosh and soy, although they are not effective for all women.

Causes of Vaginal Dryness

A decline in estrogen levels is the main cause of vaginal dryness. Menopause causes the moist lining in the vaginal walls to become thinner and dry out, which can lead to burning, bleeding, pain, and itching, especially during sex. Alongside hormonal changes during menopause, vaginal dryness can also be caused by:

Soy and Black Cohosh to Treat Vaginal Dryness
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Removal of the ovaries by surgery
  • Smoking
  • Radiation and chemotherapy
  • Lack of arousal

Treating Vaginal Dryness with Soy and Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is a plant from the buttercup family that grows in central and eastern areas of the United States. Originally, it was used by Native Americans as a remedy for many conditions that affect women, including menstrual cramps, arthritis, hot flashes, sore throat, muscle pain, and menopause symptoms.

Black cohosh and soy are both plants that are rich in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that act like estrogen when introduced to the human body. Because declining estrogen levels are what causes menopause symptoms, it may be that the phytoestrogens will increase estrogen levels and thereby reduce symptoms such as vaginal dryness. Soy also contains phytoestrogens, and soy-based foods include:

Soy and Black Cohosh to Treat Vaginal Dryness
  • Soymilk
  • Edamame
  • Tofu
  • Miso

However, the phytoestrogens in soy, black cohosh, and other plants may be too weak to have an actual impact on vaginal dryness. There are many options available to treat vaginal dryness, but they are not all effective. Many women find that over-the-counter vaginal lubricants and moisturizers can provide a great amount of relief. You may wish to discuss possible treatment options with your gynecologist, especially if vaginal dryness is lowering your quality of life.

How to Use Progesterone to Relieve Vaginal Dryness

Progesterone is prescribed to some menopausal women because it decreases the risk of getting uterine cancer in women taking estrogen. Read more here.

Q&A: How Does Vaginal Dryness Affect My Sex Life?

While a frustrating side effect, vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause. Don't let it dry out your sex life - check out this article

Vaginal Dryness in Post Menopausal Women

Vaginal dryness frequently plagues postmenopausal women and can cause painful sex. Click here to learn what causes it and how it can be treated.

Sources:
  • National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vaginal Dryness Alternative Treatments. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002142.htm
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. (2014). Black Cohosh. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/black-cohosh