If you’re a woman, whether you have a chronic condition or are generally healthy, vaginal dryness will likely happen to you at some point in your life. While common, this dryness can lead to various issues — including irritation and discomfort. But, the walls of your vagina are designed to stay lubricated. So, how does vaginal dryness occur? And, is there something you can do to reverse the effects or promote lubrication?
What is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness, also known as vaginal atrophy, occurs when there is a drop of estrogen in your body. Since estrogen is responsible for maintaining the fluid lining the walls of your vagina, less estrogen can reduce the moisture available. This most often occurs during menopause, but other conditions can cause vaginal dryness, including:
- Childbirth and breastfeeding
- Radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancer
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
- Anti-estrogen medications used to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Stress and anxiety
- Flammer syndrome
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal atrophy can vary in severity from person to person. But, you’ll be able to identify the condition by looking for:
- Vaginal itching
- Pain during sex
- Discomfort during physical activity
- Increased risk of vaginal infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
6 Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
From home remedies to noninvasive procedures, there are tons of options for treating vaginal dryness. Regardless of the option you choose, it’s important that you treat the condition — as dryness will only worsen over time. This can lead to complications, including infection.
1. Vaginal Moisturizers
For some women, vaginal moisturizers are a great way to reduce vaginal dryness. These special moisturizers are designed specifically for the vagina and can keep it feeling moist.
You should apply the moisturizer a few times a week before bed. Rub it around the walls of the vagina to let it absorb. Make sure to avoid moisturizers or creams that aren’t specifically made for the vagina or vaginal use and are scented.
2. Water-Based Lubricants
If you’re experiencing vaginal atrophy, make sure to apply a water-based lubricant in your vagina before any sexual activity. You should also use it on your partner where there will be contact. A lubricant can help to relieve any pain or discomfort you might normally experience during sex.
The best lubricants for vaginal dryness are ones that don’t contain petroleum jelly or glycerin. Glycerin can cause your vagina to become increasingly irritated, and petroleum jelly can cause condoms to weaken and break during intercourse.
3. Regular Sexual Activity
While sexual activity may not seem like the best remedy at first, sexual stimulation on a consistent basis can actually improve your vaginal health. Whether it’s alone or with a partner, sexual stimulation helps increase blood flow and vaginal secretions — relieving vaginal dryness.
If you’re having sex with a partner, make sure to engage in foreplay before intercourse. This can improve arousal making sex more enjoyable and comfortable. Arousal can also help to promote blood flow and secretions to the vagina.
4. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are proven to strengthen weak vaginal muscles. If you’re experiencing lower levels of estrogen, vaginal muscles can weaken over time. Kegel exercises tighten muscles and strengthen weaker ones. It also increases blood flow to the vagina.
You can do Kegel exercises discreetly, whether you’re sitting at your desk or relaxing on the couch. By incorporating them into your daily routine, you can strengthen your vaginal muscles and improve blood flow. Aim for at least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per day.
5. Estrogen Therapy
If home remedies aren’t relieving your vaginal dryness, then your physician may suggest estrogen therapies — including a vaginal ring, cream, or tablet. A vaginal ring is inserted into the vagina, where it continually releases low amounts of estrogen into the tissues. Prescription creams, like vaginal moisturizers, are applied to the walls of the vagina to improve moisture. A tablet can be inserted into the vagina to help promote estrogen production as well.
Each option has its own pros and cons, so you should talk to your physician before making any final decisions. If you have a history of breast cancer, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding, you may need a non-hormonal version of estrogen therapy.
6. Noninvasive Procedures
If you’re looking for a longer-term solution to your vaginal atrophy, FemiLift is a cosmetic procedure that restores elasticity and confidence so that you can enjoy intimacy again. The procedure uses an Alma CO2 laser with a 360-degree rotating probe to make it easier to treat the entire vaginal canal.
FemiLift provides both a tightening and lubricating effect. This helps with vaginal laxity after childbirth, dryness during menopause, and urinary incontinence. Plus, results are immediate and last longer than creams and other topical solutions.
If You Have Vaginal Dryness, Nurse Practitioners of Florida Can Help
At Nurse Practitioners of Florida, we have a dedicated team of certified nurse practitioners who have an unwavering commitment to providing you with care and compassion. When you call any of our locations, you will be greeted by a live person who’s ready to offer acute medical care as well as aesthetic procedures — including FemiLift procedures. And, above everything else, you will be treated like family.
If you need assistance, call us or fill out our online contact form.