Vaginal Dryness Relief
Vaginal dryness is a problem that is common among women. Usually caused by hormonal changes in the body, it can accompany menopause, your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Symptoms include itching and stinging and can by very uncomfortable. Here are some common solutions for vaginal dryness.
Lubricate and Moisturize
If vaginal dryness is a bother during sexual intercourse, consider using some form of lubricant or moisturizer to provide relief. Lubricants are applied to either the vagina or penis before intercourse and can provide lubrication for many hours. Check to make sure your lubricant is water-based, not oil-based. Moisturizers are created to imitate the natural moisture of the vagina, and a single application can provide relief for up to three days. Be sure you’re using a moisturizer specifically designed for this use—do not use hand or body lotions. If you have questions, talk to your doctor about safe and effective solutions to your dryness.
You can make some alterations to your everyday routines that may help to decrease your vaginal dryness. If you smoke, try to quit, as smoking cuts down on the amount of estrogen in your body. Avoid using a douche, because douching increases dryness. Don’t use vinegar, yogurt, bubble bath, hand soaps or lotions as a remedy since they will likely increase irritation. Eating foods that are high in fatty acids (think fish) may help to retain estrogen in your body; they have been found to be helpful. Also, when it comes to intercourse, take your time and be sure that your body is sufficiently aroused to ensure maximal lubrication from your body’s natural sources. The Mayo Clinic experts also suggest that having sexual intercourse on a regular basis “may help promote better vaginal lubrication.”
Hormone Replacement Options
Increasing the amount of estrogen in your vagina can greatly decrease vaginal dryness. The experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend using vaginal estrogen versus oral estrogen, as it has fewer side effects and is more effective. Vaginal estrogen can come in the form of a cream that you insert into your vagina using an applicator (your doctor will tell you how much and how often), a tablet that will dissolve and release the estrogen (once again, dosage instructions will come from your doctor) or a ring that you insert into your vagina that will slowly release the estrogen and will need to be replaced about every three months. Talk to your doctor about what is recommended for you and your personal situation.