When did you last discuss Vaginal Dryness and Menopause over a cup of tea?
As a natural part of the ageing process, many women do not look forward to the many different symptoms that menopause can bring. While it is true that no woman experiences menopause in the same way, there are some common menopausal symptoms that are worth knowing about as your body begins to make the transition into the next chapter.
In this article, we will be exploring one of the most common menopausal symptoms, vaginal dryness, to better understand its causes, learn about its identifying signs, and explore which supplements and natural remedies are worth using as helpful treatment options when you need relief.
We want to share this important information about this taboo topic to let women know that while vaginal dryness may be a natural part of menopause, it does not mean that they need to suffer through the symptoms on their own. Increasing access to educational resources and promoting awareness about common struggles are some of the best ways to ensure that people know when they should reach out for help — and our team at Fit4100 is committed to helping achieve this goal.
With this in mind, here is everything we want you to know about menopausal vaginal dryness:
Why We Don’t Talk About Vaginal Dryness
Caused by the reduced amount of estrogen present in the body after menopause, tissue thinning and vaginal dryness are a normal part of ageing that many women live with on a daily basis. So why don’t we talk about it?
With an estimated 17% of women aged 18-50 experiencing vaginal dryness before they even enter menopause, it is genuinely shocking to learn how little this topic is discussed. As possibly one of the most significant barriers to getting accurate information about vaginal dryness, the stigma against talking about women’s sexual health prevents many women from getting the care they need to reduce their menopausal symptoms.
From doctors historically not believing the severity of women’s health concerns to the taboo nature of discussing sexual health changes with age, it is no wonder that so many women worldwide often feel isolated and alone as they experience symptoms of vaginal dryness and pain.
Thankfully, as access to high-quality medical resources improves and more women feel empowered to tell their stories, the societal stigma is beginning to be challenged. Acting as your own self-advocate, becoming educated and talking about menopause symptoms and available treatment options can help not only your experience, but for the future experiences of women following in our footsteps.
Common Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
It is common for most women to develop vaginal dryness during or after their transition into menopause. As a hormonal-based health condition, the severity of the vaginal dryness symptoms that a woman experiences are dependent on her specific body and estrogen levels, meaning that some may have it much worse than others.
While not every woman with vaginal dryness will experience all of the following symptoms, examples of the most common signs of dryness that you may come across during menopause include:
- Soreness or itchiness near the vagina
- Pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Feeling like you need to urinate more frequently
- An increased risk of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Decreased overall sex drive
Depending on a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, age, and pre-existing medical conditions, symptoms of vaginal dryness may change or shift throughout your transition into menopause. If you develop any of the above symptoms, we highly recommend consulting with your primary care provider for additional support and to begin exploring treatment options that will be best suited to your needs.
Vaginal Dryness Supplements and Natural Remedies to Try (or Avoid)
As we mentioned before, just because vaginal dryness is a common experience for many women during menopause doesn’t mean you have to suffer through the symptoms without treatment. With various at-home remedies available for women to try, we wanted to share some insight into which supplements are worth exploring vs which might do more harm than good.
Vaginal dryness supplements that are worth trying include:
- Vaginal lubricants — Primarily used before sexual activity, vagina-safe lubricants can help offset feelings of irritation or pain caused by vaginal dryness. While these products should not be used on a day-to-day basis, they can be beneficial during periods of profound dryness or for reducing the risk of pain during intercourse.
- Hyaluronic acid — As a natural substance designed to provide additional support and cushioning to our joints, hyaluronic acid has also been proven effective in treating vaginal dryness. One study found that hyaluronic acid offered comparable results to low-dose estrogen therapy for reducing the symptoms of vaginal dryness in menopausal women, indicating that this product may provide health benefits worth exploring.
- Vitamin E — This fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant is often recommended as a supplement for anyone looking to support overall health. And while many of these health claims still require additional research to verify, a recent study found that applying vitamin E gel directly to the vaginal tissue was effective in reducing dryness and overall irritation.
- Replens — For anyone looking for a more long-term solution to their dryness, vaginal moisturisers can be incredibly helpful. Applied to the affected area as a gel, vaginal moisturisers like Replens offer up to three days of dryness relief. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, vaginal moisturisers can be an excellent option for preventing periods of painful dryness.
So while there are many great vaginal dryness options available on the market, there are also some common at-home remedies that should be avoided due to the ability to cause more irritation or discomfort. Here are some examples of vaginal dryness treatments that we don’t advise you use:
- Coconut oil — As more people are being introduced to coconut oil in their cosmetics, skincare, and even in the kitchen, it is tempting to see if this thick and pleasant smelling oil can help with vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, not much research has been done to understand the full extent of the benefits or risks of using this product to treat menopausal dryness. Additionally, because coconut oil is a foreign substance to the body, it is capable for people to have an allergic reaction, making it not a great choice for treating this issue.
- Olive oil — Like coconut oil, olive oil is also a foreign substance to the body that can cause additional issues when used to treat vaginal dryness. Messy to clean up and easy to permanently stain your clothing or linens, it is not advised that anyone use olive oil for managing their vaginal dryness symptoms.
- Vaseline — Known for being incredibly moisturising and slick, petroleum jelly products like Vaseline products may come to mind when thinking of something to assist with menopausal dryness. But, because this product is not water-soluble, using Vaseline on vaginal tissue can actually increase your risk of experiencing friction, discomfort, and developing infections, making it a poor choice for helping with vaginal dryness.
- Women’s health vitamins — From daily tablets to gummy sexual health supporting vitamins, there is no shortage of supplements claiming to help women transition into menopause. But, with little research available to support the claims of these products, it is best to avoid relying on these products as a way to treat your vaginal dryness. Instead, speak to your primary care provider about what specific vitamins or nutrients you can add to your diet to improve your overall sexual health.
You Don’t Have To Go Through This Alone
If you have been experiencing vaginal dryness as you transition into menopause, the most important thing to know is that you are not alone.
At Fit4100, our team is committed to providing women around the world with access to high-quality medical research and articles designed to empower and inspire women to get the treatment they need. Menopause is a natural part of life — but suffering from symptoms doesn’t have to be.