Vaginal dryness, dry and itchy vagina and painful intercourse as a result are some of the not so discussed struggles of women. It is not because vaginal dryness is uncommon.
In fact a woman is prone to dryness down there during and after menopause, right after pregnancy, after major surgery of hysterectomy and perhaps at any time in her life. It is estimated that more than 50% of the menopausal women experience symptoms of dry and itchy vagina.
Since the health issue and related discomforts of dry vagina affect majority of the women at multiple stages of her life, it definitely shouldn’t be dealt with in silence.
You need to know the possible causes to avoid them and also the natural remedies for vaginal dryness so that you can handle it well and reduce your suffering from it.
In this post we will go through the causes, symptoms and natural solutions that you can practice to keep your vagina healthy and happy. Let’s get started!
What You'll Learn | Click on Topic to Go There
What is Vaginal Dryness?
Vaginal dryness can simply be said to be dryness of the reproductive organ of a woman, as the term suggests. Being an organ that produces fluids on its own, your vagina does rely on these fluids for the various functions that it performs.
However, with the advent of age or due to hormonal imbalances, there is less moisture in an around the vagina. This leads to observed symptoms such as pain, tightness and dryness.
Dryness of the vagina can cause a lot of agony due to the pain, tightness and itching sensation that one experiences. It usually gets aggravated if the skin of vagina also thins down as one encounters in menopause.
Some of the symptoms of vaginal dryness are also part of the symptoms of vaginal atrophy (loss of vaginal skin and moisture). These are thus referred to as Genitourinary Symptoms of Menopause (GSM).
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
Listed below are some symptoms of vaginal dryness that women may encounter.
- Painful intercourse: Due to the dryness, there is less lubrication. Consequently, there is tremendous friction during intercourse, which causes pain
- Loss of interest in sex: This is both due to lower levels of estrogen, leading to a lower sex drive. Also, painful experience during sex can lead to loss of further interest in it
- Light bleeding can also be observed following intercourse due to the friction. This friction can cause tissues to tear and bleed
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Vaginal itching or stinging
- Burning sensation inside the vagina especially at the vulva
Aside the loss of moisture, there is also loss of elasticity of the tissues, so that the vagina begins to atrophy, or shrink. Menopause usually results in these things at its onset. However, other conditions that lead to a drop in estrogen levels or estrogen production can cause them.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
Dryness of the vagina is a sign of natural aging process, when your Estrogen levels drop down. Estrogen hormone encourages the vaginal tissues to keep the vagina moist and provides sufficient nourishment to the vaginal cells to keep them intact.
Thus, a reduction in Estrogen levels not only dries up the vaginal canal but it also thins down the vaginal walls due to loss of tissues.
That’s why any other factor that drops estrogen levels can also lead to dryness of the vagina. Here are some of the causes that affect your hormone balance and levels of moisture to the vagina:
Factors that trigger vaginal dryness symptoms
- Menopause: at menopause, there is lower levels of estrogen in the blood stream
- Cancer Treatment: treatments like chemotherapy, for example, can adversely affect hormonal balance in the body. Estrogen is also affected
- Pregnancy, child birth and breastfeeding are also associated with hormonal imbalances
- Medications like antihistamines cause vaginal dryness. Further, they can lead to complications that cause trouble with urinating.
- Antidepressants too lead to vaginal dryness, with more complications of decreased libido and difficulty in achieving orgasm.
- Surgical removal of ovaries (generally happens during hysterectomy). This is quite obvious because, after all, estrogen is produced in the ovaries. Removing the ovaries therefore means that the estrogen factory has been shut down.
- Douching is a practice that can lead to dehydration of the vagina also.
- Some women also complain of dry itchy vagina if they have not been sexually active for some time.
- Hormonal Contraceptives also alter your natural hormone balance.
- Excess stress and anxiety
- Irregular Periods
- Excessive Exercise
Taking Care of a Dry and Itchy Vagina
There are several steps that you can take to prevent and heal a dry and itchy vagina. Both conventional western medicine and the Ayurvedic medicine also have their own approaches.
Conventional Approaches to Tackling Dryness of Vagina
To cure vaginal dryness, a common approach is to apply estrogen creams on the affected area. This can be done in several ways:
- Vaginal Ring: vaginal ring is a flexible system that is inserted into the vagina. It releases small amounts of estrogen over time. This helps to restore the estrogen levels in the body. It is replaced after 90 days.
- Vaginal Cream: It is applied directly on the skin. It also supplements the estrogen.
- Vaginal Tablet: It is a pill inserted into the vagina and also intended to boost estrogen levels.
Ayurveda and Dryness of the Vagina
In Ayurveda, health conditions are traced down to an imbalance in either of the three doshas, namely Vata (air & space), Pitta (fire & water) and Kapha (earth & water) doshas.
Vaginal dryness is also referred to as suska yoni (dry reproductive organs) in Ayurveda. It happens due to an imbalance in the vata dosha.
Also, vata dosha becomes more dominant with increasing age. This, thus accounts for the higher incidence of vaginal dryness in older people. In fact, not only vaginal, but there is also observed dryness of their skin and scalp too, which lead to wrinkling and other complications.
Thus vata imbalnace, combined with dropped estrogen levels, lead suska yoni.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Vaginal Dryness
Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to treat suska yoni or a dry and itchy vagina. Ayurvedic treatment for vaginal dryness involves herbal therapies, nourishing diet and a healthy lifestyle that will help you to combat the root cause of dryness through out the body.
All the herbs and formulations that have been shared in this post are for information purpose only. All of these are potent Ayurvedic medicines that should be taken under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor only. Do not indiscriminately use Ayurvedic herbs. It may cause more harm than benefit.
Also, Ayurveda is known for its uniqueness to tailor treatment specifically to individuals according to there specific health symptoms and body type.
Ayurvedic Herbs and Natural Remedies to Cure a Dry Vagina
This ayurvedic herb for curing vaginal dryness is known to balance female hormones, and give a boost to general reproductive system health. It is also known to strengthen the uterus membrane and urinary tract.
Aloe vera gel
This is a good moisturizer. It is also good for the reproductive health. It can be taken with winter cherry and saffron added to a glass of milk at night, just before bed. You can also mix rose water and aloe vera gel and apply it on the vagina.
Daruhaldi contains vitamin C, tannins, pectins, and other minerals that include potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, etc. This is an excellent healing and blood purifying herb.
This reduces stress, anxiety, and blood sugar levels. It also boosts vaginal lubrication.
Ashwagandha is a well known Ayurvedic herb as it is useful for a wide spectrum of conditions, including menopause. In this case, it helps to keep the vaginal walls healthy and supple. It prevents pain, tearing and dryness. As a bonus, it also helps relieve hot flashes, moodiness and insomnia.
Ghee medicated with shatavari, applied locally, enhances lubrication.
Fenugreek seeds produce an estrogen like effect and help to increase vaginal lubrication. Soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Drink the water in the morning.
It is quite effective as a natural vaginal lubricant. Dip a ball of cotton in sesame oil and apply it to the vaginal walls. Do this 2-3 times a week after shower or before you sleep.
It can restore the natural hydration of the vagina. Dip a ball of cotton in coconut oil and apply it to the vaginal walls to hydrate and moisturize the affected area.
Practice regular massage with sesame oil (for predominant vata dosha or imbalance), coconut oil (for predominant pitta dosha or imbalance) and mustard oil (for predominant kapha imbalance and dosha).
Other methods including oleation, fomentation, warm water, herbal tampons, etc, are also useful.
Lifestyle and Vaginal Hygiene to prevent Dryness
Being a medical system beyond diagnosis and cures, Ayurveda is also a lifestyle. As such, simple changes to lifestyle and diet can help correct and prevent further occurrence of ailments.
For vaginal dryness, some lifestyle changes that can be taken up are:
- Do not douche. Rather, clean with warm water and mild soap. Harsh soaps are ‘harsh’, and can be harmful.
- Maintain healthy ojas, that is, keep your immune system at optimal levels.
- Get active if you are not. Physical activity, specifically pelvic floor exercises boost blood circulation and improve the symptoms of vaginal dryness.
- Regular sexual stimulation helps increase blood flow to the area.
- Massage the area around the vagina with natural oils. This will improve circulation in the area and prevent the symptoms of vaginal dryness.
- Use good hygiene products. Avoid those with harsh chemicals.
- Increase lubrication of the vagina with natural and chemicals free moisturizers. You can also apply plain or medicated oils as ghee, sesame oil or coconut oil.
- Prefer to use water to wash after elimination and urination. Use of tissue aggravates pain and friction down there.
- Practice pranayama and relaxing activities to relieve stress and manage your health.
Best Diet and Foods to Prevent Dry and Itchy Vagina
- Foods containing phytoestrogens should be taken. They are a good source of natural estrogens. Phytoestrogens are simply estrogens from that are gotten from plants. Such plants that can be included are beans, lentils, seeds, nuts and soy sprouts.
- Consume juicy and sweet tasting fruits such as papaya, melons, cucumbers, pomegranate, apples and oranges.
- Sip on herbal teas made with shatavari, aloe vera, and licorice as recommended earlier.
- Stay hydrated at all times. This will naturally boost circulation and moisture in your body. Go for warm water, herbal teas or herbs infused water that you can prepare at home. About 8 cups of water daily is recommended for proper hydration.
Check out Hormone Balance with Ayurveda, a holistic health programme.
Receive personalized Ayurvedic treatment and step-by step guidance on diet and lifestyle to balance your hormones and find relief from the symptoms of dry and itchy vagina.
Before You Go!
Vaginal Dryness occurs with age and changes in the hormonal balance of the body. The intensity and extent of the symptoms will depend on your specific health state.
As you saw, there are ample of natural remedies and solutions with which you can handle the cause and symptoms of vaginal dryness. So, first of all stop suffering in silence and adopt these natural measures.
Along with lifestyle changes and natural solutions, another key thing that will help you is better communication with your partner. Make him aware of your pain and together you can handle it well to protect your sanity and pleasure.