Aging is inevitable, as no one person can go on living forever. With the advancement in age, there are various changes that are observed. These signs show the passage of time. Each tells its own story. They announce that a transition is occurring, and confirm that things are no longer as they used to be. One of these signs 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, it does rely on these fluids for the various functions that it performs. However, with the advent of age, there is less moisture in an around the vagina, leading to observed symptoms.
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.
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness.
Because of their association with the onset of menopause, these symptoms are group with the Genitourinary Symptoms of Menopause(GSM). Some of them, as relevant to this article, are listed below:
- 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.
Ayurveda and Vaginal Dryness.
In Ayurveda, ailments 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, also referred to as suska yoni(dry reproductive organs) in Ayurveda, is due to a predominance in the vata dosha. With a Vata vitiation, there is general dryness that can be observed, such as dry skin and dry scalp. Also, vata dosha becomes more dominant with increasing age, and this 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.
This vata predominance, combined with dropped estrogen levels, lead suska yoni.
Further on the Causes of Vaginal Dryness.
As earlier stated, it is a sign of aging, resulting from dropped levels of estrogen. However, any thing that drops estrogen levels can also lead to dryness of the reproductive organ. So, for better comprehension, a few causes have been listed below:
- 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 achieving orgasm.
- Surgical removal of ovaries is a risk too. 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.
Taking Care of a Dehydrated Vagina.
There are several steps that can be taken when the vagina is dry. Conventional western medicine and the Ayurvedic medicine also have their own approaches.
Conventional Approaches to Tackling Vaginal Dryness.
To cure vaginal dryness, a common approach is the use of topical estrogen therapy. This can be done in several ways:
- Vaginal Ring: vaginal ring is a flexible that is inserted into the vaginal and that releases small amounts of estrogen over time. This helps with restoring the estrogen balance. It is replaced after 90 days.
- Vaginal Cream: an applicator is used to apply the cream. It also supplements the estrogen.
- Vaginal Tablet: it is a pill inserted into the vagina and also intended to boost estrogen levels.
Ayurvedic Remedies to Curing a Dry Vagina.
Ayurveda has many approaches to suska yoni, trusted over time. Only a few of them have been listed here. However, there should be due consultation with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner like those at Medhya Herbals, to know which treatment regimen works best for you. After all, Ayurveda is known for its uniqueness to tailor treatment specifically to individuals according to there own peculiarities of their ailment and composition.
- Ashoka: This ayurvedic herb for curing vaginal dryness is known to balance female hormones, and give a boost to general reproductive 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.
- Daruhaldi: 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.
- Oat Straw: this reduces stress, anxiety, and blood sugar levels. It also boosts vaginal lubrication.
- Ashwagandha: 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.
- Shatavari: Ghee medicated with shatavari, applied locally, enhances lubrication.
- Abhyangha: massage with sesame oil(for predominant vata), coconut oil(for predominant pitta), and mustard oi(for predominant kapha).
- Other methods including oleation, fomentation, warm water, herbal tampons, etc, are also useful.
Lifestyle Changes to prevent vaginal 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.
- Endeavour to stay hydrated at all times. About 8 cups of water daily is recommended for proper hydration.
- Maintain healthy ojas, that is, keep your immune system at optimal levels.
- Regular sexual stimulation helps increase blood flow to the area.
- Use good hygiene products. Avoid those with harsh chemicals.
Best Dietary Practices.
- 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 soy, nuts, seeds, tofu.
- Eat less of juicy fruits.
- Include more of shatavari, aloe vera, and liquorice, as have been earlier recommended.
Vaginal Dryness occurs with age, surely, and as you age, it is to be expected. However, with these tips and recommendations, you can be able to alleviate the symptoms. If perhaps, it is happening to you for reasons other than age, then these can also help you live more conveniently and healthy.