Dealing with Feminine Dryness

From our friends at Intimina

Feminine dryness is something that most of us have experienced at one time or another. Whether it’s a rare inconvenience or a regular occurrence, there are many reasons why your body may not produce enough moisture when you need it.

Typically, the vagina maintains an optimal level of lubrication with its own natural fluids. Sometimes, however, these can become insufficient or inconsistent as a result of changes in your body, external lifestyle factors or emotional distractions. This can result in anything from discomfort during intimate activities to more serious ongoing complications.

Symptoms of intimate dryness can include itching, stinging, burning, and/or soreness around the vaginal opening. Some women also experience light bleeding during intercourse, or abnormal frequency or urgency in urinary activity.

Hormones: A delicate balance
The moisture in your vagina can deplete for many different reasons. A change in hormone levels, especially a decrease in estrogen, is the leading cause of vaginal dryness. For this reason, menopausal women are especially likely to have incidences of significantly reduced vaginal moisture-nearly 51 percent of North American women have reported vaginal dryness as an acute symptom of menopause.

Estrogen is your body’s principal feminine hormone. It is responsible for ensuring a proper balance of acidity and moisture, as well as regulating the elasticity of your vaginal cell tissue. Your estrogen level may fluctuate due to your menstrual cycle or during periods of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or menopause.

The right care

Another common source of vaginal dryness is the irritation caused by the use of certain products. Some products contain chemicals that may disturb the natural environment of your vaginal system. With this in mind, you should always be careful only to use high-quality products (e.g. laundry detergent, soaps, etc.) that are pH-balanced for your intimate areas.

Other external factors can also exacerbate existing conditions of vaginal dryness. Some women are sensitive to certain immersion situations, such as bubble baths or hot tubs–particularly in a shared or public setting. Medications can also create a risk of moisture depletion in your vagina and entire body. These include oral contraceptives, antidepressants and even over-the-counter allergy and cold medications. High stress levels and cigarette smoking can also disrupt your feminine wellness.

An immediate solution

Depending on the severity of your vaginal dryness issues, several approaches can be taken. The North American Menopause Society [NAMS] recommends using an intimate moisturizer as the first treatment effort. This can be the quickest, most straightforward remedy for replenishing moisture in the vagina, relieving discomfort and easing intimate activities.

Over-the-counter intimate moisturizers are available in the feminine care section at Pharmaca. As mentioned above, the very delicate nature of your feminine areas means that utmost care must be taken when purchasing feminine care products.

The long-term approach

Your nutritional intake can also have a large impact on your feminine wellbeing. Make sure to keep your entire body hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Maintain a well-rounded diet that includes good sources of cholesterol, such as soy or flax seed, which is necessary for production of natural vaginal lubrication. If dryness is persistent due to reduced estrogen in the body, hormone therapy may be the most suitable long-term treatment. Talk to your doctor about which of these therapy methods may be best for you.

Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.

Sources:
Stiles, M. et al. (2011). Gynecologic issues in geriatric women. Journal of Women’s Health, 20. 83-89.
Reimer, A., & Johnson, L. (2011). Atrophic vaginitis signs, symptoms, and better outcomes. The Nurse Practitioner: The American Journal of Primary Health Care, 36 . 22-28.