Many women experience vaginal dryness during menopause due to the thinning of the mucus membranes and the loss of elasticity in the walls of the vagina. The reduction in the production of estrogen in the ovaries can cause thinning of the vaginal lining. This, in itself, does not cause any problems, unless the lining of the vagina becomes inflamed and dry; then it is painful.
Vaginal dryness is medically known as ‘atrophic vaginitis,’ and it sounds like a disease, though it is not. It can be overcome with simple remedies, such as a good nutritional program during your menopause. This is an excellent way of preventing your vagina from becoming dry and thin. Other solutions to the problem are the estrogen replacement creams, tri-estrogen cream or triple estrogen cream, and pills that your doctor can prescribe. Certain Over-The-Counter (OTC) vaginal lubricants could be helpful too. Applying Vitamin E oil helps hydrating the vaginal membranes.
If you are on medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants or other drugs with drying potential, these can cause drying of the mucous membranes, aggravating the problem. Doctors suggest a perineal wash (area between the posterior vulva junction and the anus in females) once a day. Women need to rinse the vulvar region (the external genital organs of the female, including the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and entrance of the vagina) with plain water. Opening the labia gently with one hand, water is either sprayed from a squirt bottle or poured gently from a square container.
Menopause, Vaginal Dryness and Sex
Though menopause is nature’s contraceptive, women need to wait at least a year before giving up on contraceptives.
During perimenopause, the period leading up to menopause, the sexual desire often diminishes. The thinning of the genital membranes and vaginal dryness can lead to discomfort during masturbation and sexual intercourse.
Women who have infrequent intercourse might gently stretch the vaginal tissues by inserting a couple of fingers in the vagina during bath. This may prevent vaginismus, a muscular contraction causing the vagina to close, and pain on penetration. Maintaining regular sexual activity, and/or masturbation will help. To aid vaginal lubrication, which is delayed with age, women can ask their partners to prolong foreplay. This could make penetration easy and more comfortable.
Treating Thinning of Membranes and Vaginal Dryness
- Start with drinking 2 liters of water and herbal tea every day.
- Consumption of soybean stimulates estrogen production, leading to elimination of vaginal dryness in many women.
- Adding canola, olive, sunflower, or soybean oil to your diet will add lubrication to your body.
- Doctors suggest applying intra-vaginally, natural progesterone cream once a day.
- In doses of 200 IU at a time, take 600 to 800 IU of Vitamin E daily. Vitamin E is contra-indicated for hypertension, diabetes or a rheumatic heart. You will need to consult your doctor.
- One effective way of easing vaginal dryness is to insert a Vitamin E capsule intra-vaginally.
The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.