Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness is extremely uncomfortable, and doesn’t only affect your love life, but your self-image and life choices as well. Although women of any age can be affected, the condition most commonly occurs during or after the menopause when the estrogen levels decrease. Many over the counter products are available and doctors are quick to suggest hormone therapy. However, some women prefer to deal with vaginal dryness in a natural way, so here are some alternatives you can try.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
A decrease in vaginal lubrication can happen for several reasons, and it is important to determine the cause. Life-stage, lifestyle, diet, hormonal changes and certain medications are the most obvious reasons behind vaginal dryness. For some women, deeper psychological issues can play a role, and require a holistic and sensitive approach.
The most common cause is hormonal. During menopause and post-menopause, when the body experiences hormonal imbalances, estrogen levels decrease. Due to hormonal factors, vaginal dryness is more common between the ages of 40 and 60.
As estrogen is a fat-soluble hormone, sufferers also include women on persistent low-fat diets. For your vagina to be lubricated, you need to eat the right (healthy) fats and stay hydrated.
Vaginal dryness is also more common in women who experience a lot of stress, as this is known to imbalance you in different ways, and interfere with bodily functions and arousal levels.
There are some specific bio-mechanical causes, which include the use of certain medications (those containing antihistamines), and surgical procedures that interfere with hormonal balance (removal of the ovaries, hysterectomy).
As mentioned earlier, if you embark on an internal journey, you might also discover that negative experience, abuse, and your psychological patterns and attitudes towards sexuality and the body can all play a role in becoming dry.
Natural Lubricants and Vaginal Suppositories (Pessaries)
Vitamin E is known for its moisturizing effects and is a valuable addition to many commercial skin products. This fat-soluble antioxidant can be applied to the inside of your vagina to relieve the symptoms of dryness.
Vitamin E pessaries have been compared to other types of pessaries and to estrogen hormone therapy. A study that was published in the European Review of Medical and Pharmacological Sciences revealed that intravaginal vitamin E improved symptoms of vaginal dryness, increased the moisture and produced no side effect.
Natural lubricant from kiwi vine extract
Kiwi vine extract is a bio-sustainable option for those seeking a natural lubricant.
Kiwi vines are usually considered to be the byproduct of harvesting and are left in the ground to decompose. But kiwi gum can be extracted from them and made into a moisturizer that mimics the woman’s usual lubrication. This lubricant doesn’t destroy the vaginal balance and maintains its natural pH, while providing with a smooth feel.
Due to kiwi’s origin, this type of moisturizers was created in New Zealand in the 1980s, and the product was later launched around the world. Always check the ingredients of lubricants, so you know that you’re buying a high quality product that is safe to use.
I wrote in the past about the amazing health benefits of Aloe Vera for your skin but you can also use Aloe Vera gel to alleviate the dryness and it can be applied directly to the dry parts. Just break off a piece of the plant and open it along its side (make sure you get rid of the prickly parts). The gel can be easily removed from the plant using your fingers and applied to the areas that require lubrication. You can also buy an organic Aloe Vera gel if you don’t have the plant.
Some also suggest mixing the aloe vera gel with slippery elm powder (slippery elm is a tree and its inner bark is used for medicinal purposes). This mixture can help with inflammation and itchiness. The powder should be added to the gel until you get a paste that you can apply to the inner and outer areas of your vagina.
Coconut oil and olive oil
When you use oils as lubricants, make sure they are organic and don’t have anything else added to them. Both coconut and olive oil will provide your vagina with a healthy dose of good fats and are great for rejuvenating the tissues. These oils should also be included in your daily diet to aid sex hormone production. Your other option is to use these oils as a base oil and mix them with certain essential oils. There are also 60 more uses for coconut oil.
Calendula and comfrey ointments
When estrogen levels decrease, the vaginal tissue becomes more susceptible to different infections. Calendula and comfrey possess skin healing and antimicrobial properties and can help with tissue regeneration. Calendula and comfrey salves can be purchased or prepared at home and used daily to alleviate the symptoms.
The use of comfrey should be limited to short periods of time as it contains chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can damage the liver if used excessively.
This herb can help with vaginal dryness. It can be taken on its own in a dried form, or as a tincture with water or tea. You can also make a black cohosh tea for hot flashes, find the recipe here.
This herb helps to normalize sex hormones and can help to eliminate many symptoms of menopause including vaginal dryness. It comes in capsules, teas and liquid extracts at health food stores.
This herb has a long history of traditional use in the traditional Chinese medicine. This herb helps to minimize menopausal symptoms. In combination with herbs such as black cohosh, chasteberry, and Siberian ginseng, dong quai appears to be useful for controlling hot flashes and reducing vaginal dryness.
There have been reports showing that ginseng could possibly have many of the same properties as estrogen. Ginseng has been reported to produce an estrogen-like effect on the vaginal mucosa, resulting in the relief of the vaginal dryness which accompanies menopause. It comes as a supplement form, tincture or tea.
Safety note – before taking any of the above herbs, you need to consult with your doctor to make sure these herbs don’t interfere with current medications you take.
If you are interested in herbal remedies, you can find more useful information in my e-book the Herbal Remedies Guide. This guide will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs.
Lifestyle Changes that can Improve Vaginal Lubrication
Sex hormones need fat. Your first step should be to introduce a diet rich in fatty acids, particularly omega 3. Fish, flaxseed, sesame and sunflower seeds are all good sources.
Eat food that contains isoflavones, which help to regulate estrogen levels. They can be found in flax seeds, legumes, nuts, cherries and apples. You also need to make sure you get enough vitamins A and B, and might need to supplement these. As lubrication is connected with hydration too, make sure you drink enough water. Your vagina will be as grateful for the extra water as your skin is.
Adrenal glands and ovaries get stimulated by regular exercise. A cardio-vascular work-out will help with your hormonal balance, increase the flow of blood to the vagina and de-stress you. That’s 3 in 1!
Eliminate cosmetic products that can irritate
It might also be a good idea to limit your use of artificial soaps, bubble baths, vaginal lotions and sprays. They can all add to dryness and make your problems worse. You don’t need to buy artificial soaps and you can make your own natural soap.
As always, the natural approach takes a bit longer and requires some discipline and persistence. Your vaginal health and well-being should be important to you and finding the right solution is very rewarding. So, take the time to find your perfect natural relief and, if possible, avoid the mainstream estrogen therapy that comes with possible side effects.
Read my other related articles:
1. Swollen Vaginal Area: Causes and Natural Treatments
2. Home Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
3. How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor: The Best Natural Remedies