Vaginal dryness can affect women at any stage of their life however after the menopause is a very common time where it affects over half of post-menopausal women aged 51-60. There is a thin layer of vaginal moisture which is produced by the cervix which keeps the vagina moist and clean. During sex the two glands at the entrance of the vagina produce extra moisture to reduce friction during sexual intercourse, however women aged 50-59 are experiencing vaginal dryness issues during sex.
What are the main causes?
Medications can play a major role in vaginal dryness. It may be worth asking your doctor to see if the medications you are on could be causing vaginal dryness. Hormone contraceptives like the pill and patches could also be playing a part in messing with your hormonal regulation.
Changes in hormone production can cause the vaginal walls to become thin which means fewer cells that secrete moisture. Hormonal changes are the most common cause of vaginal dryness, but they aren’t the only cause.
Dehydration can also add to vaginal dryness and disrupt the vaginal ecosystem which can leave the vagina feeling itchy or more prone to yeast infections. When it comes to nutrition it’s important to look at your sugar intake and swap the sugar for fibre and rich fermented foods or even introduce a probiotic.
90% of disease is stress driven so it’s no surprise that stress can affect your hormones. If you’re someone who likes to do HIT workouts on a daily basis this may be something to look at. You may be feeling fantastic but too much high intensity movement will increase your cortisol levels and dampen those testosterone levels. If you are someone who works in a stressful environment or running around London on autopilot in fight or flight mode it’s important to look at this. Your body doesn’t know the difference between being chased in the wild by a bear or running late for the bus, and while stress and alertness are absolutely crucial to human survival, humans aren’t meant to be living in this constant state which can affect our sexual desire.
The root cause to vaginal dryness will vary for everyone but treatment is not a case of one size fits all. There are a number of simple ways in which to lubricate a dry vagina. Lubricants are incredibly hydrating yet protects the sensitive tissues during sex. Oil-based lubricants gives that added protection to severe vaginal dryness that can cause painful sex. Vaginal moisturisers are great for moisturising and soothing dry and sensitive vaginal tissues for up to 3 days. Lelo Sona is a clitoris massager that doesn’t need penetration, it doesn’t even have to make contact with the clitoris, it can be used anywhere.
Images from Goop.