Is it just me or has anyone else experienced vaginal dryness? Let me paint a picture, it’s been a while since you last got down and dirty, mentally you’re SO ready to overcome this dry spell (😉). You plan a romantic night, everything goes to plan until the end, when you can’t get in the mood down below (not from lack of trying might I add). Surely, it can’t just be me? Instant mood kill, am I right?
Vaginal dryness is actually really common, and can be down to a number of factors but more often than not, it’s due to a lack of estrogen. That’s why it’s commonly experienced by people going through menopause.
As we said, there can be several causes but the main culprit is falling estrogen levels. As people with periods age, they produce less estrogen. However, there are other factors that must be considered:
Insufficient Arousal - some people just need more time than others. When we’re ready to “get it on”, we release a natural lubricate A.K.A getting wet. If we have low estrogen we’ll struggle to lubricate our vaginas naturally and as a result it’ll become dry and itchy.
Birth Control Pills - Yes vaginal dryness is a common side effect of the Pill. Many young people with periods experience vaginal dryness and don’t realise it could be related to their birth control.
Hormone Changes - Particularly when experiencing perimenopause or menopause itself, again due to the drop in estrogen. We may also experience vaginal dryness while breastfeeding or after giving birth (but let’s face it, we wouldn’t blame our hormones for being a mess then, so we’ll let them off).
Douching - douching disrupts our natural Ph and can cause irritation. Your vagina is self-cleaning meaning there’s no need to douche, so avoid, avoid, avoid.
Excessive Stress/Anxiety - The root of all evil, stress can affect our bodies ability to lubricate naturally.
Autoimmune Disorders - For example, Sjogren's syndrome, this is where the body fails to produce enough moisture
Some Medications - for example antidepressants, antihistamines (make sure to read the side effects of your medication)
Lifestyle Factors - Smoking or excessive exercise
Cancer Treatments - It may be a side effect of radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy
- Lack of sex drive / Lack of interest in sex
- Pain during sex (some may experience light bleeding)
- Burning, itching, stinging or soreness around the vagina
- Urinary tract infections (UTI) that don’t clear up or reoccur
- Burning during urination
Sometimes we all need a little help, and when it comes to vaginal dryness, help is needed to prevent sores or cracking in the vagina’s tissue.
1. Lube, lube and more lube!
The more lube the better if you ask us. Lube is a temporary solution for vaginal dryness during sex. People with vaginas should only use lube that is intended for vaginal use.
There are 3 types of lube; water based, oil based and silicone based. Water based is recommended as oil and silicone run the risk of breaking down the latex in condoms increasing the likelihood of breakage and can also damage diaphragms that are used for birth control.
Lube shouldn’t contain perfume or scents, as these can sometimes cause irritation. The lube you buy should be free from parabens and skin irritants. When it comes to lube, or anything to do with the vagina, keep it simple!
Hormone Replacement Therapy is a solution offered to people going through menopause.
3. Estrogen Therapy
A healthcare professional may prescribe estrogen therapy in the form of a pill, cream or ring. These will release estrogen into the vagina hence increasing our bodies ability to lubricate naturally.
4. Drop the douche- I repeat: Drop. The. Douche.
Also, worth noting that you shouldn’t use condoms that have nonoxynol-9, or N-9 as these are known for causing vaginal dryness
5. Regular sex
By having sex regularly, blood flow is increased which in turn stimulates moisture production. The more sex we have, the better our body gets at producing moisture. Some vaginas need more time than others, so always make sure to take your time during foreplay. The sex that follows will be much more enjoyable for everyone involved ;)
6. Don't over wash your vagina
Over-washing can lead to vaginal imbalance and cause an infection. Remember the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Stick to unscented soap when washing down below.
If you experience vaginal dryness and you’re living your best life in your nylon, spandex or polyester knickers, then you should probably think about making the swap over to cotton. Cotton is a hypoallergenic material and allows your vagina to breathe (metaphorically).