Vaginal dryness during the menopause is one of the most common concerns associated with declining female sex hormones. It is estimated that one in four women experience vaginal dryness during menopause and typical symptoms include itching, painful intercourse as well as urinary discomfort. Not just confined during menopause, vaginal dryness can occur several years before the onset of menopause and for many well beyond menopause.
Glands located near the neck of the womb are responsible for producing a fluid that keeps the skin and tissues in the vagina moist and supple. The production of this fluid is directly dependant on the levels of oestrogen within the body and declining levels of oestrogen during menopause lead to vaginal dryness. Declining oestrogen levels are also responsible for the thinning and inflammation of the walls lining the vagina making them weak and vulnerable to both bacterial and fungal infections. To make matters worse, some women may also experience pain in the pelvic region as blood circulation decreases with declining oestrogen levels. For some women, the weakness in the walls of the vagina and the muscles surrounding it may also result in a problem of incontinence. All these problems can make life very difficult, depressing and debilitating.
Remedies to treat vaginal dryness
Most doctors will prescribe oral hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which helps many women in alleviating this concern however these are not without risks. Another medical option is to smear the vagina with oestrogen creams which are considered a safer option than oral HRT since these work locally and do not spread into the body. Unfortunately these are also not without risk and the common advice given is to use these creams infrequently or as little as possible.
It is for these reasons that many women seek alternative remedies to alleviate vaginal dryness. Since declining oestrogen levels are responsible for vaginal dryness, the first supplement that many women should consider would be a safe hormone-mimicking supplement such as Sage Complex by VH. Many traditional herbs such as dong quai, hops and sage leaf are known to contain phytoestrogens, which are compounds that chemically possess an activity that is some 1/400 or less than that of human oestrogen. In this way, the herbs in Sage Complex can exert a mild, but positive effect.
A remedy that most women rarely consider is the use of turmeric supplements. Turmeric is one of the most researched supplements in the world. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which displays potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Both these properties may be invaluable for quenching inflammation in the soft tissues of the body including the vagina. When the glands that produce fluids in the vagina get inflamed, there is a further reduction in the amount of lubricant fluid produced. Unfortunately, the vast majority of turmeric supplements have very low levels of curcumin and are easily degraded by the stomach acids. I recommend the use of Super Bio-Curcumin by Life Extension, a supplement that contains a patent pending extract of turmeric containing 95% curcuminoids in a base containing oils derived from turmeric root for greater absorption and has been shown to remain twice as long in the bloodstream than conventional turmeric supplements thus offering greater potential for calming inflammation in the entire body.
Most people have heard of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids by way of supplements such as fish oil and evening primrose oil. These are the good fats that your body requires for numerous processes including hormone production. A lack of essential fatty acids in one’s diet would be a contributing factor to vaginal dryness. There is a very specific essential fatty acid derived from sea buckthorn oil that helps many women in the alleviation of vaginal dryness. Sea Buckthorn oil contains beta carotene, trace minerals, omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids and additionally is the richest source of omega 7 essential fats. Omega 7 essential fatty acids are important structural components of mucous membranes which form the protective lining of internal organs such as the vaginal, digestive and respiratory tracts, as well as the surface of the eyes and mouth. Sea Buckthorn oil not only promotes healthy regeneration of these membranes but also provides nutrients essential for the proper functioning of the membranes in the vaginal tract.
In a study conducted by The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Finland, it was concluded that sea buckthorn oil was a natural and effective solution to contributing to the health of mucous membranes including where vaginal dryness occurs.
Many vaginal lubricants available widely in chemists and supermarkets tend to have petroleum derivatives, colours, fragrances, preservatives and may disturb the pH levels in the vagina making it more susceptible to bacteria and yeast infections. The Yes Yes Company’s range of vaginal lubricants with certified organic ingredients help target vaginal dryness without paraben and chemicals that potentially could be absorbed through the skin lining the vagina.