Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal Dryness

Top tips for combating vaginal dryness during perimenopause, menopause and beyond.

Whilst there are many different reasons why a number of us find ourselves with the irritating and at times painful issue of vaginal dryness, it is a very common issue linked with women experiencing perimenopause, and women who are post menopausal which is what we are focussing on in this blog article. 

We’re here to let you know help is at hand, and that there are various things we can do to help support this issue - thank god!

We understand it’s not an issue some women may feel comfortable talking about but we want that to change! A revolution is on the horizon with the current generation of ‘perimenopausers’ (possibly a new word…) refusing to suffer in silence. The more we talk about it the more we learn, and knowledge is power. 

Through discussion we can all support and share with each other how to manage our symptoms, providing the ability to learn and decide what strategies or tools may work best for ourselves. We decide.

So let’s get talking about dry vaginas.

Why is it common to experience vaginal dryness during perimenopause and post menopause? 

It all comes down to oestrogen - she is the queen bee when it comes to keeping our lovely lady bits lubricated and supple. Our vaginas really do deserve praise for their amazing elastic abilities, however when oestrogen starts to exit stage left during perimenopause and menopause, our poor vaginas can suffer and become less lubricated, resulting in dryness. Along with this, according to thinning (atrophy) of the vaginal skin including the entrance to the vagina can also occur. 

This can often be referred to as vaginal atrophy - which sounds like some kind of amazing vagina award, but unfortunately it’s not really the kind you’d fist pump about. However, as we said there are definitely ways to deal with it. 

What are the symptoms of Vaginal Dryness or Vaginal Atrophy ?

Vaginal Atrophy (which we’ve established is not an award *eyeroll), can cause stinging and itchiness, as well as pain during sex. It can also affect the urinary tract, leading to more frequent peeing and recurrent UTIs  - which, as we all know, is completely hideous. As the condition causes both vaginal and urinary symptoms, doctors use the term "genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)" to describe vaginal atrophy and its accompanying symptoms.

Symptoms can include : 

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal burning
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Genital itching
  • Burning with urination
  • Urgency with urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Light bleeding after intercourse
  • Discomfort with intercourse
  • Decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity
  • Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal

Enough of the doom and gloom though - let’s talk about what we can actually do in order to combat these symptoms. 

What exactly can you do if you have a dry vagina/vaginal atrophy?

According to the Australasian Menopause Society we can take the following steps to help combat a dry, irritated vagina/vaginal atrophy ;

  • Avoid, or limit time spent wearing tight-fitting underwear, pantyhose/tights, jeans or trousers as this may lead to sweating. Limit time in damp or wet swimming costumes or exercise clothing.
  • Try a non hormonal based vaginal moisturiser which can plump up cells in the vagina, reduce vaginal symptoms and restore vaginal pH. We suggest Hera’s choice of a natural, vaginal moisturiser you can find here, which when used regularly restores the natural protective acidity of the vagina. 
  • Wash clothing with non-perfumed or low-allergenic washing products. Avoid use of fabric softeners.
  • Avoid use of feminine hygiene sprays and douching. Avoid pads, tampons and toilet paper which are scented. We suggest using our amazing period and pee proof underwear available for both a heavy flow or light - moderate. This helps minimise irritation inside the vagina. Great to know it's a sustainable option too!
  • Avoid shaving or waxing the genital area, particularly if irritation is present.
  • Avoid the use of soap, liquid soap, bubble bath and shower gels and use soap alternatives. Always pat dry as opposed to rubbing.
  • Use a vaginal lubricant sexual activity. Click here for Hera’s pick of an all natural water based lube - a perfect substitute for the body’s own lubrication.
  • Practice safe sex in order to reduce Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
  • Quit smoking.

Another product to avoid is Nonoxynol-9. The WHO (World Health Organisation) does not recommend the use of personal lubricants containing nonoxynol-9 due to studies showing that it can contribute to thinning of the vagina wall. This ingredient is found in spermicide, and some condom products. 

Although it’s a tough time with the onset of any of these symptoms - it’s great to know we can fight back and reclaim our Vajayjay’s (aka Vagine/Vage/Whooha/Fandango's) super silkiness, allowing us to rejoice in well lubricated sex and all the enjoyment that comes with it!

Click here to see Hera’s full perimenopause support range of supplements and tonics. 

We always suggest contacting your GP should you be worried about your symptoms and the level of discomfort, or if you suffer any bleeding at all.

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