The Low Down about Your Down Low: All About Vaginal Dryness Symptoms
When things don’t seem quite right down there, you may be experiencing vaginal dryness symptoms. While it can be disconcerting when things don’t seem to be in proper working order with your private parts, know that there are some effective solutions to a number of issues, especially vaginal and vulvar dryness. That’s why it’s important to know the symptoms, because if vaginal dryness is what’s causing your discomfort, there are natural ways to alleviate your symptoms and get you back to feeling your best.
When you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, it’s not exactly something you want to scream from the rooftops and ask everyone you know how to alleviate it. While we like to keep our private parts private, it’s important to know what the symptoms of vaginal dryness are and what you can do to get things back to normal.
And because we know that it can be super awkward to talk to your friends, family, and even your doctor about your dryness, we’re here to help by sharing the lowdown on your down-there region to help you identify the problem and get the relief you deserve.
Am I Experiencing Vaginal and Vulvar Dryness?
First, you should know that vaginal and vulvar dryness are totally normal. You don’t have to be ashamed, and you shouldn’t feel like something is terribly wrong with you. Women of all ages can experience vaginal dryness, and it isn’t linked to just one life event or activity.
But how will you know that you’re dealing with vaginal dryness and not something else? Good question. There are a few markers that can help you determine if it’s dryness that’s causing all the fuss down there.
Most commonly, women suffering from vaginal dryness will experience frequent urination, soreness, itching or burning of the vulva, painful sexual intercourse, UTI infections, burning in the vaginal cervix and wall, and mild vaginal discharge. Additionally, some women experience the following symptoms, which are tell-tale signs that they may be suffering from vaginal or vulvar dryness:
- You notice less natural lubrication down there
- Activities like biking, jogging, and sexual intercourse cause pain and discomfort
- You suffer from skin disorders in and around your vaginal region, including lichen sclerosis, dermatitis, soreness, and other pain disorders
- Reduced vaginal elasticity
- Increased instances of infections, odors, and irritations
- Urinary leakage, pressure, and/or trouble urinating, as well as other pelvic symptoms
- Decreased sexual desire and arousal and/or difficulty orgasming
If you’re experiencing any or a number of these symptoms, vaginal dryness is likely to blame.
Estrogen plays a critical role in helping your vagina maintain its natural lubrication. An appropriate amount of estrogen means that your vagina will stay lubricated with a clear fluid that is healthy, thick, and elastic. When your estrogen levels drop, so does the quality of this natural lubricant, leaving your vagina dry and itchy.
Now that you know the symptoms and think you may be suffering from vaginal dryness, it’s important to know what causes it.
Why Am I Experiencing Vaginal or Vulvar Dryness?
There are a number of reasons you may be experiencing vaginal dryness. At its most basic level, any event that causes your estrogen to drop may result in irritating and uncomfortable dryness.
Menopause is one of the leading causes of vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, one out of every three women will experience vaginal dryness during menopause. That’s a lot of women! And it often continues well past menopause and becomes more common in women’s post-menopausal years. The main reason for this is because during menopause, your vagina becomes thinner and less elastic. This condition is called vaginal atrophy, and a visit to the doctor is necessary to help diagnose it and help you find relief.
But menopause isn’t the only culprit causing your estrogen to drop and causing your vaginal dryness to flare up. Women of all ages can experience dryness, not just those in their menopausal years. Some other common reasons estrogen can drop include:
- Radiation or chemotherapy treatments
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
- Taking anti-estrogen medications used to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis
While the actions above can lead to a drop in estrogen, the list below includes other reasons why you may be experiencing vaginal dryness:
- Sjögren’s Syndrome (This is a complex autoimmune disorder that involves inflammation of the salivary and tear glands. The tissues lining the vagina can also become inflamed, which leads to vaginal dryness.)
- Allergy and cold medications (antihistamines)
- Certain anti-depressants
- Not enough forepay before sex
- Beauty products (soaps, perfumes, detergents, etc.)
- Gut imbalances
- Stress and anxiety
- Lifestyle factors (smoking, eating foods with hormones, etc.)
But let’s face it, no matter what the reason is for your vaginal dryness, you simply want a solution! Intense and extended vaginal dryness can cause more than just physical discomfort—it can lead to larger problems and even mental distress when you begin feeling older than your age. It can also lead to relationship problems stemming from intimacy issues and can cause many women to lose their self-confidence and feel uncomfortable in their own bodies.
The good news is, there are a wealth of preventive and treatment options out there to help you avoid future suffering.
Prevention is Key
There are a number of steps you can take to fend off future bouts of vaginal dryness. And many of them are easy to implement in your regular routine:
- Minimize exposure of your vaginal area to toxins: Many soaps, perfumes, and detergents can throw off your natural pH balance, leading to problems. Take care not to over wash this delicate area. You don’t need any special soaps, douches, or detergents. Good old water or even better a clean, natural intimate wash will do! And if irritation persists, try switching to a natural and gentle detergent . To read more on how you can understand labels and beauty standards to find the best products that promote a healthy V, click here.
- Add probiotics and essential fats: eat more yummy foods you’ll love, love free-range, hormone-free eggs and butter, avocados, olive oil, salmon, and oysters. Fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and pickled veggies can help, too.
- Using a natural moisturizer like Nourish Your V’s 100% Natural Intimate Moisturizing Oil is a great choice to hydrate, lubricate, and calm your vulva and intimate areas. Use the moisturizer on a regular basis once or twice daily, preferably after shower or bath, and let the vulva tissues absorb the beneficial properties of the combination of first pressed oils and essential oils. The vulva skin will get strengthened and feel more elastic over time. Note that if you plan on using condoms, oil-based lubricants don’t play well with them!
- Do Kegel and yoga exercises: Kegel exercises and other pelvic floor exercises will help get the blood flowing to your vaginal region, which will help strengthen muscles, increase elasticity, and increase your intimate pleasure. Some yoga moves will do the same.
Simple Actions Can Lead to Relief
Remember, when it comes to vaginal dryness, you’re not alone and there are things you can do to combat it. It’s a natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it. If you’re experiencing intense symptoms outside of those mentioned above, it’s worth talking to your doctor or gynecologist.
But if you’re sure that you’re dealing with a bout of vaginal dryness, know that there are a lot of clean, natural solutions out there for you and some simple steps you can implement in your day-to-day life to find relief. If you stick to the tips we’ve mentioned above, you can do a lot to help prevent and alleviate future bouts of vaginal dryness.