Vaginal dryness is a very common symptom of menopause. In fact, some studies report that 40-60 percent of women develop this symptom at some point during the menopausal transition.
It not only puts a strain on a relationship but it also affects a woman’s self-esteem. Fortunately, by better understanding vaginal dryness, women can find the best treatment for it and restore their physical and emotional well-being. Let’s explore some options that my clients and I have found very helpful.
The link between menopause and what’s going on with your vulva and vagina involves hormones. Of course! Lucky for you hormones and menopause are two of my favorite subjects.
Perimenopause, which is the changes your body experiences before menopause, can start as early as your late thirties and it marks the onset of the end of your ovaries’ estrogen-producing days. By the time you reach menopause, which the average age is 51, your ovaries stop producing estrogen completely. Up until this time estrogen has been in charge of lubricating the vagina, maintaining its elasticity, and keeping you, well, juicy and sexy.
Estrogen has kept the vaginal walls lubed up, so as levels of this hormone start to dip, you may feel drier than a cactus in the desert. Physically, the tissue of the vulva and vagina becomes more thin and delicate, and the vagina becomes less elastic. Meanwhile, the pH of the vagina becomes less acidic, returning to pre-puberty levels. This results in painful sex, discomfort, and dryness.
There are several non-prescription ways to help balance estrogen and improve vaginal health.
Flaxseed and pumpkin seeds help the body balance estrogen. Toss one tablespoon each of ground flaxseed and pumpkin seed–I recommend GO RAW brand–in your smoothie each morning or sprinkle them on a salad or steamed veggies for dinner. These foods carry substances called phytoestrogens that help the body create estrogen naturally. Learn more about balancing hormones with food by joining my 14-Day Hormone Balance Detox Program on July 16. Register for it here.
Regular exercise has been found to be beneficial for those suffering vaginal dryness.
Not only does it boost blood circulation and maintain hormonal balance, but it also stimulates activity in the adrenal glands to promote the production of estrogen. Experts recommend regular aerobic workouts such as swimming and running or low-intensity activities like yoga. In addition to this, you should also avoid doing irregular high-impact exercises as these may only worsen the condition. A 2013 study reports that pelvic floor muscle relaxation exercises performed twice daily had an efficiency rating of 92 percent.
Here is a product that I highly recommend from Dr. Anna Cabeca. It’s called Julva. Yes, it rhymes with Vulva! I have personally used this when I was at my wits end on what to do for painful sex. This magic cream really did help. I encourage you to try Julva. It has DHEA, a vaginal restorative nutrient in it. Julva improves vulvar/vaginal integrity, skin elasticity, and overall health, increased collagen production, supports your body’s natural inflammatory response, and protects you from free radicals that increase the aging process. Click here to get a trial pack.
Many essential oils have hormone restorative properties. Some of my favorites are Rose Otto, Neroli, Jasmine, Geranium, Clary Sage, and Lavender. In my upcoming book, Aromatherapy for Menopause Success: 100 essential oil recipes to reclaim your vibrancy, I will be sharing my experiences regarding hormone balance and how aromatic plant medicine can help you during this transitional time.
This recipe can be used daily or several times a week as a vulvar/vaginal moisturizer to help reduce symptoms like dryness, itching, burning, and irritation. Rose and Neroli essential oils are very nourishing to the tissues and evoke the feminine with natural hormone balancing properties.
There are more tips and recipes in my five-part video series Aromatherapy: Your Gateway to Happy Hormones. Get the series here for just $29.95.