A bit more than itchy down there? You’re not alone. While vaginal dryness is heavily underreported, the reality is that nearly 100% of women suffer from it at some point in their life.
So why are so many women hesitant to open up? Fulfillene founder Rachael Cabreira RN, BSN, MSN, FNP-C, Certified Sexual Health Clinician and Anti-Aging Specialist, explains:
“Many women don’t know how to talk about it, and they don’t know how their vaginal dryness relates to menopause and the changes within their bodies. Some simply endure it because they’re not aware that there’s a solution.”
So what helps with vaginal dryness, and what causes it in the first place?
We’ll explore common causes of vaginal dryness and share natural solutions that can help you find relief.
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What Causes Vaginal Dryness?
Vaginal dryness is a natural consequence of aging. Changes in skin chemistry over time, as well as hormonal changes, can make you more susceptible to symptoms.
Estrogen maintains the fluid walls of your vagina, keeping it healthy and elastic. As you age, however, these vaginal walls begin to thin as a response to changes in estrogen production.
Vaginal dryness can occur as early as your 30s, which is around the age that collagen production starts to slow down, affecting skin elasticity.
Your intimate skin is the most sensitive skin on your body. Over time, it loses elasticity, moisture, and overall integrity of its health — just like the skin on your face.
Let’s look at four specific stages where vaginal dryness often occurs: Postpartum, perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.
Postpartum Vaginal Dryness
Did you know that vaginal dryness is extremely common after childbirth? The vast majority of women will experience it postpartum.
After having a baby, your vagina is stretched and your vaginal walls are thinner. Your estrogen and progesterone levels also decline when you are breastfeeding. All of these factors can contribute to vaginal dryness and make sex painful for women postpartum.
Perimenopause Vaginal Dryness
Perimenopause usually starts in a woman’s 40’s but can start in the 30’s for some. It is the first stage of slowing estrogen production in the reproductive system. During perimenopause, you are still able to get your menstrual period and become pregnant.
Menopause Vaginal Dryness
Women reach the menopause stage when they have gone 12 consecutive months without their menstrual period. The ovaries stop releasing eggs and most estrogen production is lost.
During the first five years of menopause, the skin loses over 30% of its collagen, and nearly 100% of menopausal women experience vaginal dryness.
Post menopause Vaginal Dryness
After a year without a period, a woman moves to the post menopause stage, where the vaginal tissues become thinner, less elastic and more easily irritated.
At this stage, women are most susceptible to vaginal dryness, also known as atrophic vaginitis, vaginal atrophy and urogenital atrophy.
Besides vaginal dryness caused by the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), there are other causes that interrupt estrogen production, such as:
- Breast cancer
- Siogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can cause dryness
In addition, certain lifestyle factors can impact estrogen production and contribute to vaginal dryness symptoms, such as:
- Cigarette smoking
- Excessive stress
- Rigorous exercise
- Not enough foreplay before sex
- Caffeine and alcohol
Vaginal dryness can also be caused by certain treatments, procedures and medication:
- Allergy and cold medications
- Certain anti-depressant medications
- Anti-histamines and anti-estrogen medications
- Birth control pills
- Cancer treatments including chemotherapy and hormonal therapy
- Removal of ovaries
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What Are The Consequences of Vaginal Dryness?
As common as vaginal dryness is, the truth is that many women suffer in silence, resulting in relational and emotional consequences. As a certified sexual health clinician, Fulfillene’s Rachael Cabreira sees the physical, emotional and relational effects that vaginal dryness can have, on a daily basis.
“Women are suffering with this,” she explains. “They know that their intimate skin hurts, or every time they want to be intimate they experience burning and irritation — but they’re hesitant to talk about it because they don’t realize how common it is, and they don’t realize there’s a solution.”
The feeling of lack of control over what is happening down below can make you feel embarrassed, frustrated and helpless. You may experience a loss in self-confidence and sexual confidence as you try to manage symptoms such as pain, itchiness and change in physical appearance of the vagina and vulva.
Vaginal dryness can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs). You may also experience difficulty holding your bladder, and shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal.
Vaginal dryness leads to lower levels of natural secretions, which can lead to painful sex (known as dyspareunia), and affect sexual relationships. Your vagina needs the right support to sooth, protect, and replenish what the vulvo-vaginal ecosystem needs to support its healthy state.
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How To Treat Vaginal Dryness Naturally
There are a variety of options you can consider to treat vaginal dryness, from short-term relief to more long-haul lifestyle changes.
Foods for Vaginal Dryness
Did you know that food can either help or hurt your vaginal health? Your diet can help your body fight off infections, ease cramps and even alter your odor. A poor diet can wreak havoc on your vaginal flora, leading to unpleasant odor and a decrease in natural secretions.
To support your vaginal health, opt for food rich in:
- Probiotics to introduce “good” bacteria and balance pH levels
- Vitamin A and beta carotene to strengthen and protect uterine walls
- Omega-3 fatty acids to promote circulation and relieve vaginal dryness
- Phytoestrogen to fight off decreasing estrogen levels
- Muscle-healthy vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E, magnesium and calcium
Adding a variety of foods into your diet to ensure you’re stocking up on nutrients can be a challenge, which is why at Fulfillene, we offer the highest quality supplements and multivitamins specifically made to nourish your body and improve your intimate health.
As Fulfillene’s Rachael Cabreira explains, “Our supplements support cellular function and contain vitamins, minerals antioxidants and nutrients that support and aide in working at the cellular level for vaginal, brain, bone and heart health. They help decrease inflammation, increase vaginal lubrication and improve the health of the vaginal ecosystem.”
Supplements for Vaginal Dryness
If you are considering supplements and multivitamins for your vaginal health, it’s not just your vagina that benefits — your whole body benefits, too.
Rachael explains, “As women enter menopause, they are more at risk for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and dementia, low libido, vagina dryness and decreased sexual pleasure.”
At Fulfillene, our supplements are made with the purest ingredients with your body’s optimum health in mind.
While Vitamin D is widely known for supporting bone health, studies show that it could also help increase natural female lubrication.
In fact, studies have shown that Vitamin D supplements and suppositories:
- Significantly decrease vaginal dryness in postmenopausal women
- Better vaginal health and decrease dryness during menopause
- Promote vaginal moisture and consistency in women 65+
Shop for Fulfillene Vitamin D here!See product
You probably know that probiotics support your gut health, but did you know they also trickle down and support the health of your overall vaginal ecosystem, too? Probiotics are your friend for feminine health, because they:
- Balance your pH level and help fight infections
- Prevent yeast infections by introducing live and active cultures of “good” bacteria to the vagina
- Ease PMS symptoms
Shop for Fulfillene Probiotic here!See product
A companion for many older women, collagen plays a crucial role in joint, bone, muscle and heart health, and is a major component of your skin. As you age, collagen production declines, leading to wrinkle formation and dry, brittle skin.
For older women suffering from vaginal dryness, you’ll find that collagen may:
- Reduce skin dryness and a significantly increase skin elasticity
Shop for Fulfillene Whole Body Collagen here!See product
The good news is, you don’t have to choose just one supplement to help improve your vaginal health and the overall health of your body. We offer bundles that combine supportive supplements together, including our Intimate Skin Bundle, our Skin Protocol Bundle, and our Vaginal Health Protocol Bundle.
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What To Use For Vaginal Dryness
Various topical solutions can help provide immediate relief for discomfort caused by vaginal dryness.
The most popular oil used for vaginal dryness and general skin dryness is coconut oil. A 2013 study concluded that coconut oil does indeed moisturize and act as a protective barrier for your skin.
Coconut oil also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that may help fight urinary tract infections and year infections.
Other oils that can be used for vaginal dryness include grape seed, olive, sweet almond and sunflower.
Natural oils can help lubricate your vagina after one application, but you’ll need repeat applications to keep the area moisturized.
If you’re using an oil, be sure to double-check the ingredients label! Ensure that the oil is natural and free of additives and possible irritants unlike traditional lubricants.
Lubricants & Moisturizers
Water-based lubricants are cost-effective and safe to use with condoms. They also don’t stain the sheets like oils do.
If you are looking for something that lubricates while also nourishes soothes, and restores your intimate skin, look to vaginal moisturizers. They are absorbed into the tissue and rehydrate the dry mucosal tissue.
“Over time,” Rachael explains, “your skin’s natural defense barrier is exposed to so many external aggressors.”
“When skin is dry and irritated, it is communicating to us that it’s lacking the natural resources, like peptides and amino acids, that support ongoing production and balance of collagen and hydration. This is what ultimately keeps our skin healthy by supporting the elasticity, plumpness, hydration and lubrication to its optimal function,” Rachael continues.
That’s why it’s important to choose a Fulfillene intimate skin moisturizer that:
- Maintains the pH and osmolality of your vaginal tissue
- Feels refreshing and comfortable on your skin
- Protects and lubricates your most intimate area
- Made from only pure and clean ingredients for the most sensitive skin
- Free from parabens, fragrance-free and flavoring-free
- Produced-cruelty free to truly honor your mind, body and spirit
Our Fulfillene Intimate Skin Moisturizer is a patent-pending, scientifically formulated water-based serum than nourishes from within.
With a peptide module complex, amino acids, proteins and nutrients that are therapeutic, restorative and protective, it provides glide while also soothing, moisturizing and building collagen — a formulation that is completely unique from anything else on the market.
With clean ingredients and a direct focus on the vulvo-vaginal ecosystem, Fulfillene Intimate Skin Moisturizer maintains the pH and osmolality of the tissue to support the healthiest state of your most intimate skin.
Whatever life stage you’re at, from perimenopause to post menopause, or post-partum, vaginal dryness is something that the majority of women face.
Suffering from this condition comes with its own emotional, physical and relational challenges, but the good news is that there are an abundance of natural treatment options from supplements to nourishing intimate skin moisturizer.
Just as you moisturize your face and body, your vagina needs your special care and attention, too. Our Fulfillene products are formulated specifically for your intimate skin, with your overall health in mind, with the best quality nourishing ingredients.