How To Take Care Of Vaginal Dryness After Menopause?

Aging changes in the female reproductive system result majorly from changing hormone levels. And one clear sign of aging occurs when a woman’s menstrual periods stop permanently. This is known as menopause.

Basically, menopause is the aging procedure a woman experiences that make her periods end. Yes, it is a turning point but it is not an ailment. It does have a major impact on a woman’s health and wellbeing.

With menopause and aging comes physical discomfort.

Menopause and Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness can be an issue for some postmenopausal women. Vaginal dryness is a hallmark indication of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, otherwise called atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy.

Less estrogen may cause the tissues of the vulva and the lining of the vagina to become thinner, drier, and less elastic or flexible.

Shifting levels of hormones—especially estrogen—during the menopause transition produce changes in a woman’s body. Both the vagina and the external female genitals (vulva) are affected.

menopause signs and vaginal health

Estrogen Receptors

Estrogen Receptors (ERs) are a group of proteins found inside cells. They are receptors that are activated by the hormone estrogen.

Two classes of estrogen receptors exist namely: nuclear estrogen receptors which are members of the nuclear receptor family of intracellular receptors and membrane estrogen receptors which are mostly G protein-coupled receptors. The metabolic effects of estrogen in postmenopausal women have been linked to the genetic polymorphism of estrogen receptor beta.

Changes in estrogen receptor expression likely underlie differential metabolic effects of estrogen in pre- and postmenopausal women.

Menopause Signs

While menopause signs are common, only 20 to 25 percent of symptomatic women seek medical consultation from their doctors.

In some women, symptoms occur during perimenopause, or the years leading up to menopause. In other women, symptoms may not appear until years later, if ever.

Menopause signs can include:

  • thinning of the vaginal walls
  • shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal
  • lack of vaginal moisture (vaginal dryness)
  • vaginal burning (inflammation)
  • spotting after intercourse
  • discomfort or pain during intercourse
  • pain or burning with urination
  • more frequent urinary tract infections
  • urinary incontinence (involuntary leakage)

Also Read: Female Sexual Dysfunction: Know The Treatments

How To Diagnose?

Any burning, itching, or discomfort in the area is worth a call to your doctor or gynaecologist. They will ask about your past health and find out how long you have had menopause signs and what seems to make them worse or better.

Your doctor will do a pelvic exam, checking your vagina for any thinning or redness. The exam will help rule out other possible causes for your discomfort, including a vaginal or urinary tract infection. The doctor may also remove cells from your vaginal wall or cervix for a Pap test.

Understanding Vaginal Dryness

Normally, the walls of the vagina remain lubricated with a thin layer of clear liquid. The hormone estrogen keeps up that fluid and keeps the lining of your vagina healthy, thick, and flexible.

A drop in estrogen levels decreases the measure of moisture available. It can occur at any age but it is one of the most common menopause signs.

It might appear to be a minor irritation. But the absence of vaginal moisture can hugely affect your sexual health too. Fortunately, there are many treatments available to relieve vaginal dryness.

  • Topical Estrogen Cream 

A common treatment of vaginal dryness caused by low estrogen levels is topical estrogen cream. This implies medications that are applied directly to the vaginal areas to relieve the menopause signs.

This method includes considerably less absorption of estrogen when compared to estrogen taken as a pill. All things considered, these medications are felt to be fairly low risk.

Examples of topical estrogen therapies include:

  • Vaginal Ring: This flexible ring is inserted into the vagina where it continually releases low amounts of estrogen into the tissues. The ring is replaced every 3 weeks.
  • Estrogen Cream: An applicator is often used to apply the cream into the vagina. Research has shown that estrogen cream is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for vaginal atrophy and dryness when compared with a placebo.
  • Vaginal Tablet: This treatment also involves an applicator to place a tablet into the vagina.
  • Vaginal Lube

If you are experiencing vagina dryness, you will find vaginal lube very beneficial. Using vaginal lube before sexual intercourse can help forestall itching, burning, chafing, and other physical discomforts.

Some vaginal lubes are designed to improve sexual health and arousal. If you are willing to try something new, these vaginal lubes can be a great way to spice things up with your partner.

To improve comfort during intercourse or alleviate dryness, try using over-the-counter vaginal lubes or moisturizers.

 “If you’re feeling dry, there’s no reason not to try one and see what it can do for you,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynaecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

  • LifeStyle Changes

With regards to treating painful vaginal dryness, the number one home solution for vaginal atrophy is to make lifestyle changes. While this may not be as simple as it sounds, rolling out simple changes to your water intake and physical activity can improve your vaginal health effectively.

  • Increase Water Intake 

Reversing vaginal atrophy by drinking more water helps increase natural lubrication. Drinking a lot of water helps hydrate your body by flushing your skin and cells with much-required nutrients. Water increases your natural vaginal moisturizer, bringing about reduced uneasiness with good vaginal health.

  • Regular Exercise 

Exercising regularly helps flush the toxins and builds serotonin levels. Research shows that estrogen and serotonin are connected. Participating in the day by day exercise, for example, aerobic exercise, running, and yoga help increase serotonin levels and good vaginal health simultaneously.

Serotonin is the cheerful hormone that directs your state of mind. As hormones change, many women experience depression, tension, and mood swings in addition to vaginal dryness.

  • Quit Smoking

One of the hardest habits to quit is smoking, but the health benefits are clear. Smoking leeches the vaginal tissues of moisturizer and estrogen. Not only does it decrease estrogen levels, but it may also lead to osteoporosis, among other health problems.

  • Natural Vaginal Lubes

Using natural and water-based vaginal lube during sexual activity and while using vaginal dilators helps ease vaginal dryness. Conventional plant-based lubricants for the genital area include:

  • Aloe vera
  • Coconut oil
  • Jojoba
  • Vitamin E

Remember that menopause is not an illness. It is a natural part of a woman’s life.

Though dealing with menopause signs can be difficult, following the right diet and exercising regularly may help alleviate and prevent them most effectively.

Source:
https://www.healthline.com/health/atrophic-vaginitis

https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginal-dryness-causes-moisturizing-treatments

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/vaginal-lubricants

https://www.everydayhealth.com/menopause/vaginal-changes-occur-during-menopause/

https://www.vuvatech.com/blogs/care/home-remedies-for-vaginal-atrophy-treatments-and-causes


Tags: Vulvar dryness, Yeast infection dryness, Dry skin around the private area

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Natasha Patel

Natasha Patel is the senior writer for the women’s health edition at CheapMedicineShop.com. She worked as a primary care provider before joining the writer’s panel of the blog. She is also trained in routine obstetrics and continues to practice in Oklahoma, where she lives with her family.