Dealing with menopause symptoms: vaginal dryness
The myriad of symptoms that can arise around the time that we transition from peri- to post-menopause can be quite bewildering.
Often, we put down the occasional symptom to other life stresses, like the odd disturbed nights sleep due to something being on our mind, or weight gain, because we have been busy with more social engagements than normal.
Things which often right themselves relatively quickly.
Equally, we just don't talk about menopause all that much, despite the increased media coverage. And we certainly don't talk about vaginal dryness and the impact that can have on our lives.
The effect peri- to post-menopause can have on our wellbeing, sexual and mental health can be significant.
So why what is really happening and what can we do about it?
Vaginal dryness occurs thanks to a drop of oestrogen levels as we head into perimenopause.
During our earlier years, oestrogen is the hormone responsible for maintaining lubrication, elasticity, thickness and overall health in the vagina.
A reduction in oestrogen as you head through perimenopause into menopause is what can lead to vaginal dryness and potentially cause soreness, itchiness, burning or even pain.
This dryness can even lead to discomfort during and after s3x thanks to micro tears occurring due to the reduced lubrication,
This can then compound with an already reduced libido, leaving you feeling less likely to want to engage in intercourse
There are many ways to improve the situation: you can speak to your doctor about HRT or other options, and it is important to remember that vaginal lubrication starts with being relaxed, hydrated and, in the case of sexual activity, by taking your time.
As we age, our s3xual response can slow, so finding time to become aroused is more important than ever.
Another, very practical, and instant solution, of course, is the use of lubricants and moisturisers designed for intimate vaginal use.
It is important to remember that the tissues of the genital area are very absorbent and you should also be considerate of ingredients in any product that you use around your genitals. Look for products which contain natural ingredients and are free from glycerine and parabens.
The use of fragrances or artificial chemicals can irritate the delicate skin and cause more issues than they resolve.
We therefore always recommend natural, water-based products such as those created by Yes as they are made from natural plant-based ingredients unlike many other lubricants.
If your vaginal dryness is more than uncomfortable, we always recommend talking to your doctor and asking about options including vaginal oestrogen, which can only be prescribed by your GP.
There are a few different types of lubricants that you can choose from.
You can choose a water based one, such as the Yes WB lubricant which is great for both lubrication when engaging in sexual activity, and as a vaginal moisturiser as and when needed to rehydrate the vaginal tissues.
Yes also make two other products for vaginal dryness: Yes VM and Yes OB – both of which are more suited to vaginal atrophy where more lubrication is needed.
Do be aware that the Yes OB is oil based, like many other personal lubricants, and therefore is NOT suitable for use with a condom.
To find out more about yes, head to their website here.
To learn about the hormones that lead to different symptoms as well as how look after your wellbeing during menopause, sign up to my next free Menopause The Basics course.
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