Having a ‘Dry Vagina’ is just as uncomfortable as it sounds and no one really wants to talk about it, especially when anthems like Cardi B’s WAP hits a little differently for women who experience dryness. The heart of the song really is to prioritize female pleasure so shouldn’t we include DAP into such discourse? Many women experience discomfort and even pain during intercourse and masturbation because of vaginal dryness. Though menopausal women report experiencing it most often, younger women deal with it too. Some 17% of women ages 18 to 50 and 25% of women ages 50 to 59 have experienced vaginal dryness during sex, according to Women’s Health Concern. There’s even suspicion that the number recorded is low because women are often ashamed or embarrassed to bring the topic of vaginal dryness up to their doctors.
So we’re here to say if you do have a DAP, please don’t feel ashamed because this is a very common experience and more importantly, there are ways to help your body get the waters flowing again (bring a bucket and a mop for this wet..)
What causes vaginal dryness?
There are a number of factors that contribute to vaginal or genital dryness, but it is most often caused by a decrease in estrogen levels. Estrogen is a hormone that helps keep the tissues of your vagina lubricated and healthy. When there is less estrogen, there’s also less sexual arousal because this glorious hormone is responsible for boosting blood flow to the vagina. While menopause is the most obvious case, there are many circumstances that can affect the body’s natural hormone balance, making your vagina feel irritation, burning, and pain during intercourse rather than pleasure.
Postpartum. Estrogen and progesterone levels insanely drop after giving birth. Breastfeeding also decreases estrogen levels so as to allow for milk production.
Stress, Anxiety, & Depression. Factors like stress and anxiety directly affect hormone production.
Cancer Treatments Like Chemotherapy or Radiation. Cancer treatments immediately lessen the amount of estrogen produced in the ovaries.
Medication. Medications that treat allergies, colds, and asthma can have the unfortunate side effects of vaginal dryness due to an overall drying effect on the body. Also, some forms of birth control and antidepressants, like SSRIs, can contribute.
Douching. You really don’t need to do it! Your vagina actually cleans itself, so there’s no need to buy products that interrupt the natural balance of flora & acidity in the vagina. Avoid perfumed soaps as well!
Lack of Arousal. This seems obvious, but lack of foreplay or insufficient stimulation means you are not lubricated enough to to enjoy pleasurable sex. Our bodies aren’t always ready to go in an instant, so be patient and give yourself time to explore because arousal is both mental and physical.
How to treat vaginal dryness
It’s inevitable that the vagina will experience changes as we age, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to prevent and even treat vaginal dryness.
Lubrication. Generally, the saying goes a little bit of lube goes a long way. Quanna is an advocate for using lube, with or without vaginal dryness, to help deepen sexual intimacy, enhance arousal, and help you last longer during sex. Our water-based Oomf lube with premium-grade CBD is a great option with it’s blend of hydrating plant-based ingredients and a natural pH balance that is free of paraben, glycerin, and alcohol. Expect a warm tingling sensation to promote blood flow, alleviate discomfort and increase sensitivity during intimate moments.
Sex. Regular sexual stimulation and activity, with a partner or alone (masturbation), can help keep tissue in the vagina moist and promote healthy vaginal tissue.
Estrogen creams and tablets. are inserted a few times a week into the vagina. Creams must be measured and can get messy. Tablets are a good alternative. There are also Vaginal rings that you can look into.
Functional medicine. If you’re experiencing symptoms of chronic vaginal dryness pre-menopause, consider working with a holistic practitioner like a Naturopath, Functional Medicine Doctor, and/or Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor. Working with a practitioner who can look at your hormonal levels from a 360-degree purview will allow you to tackle dryness from the root cause.
Vaginal dryness does not have to be a death sentence to your general comfort or your sex life. When you are in tune with your vagina, you are presented with a profound resource for checking in with your state of body and mind. If you notice that you feel out of balance, please do speak with your gynaecologist.
Prompt: What are some tips for talking to your doctor about vaginal dryness? How do you make the discussion easier?