Feminine Dryness: Why It Happens and How to Deal With It
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Feminine dryness is something that most of us have experienced at one time or another. Whether it’s a one-off inconvenience or a regular occurrence, there are many reasons why your body may not produce enough moisture when you need it to. Typically, the vagina maintains an optimal level of lubrication with its own natural fluids. Sometimes, however, these can become insufficient or inconsistent as a result of changes in your body, external lifestyle factors, or emotional distractions. This can result in anything from discomfort during intimate activities to more serious ongoing complications.
Symptoms of intimate dryness can include itching, stinging, burning, and/or soreness around the vaginal opening. Some women also experience light bleeding during intercourse, or abnormal frequency or urgency in urinary activity.
Hormones: A Delicate Balance
The moisture in your vagina can deplete for many different reasons. A change in hormone levels, especially a decrease in estrogen, is the leading cause of vaginal dryness. For this reason, menopausal women are especially likely to have incidences of significantly reduced vaginal moisture—nearly 51% of North American women have reported vaginal dryness as an acute symptom of menopause.
Estrogen is your body’s principal feminine hormone. It is responsible for ensuring a proper balance of acidity and moisture, as well as regulating the elasticity of your vaginal cell tissue. Your estrogen level may fluctuate due to your menstrual cycle or during periods of pregnancy, childbirth, breast-feeding, or menopause.
The Right Care
Another common source of vaginal dryness is the irritation caused by the use of certain products. Some products contain chemicals that may disturb the natural environment of your vaginal system. With this in mind, you should always be careful only to use high quality, purpose-made products that are pH-balanced for your intimate areas.
Other external factors can also exacerbate existing conditions of vaginal dryness. Some women are sensitive to certain immersion situations, such as bubble baths or hot tubs—particularly in a shared or public setting. Medications can also create a risk of moisture depletion in your vagina and entire body. These include oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and even over-the-counter allergy and cold medications. High stress levels and cigarette smoking can also disrupt your feminine wellness.
Inadequate foreplay during intimate activity can also aggravate vaginal dryness. Feelings of anxiety or nervousness, lack of body confidence or an underlying relationship concern are also likely to inhibit you from reaching a sufficient level of excitement for the production of enough natural lubrication. In these cases, intercourse can be uncomfortable and possibly even painful.
An Immediate Solution
Depending on the severity of your vaginal dryness issues, several approaches can be taken. The North American Menopause Society [NAMS] recommends using an intimate moisturizer as the first treatment effort. This can be the quickest, most straight-forward remedy for replenishing moisture in the vagina, relieving discomfort and easing intimate activities.
Over-the-counter intimate moisturizers are available in the feminine care section of most pharmacies and healthcare retailers. As mentioned above, the very delicate nature of your feminine areas means that utmost care must be taken when purchasing feminine care products, being careful to choose specially-designed feminine wellness ranges that offer formulas specifically created for your intimate needs.
The Long-Term Approach
Your nutritional intake can also have a large impact on your feminine well being. Make sure to keep your entire body hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Maintain a well-rounded diet that includes good sources of cholesterol, such as soy or flax seed, which is necessary for production of natural vaginal lubricant. If dryness is persistent due to reduced estrogen in the body, hormone therapy may be the most suitable long-term treatment. Talk to your doctor about which of these therapy methods may be best for you.
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