The internal mechanics of the female body are elegant, mysterious and often maddeningly uncooperative. No matter how enthusiastic your heart, mind and spirit, vaginal dryness can turn what should be a pleasant interlude into a frustrating endeavor. Most often occurring in women during and after menopause, dryness down there can actually happen to anyone at any time. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to get yourself back in the game.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Understanding the Causes of Dryness
Vaginal dryness is simply a lack of natural lubrication in your vagina, explain the health experts at the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center 14. Causes vary, though you're more likely to experience this if you're a woman in or past menopause or someone undergoing cancer treatments.
Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center notes that those are not the only causes of vaginal dryness 14. Lack of natural lubrication can also be caused by birth control, breastfeeding, douching, infection and certain medications such as decongestants. Sometimes it's due to not being as physically aroused as you are mentally. That can be addressed by slowing things down and engaging in foreplay long enough for your body to catch up.
If the issue is absolutely due to outside factors, you can try vaginal dryness vaginal suppository treatments, such as lubricants, or topical vitamin E 1.
Read More: What Are the Causes of Vaginal Irritation?
- Vaginal dryness is simply a lack of natural lubrication.
Basic Facts About Vitamin E
Can You Eat Certain Foods for Vaginal Dryness?
Vitamin E is found in foods such as:
- canola oil
- fortified cereals
- leafy greens
- olive oil
While eating a diet high in vitamin E certainly has benefits, it's not likely to help ease vaginal dryness. The best way to do that is with vitamin E suppositories designed to dissolve inside you, or through applying vitamin E topically.
Vitamin E for Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal lubricants work by placing a thin, slick film along your vaginal walls, replacing the natural lubrication that is not happening for you. There are many types of lubricants on the market, though University of Michigan Health Services advises that you avoid oil-based lubricants such as baby oil or petroleum jelly. Also stay away from any lubricants that are flavored, that offer "tingling" or "heat" or that contain glycerin. Don't use hand cream or body lotion as a lubricant either, because they may contain ingredients which will irritate your skin, both inside and out.
There are two ways to use vitamin E as a vaginal lubricant, according to the experts at Siteman Cancer Center. The first is to pierce a vitamin E gel capsule with a clean pin or needle and insert the capsule into your vagina. The heat of your body will melt the capsule casing and allow the gel to spread. The second way is to open several gel capsules, squeeze the gel onto your fingertips and apply it to your vulva and into your vagina. You can also have your partner do this as part of foreplay.
Estrogen creams, lotions and estrogen suppositories in the shape of a ring are also available to help ease dryness. Because the use of estrogen can raise your risk of certain cancers, especially if you have cancer in your medical history, you should talk to your physician before using these.
- Vaginal lubricants work by placing a thin, slick film along your vaginal walls, replacing the natural lubrication that is not happening for you.
- There are many types of lubricants on the market, though University of Michigan Health Services advises that you avoid oil-based lubricants such as baby oil or petroleum jelly.
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Vitamin E & Chapped Lips
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- The Ohio State University: Vaginal Dryness
- Mayo Clinic: Vitamin E
- University of Michigan Health System: Improving Sexual Health: Vaginal Lubricants, Moisturizers, Dilators & Counseling
- Siteman Cancer Center: Vaginal Dryness
- Cleveland Clinic. Vaginal Dryness. Updated December 9, 2018.
- Cleveland Clinic. Vaginitis. Updated November 6, 2018.
- Arthritis Foundation. Sjögren’s Syndrome and Your Body.
- Harvard Medical School. Vaginal Atrophy (Atrophic Vaginitis). Updated March 2019.
- Naumova I, Castelo-Branco C. Current treatment options for postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. Int J Womens Health. 2018;10:387–395. Published 2018 Jul 31. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S158913
Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.