Vaginal dryness is a very common problem that occurs mostly in postmenopausal women, but it can also affect younger women who have decreased estrogen production like breastfeeding women and women taking certain medications. (1) It can make you lose interest in your daily activities, as well as make you irritable and uncomfortable. Just like how your normal menstruation days make you feel.
Certain symptoms of vaginal dryness like painful intercourse, burning, abnormal discharge, painful urination, and itchiness can disrupt your routine life. (1)
Atrophic vaginitis is a condition in which the vaginal tissues or lining become thin and dry due to a drop in the body’s estrogen levels. It changes women physiologically and psychologically.
- Causes of Vaginal Dryness
- Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
- Prevention of Vaginal Dryness
- Natural Treatments for Vaginal Dryness
- Method 1: Coconut Oil
- Method 2: Baking Soda
- Method 3: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Method 4: DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
- Method 5: Boric Acid
- Method 6: Jojoba Oil
- Method 7: Olive Oil
- Method 8: Probiotic Yogurt
- Method 9: Aloe Vera Gel
- Method 10: Vitamin E Oil
- Tips for managing vaginal dryness
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
Estrogen is a female hormone that plays a very important role in keeping the vaginal tissues and lining lubricated and in healthy condition.
Estrogen also stimulates the vaginal lining to produce glycogen, which encourages the presence of helpful bacteria called lactobacilli that protect your vagina from infections as well as produce lactic acid. The lactic acid maintains the acidic environment of the vagina that is required to keep the proliferation of bad bacteria under control.
The main causes of the drop in estrogen levels are:
- Postmenopausal phase in women.
- Surgical removal of both ovaries.
- Chemotherapy or other radiation therapy focused on the pelvic area.
- Side effects of breast cancer or hormonal treatment.
- Yeast infections, such as candidiasis.
- Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.
- Imbalance of lactobacilli, the bacteria that maintain an equilibrium of good and bad bacteria in the vagina.
- Frequent douching or use of soaps and other fragrances in the vaginal area.
- Using birth control or spermicides.
- Smoking, which affects blood circulation in your body, due to which vaginal tissues do not get enough oxygen.
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
- Loss of bladder control.
- Urinary symptoms, such as recurring urinary tract infections, increased urgency to urinate, frequent urination, etc.
- Pain during sexual intercourse due to the lack of vaginal lubrication.
- Low or no sexual desire.
- Burning and itching sensations in the vagina.
- Vaginal discharge, usually white or yellowish.
- Non-menstrual bleeding or post-coital bleeding.
- Vaginal examination may be uncomfortable or painful.
- Vaginal examination may show lack of vaginal folds.
- Hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia.
Prevention of Vaginal Dryness
- Doing Kegel exercises can keep the vaginal muscles healthy and elastic.
- Do not use scented feminine hygiene products, as they might upset the harmony of the vaginal flora.
- Practice safe sex to prevent contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
- Being sexually active, with or without a partner, promotes blood flow to the vagina, which keeps the vaginal tissues healthy.
- Use water-soluble vaginal lubricants before sexual intercourse.
Natural Treatments for Vaginal Dryness
Method 1: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has lauric acid, which is a fatty acid capable of deeply moisturizing the skin. Coconut oil replenishes the skin’s lipid barrier. This barrier reduces water loss and plays a vital role in strengthening, hydrating and promoting healthy skin tissue. (2)
Applying coconut oil on the vaginal walls can reduce the itchiness and burning sensation caused by the dryness. Use extra-virgin coconut oil that is pure and not mixed with any other essential oil.
Single-Step Treatment: Rub coconut oil on the vaginal walls
- Scoop some extra-virgin coconut oil using your fingers and apply it in and around the walls of the vagina.
- Massage it a little so that it spreads equally in the vagina.
- Do this once a day.
You can also consume 1 teaspoon of coconut oil every day since it has many health benefits.
Method 2: Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural antioxidant and is capable of reestablishing the pH balance of your skin. The dryness in your vagina can be caused by a reduced level of lactic acid, which creates a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria to thrive and grow. (3)
Soaking in a baking soda solution will restore the alkaline environment inside your vagina, making it an unfriendly environment for harmful bacteria.
Single-Step Treatment: Add baking soda to your bathwater & soak in it
- Add 5 tablespoons of baking soda to your bathwater and soak in it, or at least immerse the genital area in it.
- Soak for 30 minutes, then take a shower.
- Do this daily.
You can also douche with baking soda. Do it for 20 minutes every day. You will be able to feel the difference in 5 days.
Method 3: Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar’s acidic nature restores the pH level of the vagina, which makes it difficult for bad bacteria to survive. This helps maintain the balance between the good and bad bacteria present in the vagina.
The honey in the recipe is a natural antibiotic and acts as the catalyst to boost the effectiveness of the apple cider vinegar.
Things you’ll need:
- Apple cider vinegar – 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Organic raw honey – 1 tablespoon
- Warm water – 1 glassful
Single-Step Treatment: Mix all the ingredients & drink it
- Pour 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a glass of lukewarm water.
- Add 1 tablespoon of organic raw honey to the diluted apple cider vinegar.
- Mix all the ingredients well and drink it.
Drink this solution twice a day.
Method 4: DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
DHEA, also known as dehydroepiandrosterone, is a natural hormone that can be transformed into male and female sex hormones. It is believed that when DHEA is directly inserted into the vagina, the tissues nearby convert it to the estrogen hormone known as estradiol, without raising the level of the hormone in the rest of the body.
You can also consume 5 mg DHEA orally daily. Consult with your doctor before you consume it orally.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration approved DHEA to be used vaginally to treat atrophic vaginitis and other related symptoms.
According to a study published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, 325 and 125 postmenopausal women were assigned to take 0.5 percent DHEA and placebo, respectively, daily for 12 weeks. It was found that women taking DHEA improved more on measures of vaginal thinning and dryness than those taking a placebo. (4)
Method 5: Boric Acid
Boric acid has been used since medieval times to treat vaginal infections. In a study conducted in 2009, scientists substituted boric acid for an antibiotic and inserted 600 mg of boric acid into the vagina. Women who had boric acid cured faster than those who did not. (5)
It is inexpensive, accessible and has shown effective results in eliminating bad bacteria of the vagina.
Single-Step Treatment: Insert a boric acid capsule into your vagina
- Fill an empty gel capsule with boric acid and insert it into your vagina before hitting the sack.
- Wash the area with lukewarm water the next morning.
Use this remedy once or twice a week to cure atrophic vaginitis.
Method 6: Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the itchiness in the vagina due to the dryness. It also has antibacterial properties, and its moisturizing agents mimic the sebum on our skin, which makes it a perfect ingredient to be used in the vagina.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply jojoba oil inside and around the vaginal opening
- Wash your vaginal area and pat it dry.
- Dip 2 of your fingers into jojoba oil and apply it inside and around the walls of your vagina.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes, then wipe it off.
Use this remedy 3 times a week to get rid of atrophic vaginitis.
Method 7: Olive Oil
Olive oil is a lipid lubricant that is rich in unsaturated fatty acids that deeply hydrate the skin and repair the lining of the vaginal wall. In a clinical study performed by Australian researchers, 25 women were asked to use olive oil to cure vaginal dryness. It received a 73 percent rating for curing the dryness effectively. (6)
Single-Step Treatment: Apply olive oil inside and around your vaginal area
- Wash your vagina and pat it dry,
- Rub extra virgin olive oil in and around your vaginal area.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes, then wipe it off.
Use this remedy 3 times a week.
Method 8: Probiotic Yogurt
Yogurt is a probiotic that can help you with vaginal dryness. It is rich in lactic acid. Often, dryness in the vagina occurs due to low levels of the healthy bacteria called lactobacilli, which is abundant in probiotic yogurt.
Researchers believe that probiotics could be an effective way to maintain the bacterial environment in the vagina, which is dominated by lactobacilli. (7)
Single-Step Treatment: Dip a tampon in yogurt & insert it into your vagina
- Put 1 tablespoon of unflavored greek yogurt in a bowl and dip a fresh tampon in it.
- Insert the yogurt-covered tampon inside your vagina for 4 to 5 hours, then remove it.
Do this twice a day until your symptoms are completely gone.
Alternatively, you can simply apply yogurt inside and around the walls of your vagina directly. Also, include a bowl of fresh Greek yogurt as a part of your daily diet to get those probiotics to work from the inside.
Method 9: Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera is known to have water nutrients and vitamins A, C and E. It is known for its multiple skin applications, due to its hydrating properties.
Aloe vera can hydrate the lining of your vagina and reduce the itchiness and dryness by encouraging production of natural lubricants. It is also an antibiotic and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply fresh aloe vera gel in and around the vagina
- Extract fresh aloe vera gel and apply it inside and around your vagina.
Do this twice a day until you see the symptoms fade away.
Also, drink a glass of fresh aloe vera juice every day to help heal the problem from within.
Method 10: Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil is used to moisturize dry skin and restore its elasticity. It acts as a natural lubricant and moisturizer. It is a very good topical antioxidant and helps soothe the irritation and itching caused by the vaginal dryness. (8)
Single-Step Treatment: Apply vitamin E oil in and around your vagina
- Puncture 4 or 5 capsules of vitamin E oil and apply the oil on the vaginal opening, labia and the inside of your vagina.
Tips for managing vaginal dryness
- If you experience irritation or burning sensations after using any remedy, wash off your vagina and consult your doctor.
- Use water-based, glycerin-free lubricants to help reduce discomfort during sex.
- Practice vaginal hygiene by cleaning your vagina using a washcloth and mild soap.
- Do not use harsh products that claim to cure vaginal dryness, as they can disturb the pH balance of the vagina.
- These remedies can also be used to treat vaginal odor.
- Bachmann G, Santen RJ. Treatment of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vulvovaginal atrophy). UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-genitourinary-syndrome-of-menopause-vulvovaginal-atrophy. Published December 2018.
- Patterson J, Millheiser L, Krychman ML. Moisturizers, Lubricants, and Vulvar Hygiene Products: Issues, Answers, and Clinical Implications. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11930-016-0091-0. Published November 3, 2016.
- Felix TC, de DV, Dos R. Alternative and complementary therapies for vulvovaginal candidiasis. Folia Microbiologica. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30269301. Published September 30, 2018.
- Labrie F, Archer DF, Koltun W, et al. Efficacy of intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on moderate to severe dyspareunia and vaginal dryness, symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy, and the genitourinary syndrome of menopause. Menopause. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26731686. Published March 2016.
- De F, Schmidt M, Vu B, Essmann M, Larsen B. Antifungal mechanisms supporting boric acid therapy of Candida vaginitis. The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19059942. Published February 2009.
- Juraskova I, Jarvis S, Mok K, et al. The acceptability, feasibility, and efficacy (phase I/II study) of the OVERcome (Olive Oil, Vaginal Exercise, and MoisturizeR) intervention to improve dyspareunia and alleviate sexual problems in women with breast cancer. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23635341. Published October 2013.
- Capobianco G, Wenger JM, Meloni GB, Dessole M, Cherchi PL, Dessole S. Triple therapy with Lactobacilli acidophili, estriol plus pelvic floor rehabilitation for symptoms of urogenital aging in postmenopausal women. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00404-013-3030-6. Published September 22, 2013.
- Aazam, Golmakani, Nahid, et al. Comparing Two Treatment Methods of Vitamin E Suppository and Conjugated Estrogen Vaginal Cream on the Quality of Life in Menopausal Women with Vaginal Atrophy. Journal of Midwifery and Reproductive Health. http://jmrh.mums.ac.ir/article_3246.html. Published October 1, 2014.