Why am I dry? Vaginal dryness explained
Vaginal dryness: causes, symptoms and how to handle it
If you mention vaginal dryness, chances are people will tell you it is just something women have to deal with as they age, often as a result of the menopause. However, this is a bit of a myth. Vaginal dryness can happen at any age, and it can cause discomfort and often pain during sex.
We turned to our friends at YES YES, the British organic intimacy company, who’ve been on a mission to make vaginas happy since 2003. It’s time to crack another vaginal myth and find out what really causes vaginal dryness and how to manage it.
What is vaginal dryness?
Vaginal dryness means your vagina being less lubricated than normal. Your vagina is naturally lubricated by fluid from the cervix (or neck of the uterus) and secretions from the Bartholin glands (two pea sized glands at the entrance to the vagina).
Symptoms of vaginal dryness can include:
- a burning sensation
- vaginal discomfort or itching
- abnormal vaginal discharge
- pain during sex or masturbation
What causes vaginal dryness?
It is more common than most people think. Around 17% of women aged 18-50 experience problems with vaginal dryness during sex, even before the menopause takes place.
Potential causes of vaginal dryness can include:
- Childbirth and breastfeeding
- Hormone treatments such as HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) or taking the pill
- Illness such as cancer and its treatments
- Medications including anti-depressants and even hay-fever remedies
- Reaction to substances such as nicotine and alcohol
- Deep emotional upsets
Luckily, there are ways to help treat vaginal dryness symptoms and to avoid it impacting your physical, mental, and sexual wellbeing.
How can I reduce my symptoms of vaginal dryness?
Try a vaginal moisturiser
Have a discussion with your health care provider to find out what the underlying cause of your vaginal dryness may be and try a vaginal moisturiser, such as YES® Vaginal Moisturiser. YES® VM is made from ethically sourced, organic ingredients. It is designed to replenish moisture and lubricate your intimate tissues.
Natural, certified organic lubricants are perfect for foreplay, masturbation and sex in general. We should all lube! YES® WB is a certified organic water-based lubricant, which is intensely hydrating. It relieves dryness and discomfort quickly, creating a silky-smooth glide.
YES® water-based lube is pH-balanced for the vagina and is made without concerning chemicals, like parabens or glycerine. It’s safe for use with natural rubber latex, and polyisoprene condoms. In a 2013 study, 9 out of 10 women agreed that lube make sex feel ‘more comfortable’, ‘more pleasurable’ and simply ‘better’.
Using lube isn’t a taboo it once was either. In a recent survey by Appinio, 33% of millennials (aged 25-34 years) said they’re using lube to look after their sexual wellbeing.
Does natural lubrication of the vagina change when I’m on my period?
Your natural lubrication levels are often lower when you have your period. Your menstrual cycle is a balance of increasing and decreasing hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. A drop in oestrogen may cause a drop in natural lubrication. This in turn may make you more prone to symptoms of vaginal dryness.
Menstrual cycle and sex drive
You sex drive is influenced by hormones that vary during your cycle. You may find that your libido tends to be at its highest midcycle, during ovulation (about 14 days before you get your period). This is when the body’s fertility peaks. So, in evolutionary terms it makes sense that this is when your body wants you to have sex. After ovulation, you may find your libido starts to decrease. Your body is starting to produce more progesterone in the lead up to your period.
However, hormones influence desire differently from person to person. Some people have a higher sex drive in the run-up to their period, whilst others experience a decrease in their libido.
Vaginal dryness – know your normal
You know what is normal for you, so if you’re experiencing anything unusual for your body, it’s best to seek medical advice, even just for reassurance. Everyone is different, so tracking your period and examining your vulva from time to time with a mirror will help you to understand what is normal for you.
If you notice an unusual discharge, vaginal swelling, bleeding after sex or in between your period, please speak to your doctor.
Vaginal dryness and the Mooncup®
If you are a tampon user, you are likely to know the uncomfortable feeling of pulling out a dry tampon. Alongside menstrual blood, tampons can also absorb up to 35% natural, vaginal moisture. The Mooncup menstrual cup is non-absorbent so it doesn’t dry you out or cause dryness when your period’s light.
Some people can find it helps to use a water-based lube when first getting used to inserting their Mooncup menstrual cup. Just add a small amount of lube to the entrance of your vagina, and then wash or wipe your hands before inserting your folded Mooncup (slippery hands can make things more difficult!). We don’t recommend using oil-based substances with the Mooncup as they can damage the material over time.
The Mooncup® respects your natural balance. Switch to a healthier period with the Mooncup®. Find out more and get yours here.
Buy your YES® water-based lube here. Enjoy free delivery when bought together with the Mooncup.
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Read more on the Mooncup blog:
Top tips for a first-time Mooncup® User
Tips on how to hack your cycle and own your period superpower
4 Perimenopausal Women Review the Mooncup®
The menopause; what to expect and how to help yourself through the transition
Perimenopausal hot flushes – how do they feel and why do we get them?
What causes spotting? Learn the signs & what is normal
What are the different types of vaginal discharge and what do they mean?
The colour of you period: what does it mean?
What are the five gynaecological cancers and their symptoms?
How to reduce period pain and cramps
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