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Vaginal Dryness: Menopause Symptoms No One Is Talking About

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Postmenopausal vaginal dryness is incredibly common. We’re just not talking about it.

Roughly 50 to 70% of post-menopausal women deal with vaginal dryness. But only 20% of postmenopausal women seek treatment. Vaginal dryness can range from mild to severe, but if left untreated vaginal dryness can worsen over time.

It can be so severe that simply walking is painful. And, for some women, they feel it marks the untimely death of their sex life. Often, when it comes to health conditions that affect our sex life, before even seeking treatment people have to navigate stigma and internalized shame.

But, you should know, there are roughly 32 million postmenopausal women that are in the exact same situation right now. This is a very common problem that occurs as we age. So, let’s talk about it.

In this article, we discuss why vaginal dryness happens, and what you can do to combat it.  

What causes vaginal dryness?

Before menopause, estrogen is consistently created by your ovaries. This hormone has many mighty functions, including keeping the vaginal tissue elastic and moist. Estrogen drives secretions of vaginal fluid and cervical mucus.

These vaginal fluids help to keep the tissues plump, moist, and elastic. When estrogen levels dip, the body might slow its production of this clear fluid.

Without sufficient enough vaginal fluids, the tissues of the vagina can become dry. If this becomes a chronic issue, you might experience the following vaginal dryness symptoms:

  • Soreness
  • Burning
  • Itching  
  • Stinging
  • Painful intercourse
  • Light bleeding after intercourse
  • Frequent urinary tract infections

Over time, the lack of vaginal moisture can cause the vaginal tissue to become thinner, drier, and less elastic. And as you might imagine, it’s uncomfortable.

Lack of estrogen can affect vaginal pH

That clear vaginal fluid also helps keep the peace within the delicate vaginal system. This fluid is slightly acidic which helps to kill “bad bacteria” and creates an environment for “good bacteria” to thrive.

Menopause has been found to affect the pH level of the vagina. Having a higher than normal vaginal pH offers an environment for bad bacteria to grow. This change in pH opens up the door to possible infection and further vaginal irritation.

Sex and vaginal dryness

For many women, this is the elephant in the room. Vaginal dryness can pose some major challenges when it comes to sex. After menopause, because of low levels of estrogen, there is reduced blood flow to the vulva, clitoris, and vagina. As a result, natural arousal lubrication can become sparse. A lack of vaginal lubrication and vaginal blood flow may cause sex to feel unenjoyable, and at times painful.

Vaginal dryness is among the first postmenopausal symptoms women notice. In another article, we go into depth about post-menopausal arousal challenges and how you can aid the process.

Are there treatments for vaginal dryness?

Yes, there are a few different treatments for vaginal dryness. While the root cause is often low estrogen, there are ways to combat and correct this. You can go the non-hormonal route, the all-natural route, the lubrication route, or the localized hormonal route.

No one path is better than the other, as this is not a one size fits all situation. When it comes to vaginal dryness treatment it’s best to consider whether or not you’d like to try localized hormonal products or non-hormonal products.

Here are a few treatment options for vaginal dryness

Topical vasodilators are a non-hormonal treatment that can help enhance blood flow to the vulva. This increase in blood flow can help with the creation of natural vaginal lubrication.

These are commonly called O Creams or Scream Creams and they aid in helping you create natural arousal lubrication. They might also help you achieve that “O” moment by increasing sensitivity.

For easy and natural vulva moisturization, coconut oil can be used to soothe areas of vulvic dryness and irritation. This plant oil is OB/GYN approved.

Localized hormonal treatments like VagiFem, are low-dose hormonal treatments that are inserted into the vagina. This is not the same as taking hormone replacement by mouth or topically, however, increasing localized estrogen in the vaginal area can help soothe vaginal dryness symptoms.

For a full list of vaginal dryness treatments, refer to our in-depth article about treatment options.

Don’t ignore your symptoms - you deserve relief

While some people aren’t talking about vaginal dryness -- some are making it a point to! Throughout the popular Netflix show Grace & Frankie, the 70-something main characters talk openly about vaginal dryness and sex, after menopause. (Frankie even makes her own yam-based vaginal dryness treatment.)

These ladies speak frankly about vaginal dryness, and it's about time we do too!

As the longest-running Netflix series, this long-overdue frankness undoubtedly resonates with millions of viewers.

The show is on a mission to destigmatize sex later in life and empower women of all ages. Grace & Frankie co-creator Marta Kauffman says “We can have sex when we’re older, and we’re going to find a way to make it beautiful and lovely and important. And it’s just as important for us as it is for a 20-year-old, if not more so, because it’s about intimacy. "

If you deal with vaginal dryness, you are not alone. Don’t ignore your menopause symptoms. There are many ways you can ease vaginal dryness. Talk openly with your doctor about hormonal and non-hormonal treatments. Take a leaf out of Grace & Frankie’s book: don’t push it under the rug anymore.

Strut Health offers prescription blood flow enhancing O Cream

Postmenopausal women have reviewed our O Cream and raved that it helped them with their vaginal dryness. Now, they are able to enjoy intimate moments again thanks to our physician formulated blood flow enhancing O cream.

Learn more: Strut O Cream

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If you want to try our O Cream, simply complete a questionnaire-based online doctor's consultation. If our doctors find this product is a good fit for you, we’ll ship your discreetly packaged prescription right to your doorstep.

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