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How to Treat Vaginal Dryness During Menopause

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 Women experience menopause at around 50 years of age, but it can also occur in your 40s. There are a variety of symptoms associated with menopause, including vaginal dryness. This dryness is due to the decrease of estrogen in your vagina.[1] You may experience dryness throughout the month and it can be an uncomfortable aspect of menopause to deal with. But you can use vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, take low dose estrogen, apply non-hormonal creams and adjust your lifestyle to address this issue.

Using Vaginal Lubricants and Moisturizers

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    Look for water-based or silicone-based lubricants. Water-based and silicone-based lubricants are good for most women as they are not as irritating to your vagina as oil-based lubricants. You should avoid oil-based lubricants if you use latex condoms as a form of birth control, as the lubricant can cause the condoms to break.[2]
    • Look for water-based lubricants at your local drugstore or online, such as Astroglide, FemGlide, Just Like Me, K-Y Jelly, Pre-Seed, Slippery Stuff, and Summer’s Eve.
    • You can also buy silicone-based lubricants, such as D Millennium, Pink, Pjur, and Pure Pleasure.
    • Vaseline jelly, mineral oil, and Elegance Woman’s lubricant are all good oil-based lubricant options. Some women may use oil-based lubricants in a pinch or if they are not able to access water-based and silicone-based lubricants. But be aware that oil-based lubricants can be irritating for some women.
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    Apply a vaginal lubricant before sexual activity. Most lubricants are made for use before any sexual activity, as vaginal dryness can make sexual activity uncomfortable and painful. You can use lubricants on a daily basis to deal with vaginal dryness but they are short-lasting so you may need to apply it several times throughout the day.[3]
    • Keep the lubricant somewhere convenient, like on your nightstand or in your bathroom drawer. To apply the lubricant, squirt a few drops onto your hands and rub them together to warm up the lubricant so it is not cold to the touch. You can then apply it in your vagina using clean fingers.
    • Another option is to warm the lubricant by placing the tube in a mug of warm water and letting it warm up. Do not let the lubricant get too hot, as you do not want to burn your skin when you apply it.
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    Use a vaginal moisturizer on a daily basis. If you looking for a daily solution to vaginal dryness, you may want to try a vaginal moisturizer. Though lubricants can help to reduce irritating friction, moisturizers will be absorbed by your vaginal tissues and mimic the natural secretions in your vagina more effectively. Moisturizer are also good for maintaining a normal pH in your vagina and prevent the development of bacterial or fungal infections.[4]
    • You can also apply vaginal moisturizer two hours before you have sexual intercourse to avoid irritating friction during sex. Warm up the moisturizer with your hands or by placing the package in warm water. Use clean fingers to carefully apply the moisturizer to your vagina.
    • Look for vaginal moisturizers such as Fresh Start, K-Y Silk-E, Moist Again, Replens, and K-Y Liquibeads.
    • You can also use a small amount of A & D ointment to help moisturize the area around your vulva.
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    Try using natural oils. Natural oils like grapeseed, olive, sweet almond, sunflower, or coconut oil can be effective for vaginal dryness. You can apply these oils directly to your vulva and vaginal area throughout the day and/or before sexual intercourse as natural lubricants.[5]
    • Put one teaspoon of the natural oil onto a piece of clean toilet paper and apply it to your vagina, or use a quarter-sized amount of oil on the palm of your hand.
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    Use Vitamin E vaginal suppositories. Vitamin E is a good option if you are trying to avoid using prescription products. You can insert Vitamin E into your vagina in the form of a suppository or by opening up a Vitamin E caplet and applying the contents onto your vulva and vagina.[6]
    • Make sure you only use naturally sourced Vitamin E products. Check the label on the product to ensure it contains only natural ingredients.

Taking Low Dose Estrogen

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    Get a prescription for low dose estrogen from your physician or gynecologist. Talk to your doctor or your gynecologist about low dose estrogen, an effective treatment that can significantly improve your vaginal dryness.[7] It can also help to restore vaginal tissue.[8]
    • Low dose estrogen is a form of hormone therapy, so you should use the lowest dose possible for the shortest time possible. Make sure you do not use estrogen right before any sexual activity as it can be absorbed by your partner.
    • Let your doctor know if you have had any hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast or ovarian cancer, as this could conflict with the estrogen. If you still have a uterus, then you may need to take progesterone as well to help prevent cancer.
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    Apply estrogen in the form of a cream or tablet. Your doctor may prescribe vaginal estrogen in the form of an estrogen cream or tablet. You can apply the cream two to three times a week, at 0.5-1.0g/dose. Common estrogen creams include Estrace cream, Neo-Estrone cream, and Premarin cream.[9]
    • Estrogen tablets can be a bit less messy than applying the creams. Using an applicator, you will insert the tablet into your vagina twice a week.
    • Though low dose estrogen can help to relieve vaginal dryness, you should still use lubricant when having sexual intercourse to avoid any irritation or friction.
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    Use an estrogen ring. Your doctor may also prescribe estrogen in the form of a low dose estrogen ring. The Estring estrogen ring is a soft, flexible ring that contains estrogen in the center. You will insert the ring into your vagina and it will release a low dose of estrogen every day for three months.[10]
    • If your vaginal dryness is severe and you are experiencing hot flashes, your doctor may prescribe a higher dose estrogen ring known as the Femring.

Making Lifestyle Changes

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    Clean your vulva with water only. Washing your vulva with soap can be irritating and drying. Stick to water only or, if you must use soap, a plant-based oil soap like glycerin soap.[11] Make sure you rinse your vulva in the shower once a day using water, washing your vulva and genital area.[12]
    • When you are wiping your vulva after using the bathroom, make sure you use white, unscented toilet paper. This will ensure your vulva is not being irritated whenever you wipe yourself.
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    Wear cotton underwear. Cotton underwear will allow your genital area to breathe, especially if you tend to sweat throughout the day or are doing strenuous activity. Avoid underwear made of synthetic material, like silk, nylon, or rayon.[13]
    • When you wash your underwear, only use detergent that has no added perfumes or dyes. You should also avoid using any additives like fabric softeners or anti-static dryer sheets.
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    Do not use deodorant sprays or douching products. Personal hygiene products like deodorant sprays for your genital area or douching products will only irritate this area further. Your vagina contains bacteria that helps to keep it clean and healthy. Using personal hygiene products will only disrupt the balance of bacteria in your vagina, an essential balance for keeping your vagina infection-free.[14]
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