Sometimes you can feel itchy or sore in your private area. Even your sex life can get affected due to the pain or discomfort down there. You might even feel a burning sensation while urinating. These are all signs of vaginal dryness, which can affect any woman irrespective of their age. Young or not, you can prevent vaginal dryness to a great extent if you keep your private area moisturised.
Vaginal dryness is a condition where vaginal tissues do not produce enough moisture and causes dryness, which can lead to pain, itching and discomfort during sex, says Dr Shobha Gupta, Medical Director, Gynaecologist and IVF Specialist, Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, New Delhi and Vrindavan.
Causes of vaginal dryness
There are several reasons for vaginal dryness, and each has a unique affect on the body’s natural lubrication. Here are some causes of vaginal dryness:
The decline in oestrogen levels during menopause is one of the main causes, the expert tells Health Shots. The flexibility and thickness of the vaginal tissues are preserved by oestrogen. The vaginal lining may grow thinner and produce less moisture when the levels drop.
Breastfeeding itself comes with a lots of challenges. You need to be aware of the right breastfeeding position and know if you are producing enough milk. They also have to deal with vaginal dryness, as low oestrogen levels are common in nursing moms. And that can cause dry vagina.
As a side effect, various medicines, including antidepressants, antihistamines and some allergy shots may lower vaginal lubrication.
4. Stress and anxiety
Stress is mostly bad for your health. If you are stressed or experience emotional anxiousness, it can affect vaginal moisture by interfering with the body’s normal hormonal balance.
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5. Cancer therapy
The cancer therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation can cause damage to the vaginal tissues, which can cause discomfort and dryness.
6. Harsh soaps and douching
Harsh soaps and vaginal douching, along with other hygiene products, can upset the vagina’s natural pH balance and result in dryness, says Dr Gupta.
Ways to moisturise private area to prevent vaginal dryness
To avoid dry skin, we apply creams or lotions. But doing that down there can cause an infection. Here is what to do:
1. Use water-based lubricants
During sex, water-based lubricants can offer moisture and reduce friction. Condoms and sex toys can be used with them without risk. Since they won’t damage latex condoms like oil-based lubricants do, they are a great option for avoiding irritation and dryness during sex.
2. Keep yourself hydrated
Drinking sufficient water keeps your body hydrated overall, which includes the tissues in your vagina. Maintaining adequate hydration stimulates moisture in the vaginal region and promotes the body’s natural lubrication mechanism. To be properly hydrated, try to consume at least eight glasses of water each day.
3. Use gentle, fragrance-free soaps
Strong soaps and perfumes can upset the vagina’s natural pH balance, causing dryness and discomfort. Select gentle, fragrance-free soaps made especially for delicate skin or personal hygiene. These soaps are less likely to irritate skin and are gentler.
4. Address stress
Prolonged stress can affect hormone levels and throw off the body’s natural moisture balance, which can cause dry vagina. Engage in stress-relieving activities to enhance relaxation and general well-being such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises or pastimes.
Vaginal moisturisers for vaginal dryness
When used as prescribed, vaginal moisturisers and gels can be a safe and useful tool for treating vaginal dryness, says Dr Gupta. Here is what to look for when purchasing gels and moisturisers for the vagina:
1. Water-based formulas
Water-based products are safer to use with latex condoms and sex toys and are less likely to irritate skin. Water-based moisturisers are often well-tolerated and imitate the body’s natural lubrication.
2. Non-allergenic and fragrance-free
Select items free of colours, perfumes and other potentially irritating ingredients. Fragrances and dyes have the potential to irritate the vagina’s natural pH balance, causing discomfort and irritation.
Seek for products that are especially made to balance the acidic (around 3.5 to 4.5) pH in the vagina. For the well-being of the vagina, the natural pH balance must be maintained. pH-balanced moisturisers helps in preserving the vagina’s natural environment.
Managing the underlying cause is often necessary while dealing with vaginal dryness. So, speak with a doctor to pinpoint the precise cause first.