Sometimes you may feel itching or pain in your private area. Even your sex life can be affected by the pain or discomfort down there. You may even experience a burning sensation while urinating. These are all signs of vaginal dryness, which can affect any woman, regardless of age. Young or not, you can prevent vaginal dryness to a large extent if you keep your private area moisturized.
Vaginal dryness is a condition in which the vaginal tissue does not produce enough moisture and causes dryness, which can lead to pain, itching and discomfort during sex, says Dr Shobha Gupta, medical director, gynecologist 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 effect on the body’s natural lubrication. Here are some causes of vaginal dryness:
The drop in estrogen levels during menopause is one of the main causes, the expert tells Health Shots. The flexibility and thickness of the vaginal tissue are maintained by estrogen. The vaginal lining may thin and produce less fluid as levels drop.
Breastfeeding itself comes with many challenges. You need to be aware of the correct breastfeeding position and know whether you are producing enough milk. They also deal with vaginal dryness, as low estrogen levels are common in breastfeeding mothers. And that can cause a dry vagina.
As a side effect, several medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and some allergy shots, can decrease vaginal lubrication.
4. Stress and anxiety
Stress is especially bad for your health. If you are stressed or experiencing emotional anxiety, it can affect vaginal fluid by disrupting 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 tissue, which can cause discomfort and dryness.
6. Harsh soaps and showering
Harsh soaps and vaginal douching, along with other hygiene products, can disrupt the vagina’s natural pH balance and lead to dryness, says Dr. Gupta.
Ways to moisturize the private area to prevent vaginal dryness
To prevent dry skin, we apply creams or lotions. But if you do that down there, it could cause an infection. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Use water-based lubricants
During sex, water-based lubricants can provide moisture and reduce friction. Condoms and sex toys can be used with it without risk. Because they don’t damage latex condoms like oil-based lubricants do, they’re an excellent option for preventing irritation and dryness during sex.
2. Keep yourself hydrated
Drinking enough water will keep your body hydrated overall, including the tissues in your vagina. Maintaining adequate hydration encourages moisture in the vaginal area and promotes the body’s natural lubrication mechanism. To stay well hydrated, try to consume at least eight glasses of water every day.
3. Use gentle, fragrance-free soap
Strong soaps and perfumes can disrupt the vagina’s natural pH balance, causing dryness and discomfort. Choose gentle, fragrance-free soaps made especially for sensitive skin or personal hygiene. These soaps irritate the skin less quickly and are softer.
4. Deal with stress
Prolonged stress can affect hormone levels and disrupt the body’s natural fluid balance, which can cause vaginal dryness. Engage in stress-relieving activities to improve relaxation and overall well-being, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or pastimes.
Vaginal moisturizers for vaginal dryness
When used as directed, vaginal moisturizers and gels can be a safe and useful tool for treating vaginal dryness, says Dr. Gupta. Here’s what to look for when buying gels and moisturizers 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 the skin. Water-based moisturizers are often well tolerated and mimic the body’s natural lubrication.
2. Non-allergenic and fragrance-free
Select items that are free of dyes, perfumes and other potentially irritating ingredients. Fragrances and dyes can irritate the natural pH balance of the vagina, causing discomfort and irritation.
3. pH balanced
Look for products specifically made to balance the acidic (about 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 moisturizers help maintain the natural environment of the vagina.
Controlling the underlying cause is often necessary when it comes to vaginal dryness. So talk to a doctor first to determine the exact cause.