In my clinic, I commonly help women overcome menopause and peri-menopause symptoms. A combination of healthy eating, exercise, and meditation therapy is very effective for managing hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. Bio-identical hormone therapy provides additional benefits when used properly. In my next new book, The Better Brain Solution, I offer a plan to deal with brain fog associated with menopause as well.
A common symptom that many women experience while going through peri-menopause, yet might be reluctant to discuss with their doctor, is vaginal dryness.
Women often notice, whether they are sexually active or not, that during peri-menopause and into menopause, the vagina and vulva change. For women, it’s a very natural part of aging. The vagina may get dry, start to shrink, and lose its elasticity.
This may mean painful intercourse…and even outside of intercourse, it can cause health issues and discomfort:
- Vaginal dryness, if left unchecked, can contribute to urinary tract infections
- Vaginal and vulva dryness can result in pain outside of sexual intercourse, even during your gynecological exam and/or Pap smear. I’ve had patients who have discomfort wiping due to the thinness and sensitivity of their vulva and surrounding tissue. Bike-riding, horseback riding, jogging, and even walking can be downright uncomfortable, or painful.
- Lack of sex, believe it or not, can create MORE dryness! Regular sex and vulvovaginal massage helps improve blood circulation in the vagina which helps counter dryness.
- It’s a vicious cycle. So even if you aren’t having sex you need to add moisture!
- Vaginal dryness may contribute to urinary leakage and urgency symptoms which also increased as we age.
These are issues that should be attended to regardless of whether you currently have a partner, or even if you are not planning on having another partner.
If you have symptoms related to vaginal dryness, please be sure to discuss with your physician, and educate yourself on how your hormones are going to naturally affect your feminine parts and health. Get proactive at discussing these issues with your doctor, too. This is about your happiness and longer-term health!
As you think about products that you are putting in this very sensitive area, make sure that they are not loaded with chemicals and irritants (Bubble bath! Soap! Certain OTC lubricants!)…do your homework and keep an eye out for ingredients that “touch” your sensitive lady parts. Some common lubricants contain toxins (like parabens and phthalates), so be cautious as to what you use.
I am pleased to tell you that my friend and colleague Dr. Anna Cabeca has designed a feminine restorative cream for the vulva, called Julva. It is a wonderful and safe option that addresses these issues…and much more. Plus, it has no additives, parabens or phthalates. It’s all-natural, toxin and gluten-free. Over 1000 of Dr. Cabeca’s patients have used this product with great results, learn more at Julva.com.
I wish you the best of health!
Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS