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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari and Physician Anita Pee on June 12, 2022

What’s The Reason Behind Your Vaginal Dryness?

Vaginal dryness may be a sign that your estrogen levels are low. Learn more about your treatment options here.

Vaginal discharge is a normal part of a woman's healthy reproductive system. However, not all discharge is normal.

Vaginal dryness may occur anytime during a woman’s life, but it’s most common after menopause due to a drop in estrogen.

In addition to being painful or uncomfortable, the condition can lead to health complications, such as sexual dysfunction, low libido, or reproductive issues.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the possible causes of vaginal dryness and how what you can do to alleviate your symptoms.

What Causes Vaginal Dryness?

Vaginal dryness may occur during menopause and can accompany other symptoms, like hot flashes.

After menopause, the levels of the female hormone estrogen decrease in the blood, and this hormone is responsible for maintaining blood flow to the vagina.

As a result, blood flow to the vagina decreases, causing dryness. In younger women, birth control pills or breastfeeding cause changes in the hormonal levels and can cause the symptom.

Other medications responsible for vaginal dryness include cancer treatment, certain treatments for gynecological disorders like fibroids and endometriosis, antidepressants, and anti-allergy medicines. Women with diabetes also experience the symptoms of vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness, according to TCM

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Kidney Deficiency and Liver Qi Stagnation cause vaginal dryness.

As TCM Physician Anita Pee explains, “A weak body constitution, multiple pregnancies, strenuous activities, or overexertion deplete young women’s Kidney essence (Yin). Due to a decrease in Kidney Yin, there are insufficient fluids to nourish the body, leading to vaginal dryness. Stress and anger can cause Liver Qi Stagnation, affecting the Spleen and its production of essence and blood, leading to vaginal dryness. Liver Qi Stagnation can also cause excessive Liver Heat, which depletes the fluids in the body and causes vaginal dryness.”

Typically, the condition causes vaginal pain during sex. In some cases, it may cause pain when sitting, standing, exercising, and urinating.

Tips For Managing Vaginal Dryness

If you are suffering from this condition, do not hesitate to seek help. It is a very common problem, and various treatment options are available.

In particular, consult your doctor if you have bleeding during sex or between your periods or have unusual vaginal discharge.

Here are some of the remedies you can try: 

Use natural skin care products

Using natural skin care products without harsh chemicals can help reduce vaginal dryness.

We all love smelling nice after a shower. But strong and scented soaps and lotions can irritate the delicate lining of the vagina, causing further dryness. It is advisable to stay away from such products.

Similarly, douching is also counterproductive. Also, creams and lotions like petroleum jelly can cause infection if inserted inside the vagina. The vagina can be gently cleaned with just plain water.

Space your pregnancies farther apart

Pregnancy takes a toll on the mother’s health and nutrition. Hence you have to ensure you give your body enough time to heal and replenish before planning your next pregnancy.

Ensure a gap of at least one to two years between pregnancies and get adequate postnatal care to restore your body. Traditional remedies can help revitalize your body and regain nutrition after a pregnancy. 

Check your prescriptions

If you are on any medication, consult your doctor to check if that might be causing vaginal dryness. Your doctor may change your prescriptions and offer some vaginal lubricants. 

Topical estrogen or gels

Your doctor may prescribe topical estrogen cream if you are menopausal. In younger women, vaginal lubricant gels may help. 

Adjust your diet

A healthy diet goes a long way in maintaining body balance. Physician Anita Pee advises goji berries and lily bulbs to replenish Yin in the body, which can help reduce vaginal dryness.

A porridge made from goji berries and rice can be a nourishing and healthy meal. 

Herbal remedies

Physician Anita Pee says, “Replenishing Kidney essence, Yin and Blood in the body, and soothing Liver Qi are key to relieving vaginal dryness.”

She recommends well-known TCM formulas such as Kidney Yin Tonic (Liu Wei Di Huang Wan) and Two-Solstice Pill (Er Zhi Wan) to nourish the Kidneys and Jia Wei Xiao Yao San to clear Qi Stagnation.

If your vaginal dryness is caused by low levels of estrogen, then Menoease Pills may help. They are also suitable for alleviating other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia.

These medicines are generally safe. However, consult a TCM physician if you are pregnant, have bleeding disorders, seizures, infectious diseases, or impaired Kidney and Liver functions. 

Acupuncture and accupressure

SP 6 is located on the inner lower leg, 4-fingers-breadth above the tip of the inner ankle bone, just behind the shin bone.

TCM physicians also recommend acupuncture at specific points to boost the Kidney Yin, strengthen the Qi and Blood in the body and soothe Liver Qi

You can perform this acupressure massage at home to get relief. Massage the acupoint San yin jiao (SP6) with moderate pressure for 3-5 minutes a few times a day.

This point is situated four finger-widths above the inner ankle, behind the tibia. A massage can tonify Yin and Blood at this location and is useful for dryness and other menopausal symptoms. Do not do this massage if you are pregnant. 

Vaginal dryness is a very common problem. However, lack of awareness and social taboos cause many women to suffer in silence. Break the barriers today. Seek help from your physician and try these self-help tips. 

References

  1. EurekAlert. 2018. Vaginal problems diminish quality of life but often go unreported.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Vaginal dryness. 

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