Another day, another health talk. Vagina dryness among Nigerian females is a natural occurrence, and no, it should not be normal. Vagina dryness or vagina atrophy occurs when the tissues of the vagina are not properly lubricated. This is the simple definition.
A more detailed explanation of how vagina dryness happens:
A thin layer of moisture lines the vagina walls. The moisture provides a good environment for sperm to pass through and survive in during sex. The moisture also lubricates the vaginal wall and reduces friction during sexual intercourse. As you get older as a woman, the vagina walls begin to get thin. Thin vagina walls mean fewer cells to keep the vagina moisturized. This will lead to vagina dryness.
Causes Of Vagina Dryness
Hormonal change is the major cause of vagina dryness but not the only cause:
- Excessive levels of stress
- Rigorous exercise
- Some cancer treatments like chemotherapy
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
- Some immune system disorders
- Douching, steaming
- Some drugs can also cause dryness
- Not enough foreplay during sex
Symptoms Of Vagina Dryness
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Light bleeding after sex
- Urinary tract infection that doesn’t go away or that keeps recurring
- Vagina itching
- Vagina stinging
Note: As a Nigerian Female, if you have vagina dryness, don’t be ashamed to discuss it with your partner. It makes no sense for him to keep penetrating while you are in pain.
Home Remedies For Vagina Dryness
1. Incorporate New Vitamins Into Your Diet
Any food you eat that makes your mouth, and eyes dry will most likely make your vagina dry. What you eat affects how your body works, that is why it is advisable to eat a balanced diet. You should eat the following more often:
- Sweet potatoes: it also helps with infertility. Start your day with sweet potato to get a good dose of Vitamin A.
- Apples help to increase and improve vagina blood flow. It also promotes lubrication, sexual function, and the ability to orgasm
- Omega-3 fatty acids: you can get this from oily fish (like salmon), eggs, and walnut. It also helps to reduce severe menstrual cramps
- Avocados: it will enhance lubrication and strengthen your vagina walls. It is also a libido booster.
- Leafy greens: vegetables like ugwu (pumpkin leaves), and bitter leaf helps with blood purification and circulation. It also enhances circulation around the vagina which will help to boost lubrication.
2. Over-the-counter Lubricants
There are a lot of lubricants that can be applied to the vagina to increase moisture and reduce discomfort. Choose a lubricant that is specifically for the vagina, it should also be water-based. Lubricants change the pH of the vagina which reduces the possibility of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI). The lubricant should not contain:
- Perfume scents
- Herbal extracts
- Artificial colors
If it contains any of those things, it will irritate.
Using petroleum jelly and mineral oil as lubricants can destroy condoms and any other birth control object like a diaphragm.
3. New Approach To Sex
Sexual activities help to reduce vagina dryness. It gives the body enough chance to produce natural lubricants. When you start to have sex, take it slow. This helps the glands that produce lubricant to have enough time. You can also increase foreplay before sex. So do more things like mutual masturbation, receive more oral sex, or just simple touching can do the trick.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking reduces estrogen levels. It is decreased estrogen levels that trigger vagina dryness. Apart from smoking not being good for your vagina, it also destroys the lungs. Quit smoking if you are a smoker.
5. Take Enough Water
Always keep yourself hydrated. Alcohol will cause dehydration, avoid it. Take water, fruits with high water concentration like cucumber and watermelon. Use only water-based products for your vagina.
Regular exercise helps with blood flow and circulation. You can do Kegel Exercises to help keep your pelvic floor in good shape and strengthen it. It also improves blood flow to your vagina tissues which increases lubrication and moisture.
7. Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy is a medical means of replacing estrogen. It is best to consult your doctor before trying it out. But, it has some side effects like:
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
- Breast tenderness
- Spotting on the skin
- Increased risk of cancer, ovarian cancer and cysts, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer
How To Prevent Vagina Dryness
- Don’t use perfumed products or deodorants around your vagina. Except it smells like fish, there is no problem with what your vagina smells like. It is supposed to smell.
- Use lubricant during sex
- Before sex, engage in foreplay so that your body can produce enough natural lubricant
- Avoid using any condom that contains nonoxynol-9 or N-9. They have a chemical that can cause vagina dryness.
Note: age or hormones can cause vagina dryness and it is not preventable. It can only be managed.
When To See A Doctor
Vaginal dryness doesn’t really indicate a serious medical condition. But seek help if the discomfort lasts beyond a few days or if you experience discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse. If left untreated, vaginal dryness can cause sores or cracking, or tears around the vagina walls.
If the condition is accompanied by severe vaginal bleeding, seek immediate medical attention.
During an inspection, your doctor may examine the vaginal walls to look for cuts, injuries, or feel for thinning skin. They may also take a sample of vaginal discharge to test for the presence of harmful bacteria.
Don’t feel bothered by any of the activities because it is for your own good.
Vagina dryness can make you lose interest in sex because, at that point, sex becomes painful. It can also reduce your libido. It is caused by a lot of factors. While some of the factors can be prevented, others like age and hormonal changes as a result of menopause cannot be prevented. If you have vagina dryness, don’t stress too much over it because stress can also trigger it.