As Valentine’s Day approaches, love and sweet nothings are in the air.
Which makes it a really good time to talk about our vaginas. If you’ve noticed dryness, itching, and general irritation in your downstairs region, then you might be suffering from the very common symptom of vaginal dryness. Like many of the symptoms linked to the menopause, vaginal dryness is caused by our body’s decrease in estrogen. This can wreak a lot of havoc in our bodies, giving us those horrible symptoms like joint pain, night sweats and a foggy brain. If you suffer from vaginal dryness, here are some do’s and don’ts to help you cope.
Don’t: Bottle Things Up
One of the worst things that you can do when you’re going through the menopause is bottle up all of the negative emotions that you’re dealing with. As women, we often tend to try to brave it through difficult times and we often find it difficult to ask for help. As hard as it might be especially – dealing with a topic that holds so much stigma – try to talk to your friends and family about it. It’s much easier going through the menopause when you know you’re not the only one.
Do: Talk to a GP or Gynaecologist
If your vaginal dryness is particularly bad, or you feel like nothing you’re doing is helping, go and see a professional. Book an appointment with a GP or a gynaecologist and ask for advice. Consider looking into an estrogen gel which can relieve some of the symptoms. If you want, you can even write a list before your appointment to ensure that you arrive prepared. Remember: it’s unlikely that you’re going to get any help unless you reach out and ask for it.
Do: Use a Lube
Lubrication is essential for good sex. The trouble is that the menopause can cause the vagina to become drier and more sensitive meaning that the vagina doesn’t produce as much (or any) natural lubrication. A lubricant is often recommended as it adds extra moisture to the area. Look out for the brand new MegsMenopause oil-based and water-based lubricants launching soon!
Don’t: Grit Your Teeth and Bear It
If sex is uncomfortable, say something! With vaginal dryness, the friction during sex can cause a lot of pain and irritation. If this happens to you, communicate with your partner and find a solution together. Despite the initial awkwardness, communication is essential to any good relationship. It could be that you need more foreplay to allow for more natural lubrication before you have sex.
Don’t: Use Harsh Perfumed Soaps or Deodorants
One of the things that make our vaginas so great is that they’re actually self-cleaning. We have natural acidity levels and ‘good bacteria’ which deal with any germs and harmful bacteria inside. The discharge that we might sometimes get is the body’s natural way of flushing out the bacteria in our vagina. By using harsh soaps, we are actually harming the natural ph-balance of the vagina, and likely causing more dryness, irritation and bacteria in the long-term. Instead of harsh soaps, try using a mild and gentle soap that is specifically made for vaginal use.
Do: Use a Vaginal Moisturiser
A vaginal moisturiser is a must-have for any woman going through the menopause. Like a lubricant, a vaginal moisturiser will help bring back moisture to your vagina. This will help soothe any itching or irritation. A good moisturiser will also help maintain the natural ph-balance of your vagina, helping it stay healthy and clean.
Author: Erica Fraser