Being a woman can feel like you’re expected to maintain a youthful, dewy glow at all times and in all places. But 25% of women experience problems with vaginal dryness during sex, and 16% experience vaginal pain. And 50% of women over the age of 50 experience some form of vaginal dryness. (2) What we’re trying to say is, if your vagina is feeling anything less than great, you’re not the only one.
We’re here to help dismantle some stigmas and help you get back to feeling your best.
Understanding Vaginal Dryness
What is vaginal dryness, exactly?
In a word, uncomfortable. But it isn’t uncommon.
Typically, the vagina is self-lubricating (and also self-cleaning). Your cervical gland is responsible for maintaining that moisture and cleanliness.
But when your estrogen levels go wonky, or you’re stressed, or even prescribed certain medications, that can throw quite the wrench into the works.
Numbers vary, but if you’re between the ages of 40 and 45, you have a 20% chance of experiencing vaginal dryness. (3) And if you’re in your late 30s, the most likely cause of vaginal dryness and irritation is the drop in hormones. (2)
Moreover, around 17% of women between the ages of 18 and 50 report issues with vaginal itching and dryness even before menopausal changes occur. (4)
Feeling less alone yet?
And while medications for vaginal dryness do exist, there are a wide variety of natural (read: non-medical) treatments you can try at home first to feel more, well, like yourself.
If you’re curious, you’ll want to keep going.
Benefits of Natural Remedies
Promoting Overall Vaginal Health and Well-Being
Here’s a not-so-fun fact: of the millions of women suffering from vaginal dryness or atrophy, only 7% are being treated with prescription therapies that can improve the symptoms quickly.
What does this mean?
Well, it doesn’t mean that prescription medications or therapies are dangerous. It means that lots of women have chosen to live in discomfort instead of speak up to their doctor.
But there’s no shaming in our game.
So if you’re not quite comfortable talking to your doctor (or not quite comfortable in general) we’ve prepared a list of the ten best natural remedies for vaginal dryness – no doctor’s visit needed.
10 Best Vaginal Dryness Natural Remedies
Remedy 1: Hydration and Water Intake
Let’s start with the basics: water. Staying hydrated is never a bad idea.
Unsurprisingly, chronic dehydration is one of the contributing causes of vaginal dryness, so keeping an eye on your H2O intake can be the first best step to healing.
A large bottle that holds a day’s worth of water is good to keep by your side, since you don’t have to remember how many glasses you’ve had.
And if you’re wondering just how much that is, use this nifty calculation: drink half an ounce to one ounce of water for every pound you weigh, more if you’re exercising or sweating. (7)
Already have the whole water thing down? A natural lubricant or moisturizer might be a great next step.
Remedy 2: Aloe Vera Gel
Lubricants reduce friction. Moisturizers heal dryness. Dryness + friction = not fun.
When you’re dealing with vaginal dryness, or its more advanced cousin, vaginal atrophy, you want as little friction going on as possible.
Before we get into it, a quick vocab lesson on moisturizers vs lube.
Moisturizers are different from lubricants in the way they’re applied (multiple times a week vs just before sex) and absorbed (over longer-term use vs one-time use).
More simply, a moisturizer is something you can use every day on your own, and a lubricant is something you’ll want to use before engaging with a partner – or having some fun on your own!
Aloe vera gel is definitely on the moisturizer side. It encourages collagen synthesis, which is excellent for skin healing and renewal. (9)
It also isn’t for everyone, as aloe vera sensitivities have been reported.
Don’t fret – you have options! Oils are a great alternative.
Remedy 3: Vitamin E Oil
Oils are fun, because they straddle the line between moisturizer and lubricant.
See what we did there?
Meaning, you can use them as a daily moisturizer and when it’s time to get down.
And vitamin E oil is great for the skin. It’s nutrient-dense, with antioxidant properties and blood vessel support, which is especially helpful when applied to a vessel-dense area like the skin of the vulva and vagina. (9)
Oils can also be messy, so you may want to choose oil capsules that can be popped open and applied exactly where you want them to go.
A note: if you do choose to use vitamin E oil as a lubricant, know that oils can and do break down latex condoms.
Remedy 4: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil feels like it’s everywhere lately, and for good reason.
Coconut oil is rich in caprilyc and lauric acids, both fatty acids. (9) Like vitamin E oil, it can be used as both a moisturizer and a lubricant.
It helps restore the body’s natural levels of hydration, alongside its antioxidant properties.
A note: if you do choose to use coconut oil as a lubricant, know that oils can and do break down latex condoms.
Remedy 5: Hyaluronic Acid
If you’re a skincare-savvy, no doubt you’ve heard of hyaluronic acid.
It’s renowned for its plumping properties, and skincare companies often use it as an ingredient in their priciest serums.
And if you haven’t heard of it, don’t freak out! The word “acid” does not mean you’re going to burn yourself. It’s a gentle hydrator.
Thankfully, companies like The Ordinary offer excellent products at sane prices, so you can test out HA on your VJ without breaking the bank.
Bonus points if you combine your vitamin E oil with some hyaluronic acid for a super-moisturizer.
Remedy 6: Flaxseed
Ever use flaxseed as an egg replacer in baking?
When blended and soaked, flaxseed makes a suitably goopy substitute.
That’s not so different from what happens when you add flaxseeds to your diet. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids (we’ll talk more about that in a bit) and enhance lubrication.
There’s also information to suggest that they help regulate estrogen levels in the body. Similar to carrots, they can gather and remove excess estrogen from the body. (9)
Remedy 7: Teas and Tea Blends
Aside from topical treatments, teas can be very powerful healing tonics for you and your body.
A short list of the heavy hitters:
Slippery Elm Tea
Like the name says, slippery elm tea can have a similar effect on your mucosal tissues, of which there are many in the vagina.
A top tea for menopause support, chasteberry tea helps stimulate and regulate estrogen production in the body.
Containing compounds that can lower blood sugar levels, balance your hormones, and strengthen uterine walls, burdock root tea is a great choice. (11)
If you’re thinking, “why not combine these positive effects by making a tea blend?”, smart cookie! At the same time, you do want to consider potential interactions and sensitivities.
We recommend purchasing a pre-mixed tea blend to support your health, or consulting with a holistic healer to learn more.
Remedy 8: Pelvic Floor Exercises
Kegels, the gold standard of pelvic floor exercises, are repeatedly recommended for a variety of physical symptoms, ranging from urinary incontinence to vaginal dryness.
The thinking being, exercising and toning the muscles of the pelvic floor can strengthen the mind-body connection while strengthening the muscles responsible that hold everything together.
And not to be alarmists, but Kegels can also help with pelvic organ prolapse, which is when an organ slips out of place due to a weakened pelvic floor.
Remedy 9: Stress Reduction Techniques
Meditation might not be for everyone, but any way you can reduce stress in your day-to-day life is worth considering.
In fact, you can combine one or several of the previous natural remedies with a self-care routine to soothe and center yourself. Dealing with vaginal dryness or vaginal atrophy can be super stressful, and the self-stigma that goes along with it is real.
Ultimately, your quality of life is important, and you deserve the best care you can give yourself.
Remedy 10: Vaginal Suppositories
We’ve saved the best for last: vaginal suppositories.
You can lower that eyebrow – vaginal suppositories are totally a thing, and have been for a while!
They’re a great method to bring treatment directly into the body in a clean, safe, and effective way.
And while other treatments on this list are moisturizers, lubricants, or stress reducers, Hello Again’s moisturizing THC and CBD suppositories are all three and then some.
Suppositories take 15-30 minutes to dissolve, entering the bloodstream directly while taking localized action where they’re applied. Amazingly, the female reproductive system is full of cannabinoid receptors (a special system that absorbs and interacts compounds in THC and CBD) so they’re absorbed slowly and gently. (10)
So, if you’re looking for a one-two-three punch to address your vaginal dryness, consider a solution designed with your vagina in mind.
Precautions and Considerations
Potential Allergic Reactions or Sensitivities
One size most certainly does not fit all, especially when it comes to treating vaginal dryness.
Every body is different, and every body has different sensitivities. If you experience any increase in discomfort, or feel any worse in any way, stop whichever remedy you’re using and consult your doctor.
Something to keep in mind: if it irritates your face, it will most certainly irritate your bits.
Being Mindful of Individual Results and Preferences
Hey, we aren’t doctors. We’re women.
We just want to give you the rundown of the best natural options to try.
Of course, not every case of vaginal dryness can be solved with natural remedies, and that’s ok! There are many treatment options out there for you, from hormone replacement therapy to medical-grade products.
Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor, if you need to.
Lifestyle Factors to Support Vaginal Health
Importance of a Balanced Diet
In the same way that staying hydrated is a bit of a no-brainer, maintaining a balanced diet is always a great idea.
There are compounds and food sources that have shown positive effects with regards to vaginal dryness and atrophy, and we’ve listed the best of them for you below.
- Omega-3s are found in sesame and sunflower seeds, fish like salmon and tuna, and may help produce additional vaginal lubrication while reducing dryness.
- Isoflavones are found in soy-rich foods like soybeans and tofu, or chickpeas and fava beans, and can help with vaginal dryness during estrogen decline.
- Vitamins A, B, & E are found in veggies, nuts, and seeds, and all help with vaginal lubrication.
Regular Sexual Activity and Arousal
We’d be wrong if we ended this article without mentioning one more natural remedy for vaginal dryness, and that’s plain old sex.
Every resource we consulted while writing this repeated the same thing: don’t write off your sex life just because you’re experiencing vaginal dryness! (2,5,8)
The whole “use it or lose it” adage applies – without regular sexual intercourse, the vagina can become shorter, narrower, and less elastic, which can exacerbate pre-existing symptoms.
With the right lubricant, regular sex can certainly aid in maintaining your vaginal health.
If you’re going through menopause, experiencing vaginal dryness, or just curious about to help take better care of your vaginal health, you’re not alone.
Natural remedies can be a powerful tool. They can strengthen your relationship to your own body, give you solutions to certain problems, and even lead you to new communities of support.
It’s our hope that you feel empowered to check in with yourself and try something new – after all, you deserve it.