Dry vagina is a common but bothersome condition that can be easily relieved with a simple water-based moisturiser. It may be embarrassing, but vaginal dryness is one of the top three perimenopause symptoms.
We should talk about this complaint in an open, no-nonsense way - because the fact is that it’s an easy problem to solve. And best of all, in most cases there’s no need to go anywhere near a doctor.
Dry vagina occurs because as we get older and the hormone changes of menopause kick in, our natural moisturising capacity slows down. Let’s face it, we’ve been moisturising our skin for years, so now with the onset of menopause it’s time to think about moisturising down below too.
Remedies for dry vagina - read more
Many women are concerned about dry vagina because it may cause uncomfortable or painful sex. And sometimes just knowing that things are “drying up” down below, can have an effect on how we feel about ourselves as women, and consequently on our libido and enjoyment of sex after menopause.
This means that vaginal dryness is an important condition that should be taken seriously and treated properly – without embarrassment.
A simple lubricating cream or gel can be the solution to this condition. There are plenty on the market and it’s worth trying some to see which suits you best. Some products are general moisturisers that can help maintain a healthy vagina, if used regularly. Others can be used as necessary to reduce discomfort and pain during intercourse.
Scientific evidence has shown that a water-based product – such as Replens – can be very effective in keeping your vagina healthy. It may even help slow down the effects of aging on the vaginal tissue. But unfortunately it’s the hormone treatments that have received all the limelight, while the effectiveness of the humble, water-based gel has been overlooked.
This is a good example of how preconceptions can alter our thinking and create false assumptions. I took a detailed look at the published scientific studies and found that doctors’ guidelines put all the focus on hormone creams while overlooking the effectiveness of water-based gels. I’ve spent a lot of time during my career as a physician looking at scientific evidence, so I’ve learnt to tell a good scientific study from a bad one. You can read my letter to the medical journal “Climacteric” about this here.
These days most women prefer to treat their bodies with the least toxic products possible. We prefer to start with the natural remedies and then progress onto more complex products if the simple solutions don’t work.
For dry vagina problems alone, many women will not need to go anywhere near a hormone cream, much less a systemic treatment such as hormone pills or patches (HRT). Hormone treatments are effective, but why take a juggernaut down to the corner shop, when you can walk there in five minutes?
Simple, moisturising, water-based products such as Replens, relieve vaginal dryness effectively for many women going through perimenopause.
Replens is nearly 80% purified water - according to the manufacturers’ description, the only active ingredient is water. An inert, acidic polymer called "polycarbophil" clings to the vaginal wall holding the gel in place and delivering the water to where it's needed - the vaginal lining. The gel also contains: Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Palm Oil Glyceride, Carbomer Homopolymer Type B, Sorbic Acid and Sodium Hydroxide. But it contains no animal derivatives (1)
Scientific studies show that Replens treats vaginal dryness effectively, keeping women comfortable and able to enjoy a normal sex life (2,3). And there are other similar water-based products on the market that are excellent natural remedies for bothersome menopause dry vagina.
Published March 8th 2011. New version published July 28th 2012
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HEALTH ON THE NET
"What's Up Down There?"
Frank, funny and informative -written by a woman gynaecologist, Dr Lissa Rankin. Like having a chat with your best friend, this book is a must for women wanting to really understand - what's up down there!