Atrophic Vaginitis is often a menopause symptom. The wall of the vagina become dry, thinner and inflamed; this is caused by less estrogen in the body. It can also happen when a woman breast-feeds or after chemotherapy or pelvic radiation. Intercourse becomes painful or impossible. Nearly half of menopausal women have a problem with this, but few seek medical treatment. Symptoms include vaginal burning or dryness, urination problems or infections, vaginal infections and problems during intercourse. Women are more at risk of having this problem if they smoke, have never had a vaginal birth and are celibate. Treatments: Eliminate possible causes such as diabetes. Then try a vaginal moisturizer or water-based lubricant; topical or oral estrogen; estrogen pills, patches or an estrogen ring inserted into the vagina.
Treatment for Vaginal Dryness
Coconut oil, olive oil or Vitamin E oil used as a lubricant; douching with bicarbonate of soda. Calendula and Vitamin A vaginal suppositories; eat foods with soy protein 1-2 times a day.
Any herb with phytoestrogens (NOT to be used by pregnant women or women who have had hormone-related breast cancer!): fenugreek, pueraria mirifica, fennel, black cohosh, and dong quai.
[YEA] 11/25/2012: Gr0m1t from Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia: "Douching with Bicarb of Soda may be a remedy for vaginal dryness.
I heard about someone who cured herself of cervical cancer by douching with bicarbonate of soda solution for 20 mins daily. As I was having problems getting a PAP smear because of vaginal atropy, I started douching with bi-carb. I didn't do the whole 20 mins, just douched. Within a couple of weeks, I was able to have a smear test with no problem and it continued to improve with the douching.
I am a sample of one, so there are no guarantees. Would be interested in others' experiences."
[WORKED TEMPORARILY] 02/04/2010: Magee from San Mateo, Ca, Us: "Coconut Oil helps my vaginal dryness problem. I use it as a lubricant for intercourse. It works great for that as a temporary solution. I like using it, because it's easily applied as a solid but melts with contact. Safe, odorless, nice and soft, not runny or goopy like some commercial products. Plus I know I'm not using any weird chemicals. And a small amount goes a long way. But, it doesn't provide any permanent solution in the strengthening of the skin. I wish it did. I still have problems with occasional tearing other times."Replies
[YEA] 11/16/2010: Nan from Tulsa, Ok replies: "Per Magee's recommendation, I tried the Coconut Oil for vaginal dryness problem during intercourse. It is a great relief to the increasing discomfort (pain) I was having, and my husband and I are most happy about it. Coconut Oil has a lovely fragrance and the solid does dissolve into a nice light oil which feels great on the skin especially on delicate tissue. Thank you EC for providing a great service. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
04/21/2013: Gert from Anon replies: "As a lube for sex, I take some coconut oil in a measuring spoon (maybe a 1/4 tsp measure) and put it in the fridge to get good and solid, then use it like a vaginal suppository. Easy to get far up inside, then melts and coats everything. Too much can get kind of messy on the bedding."
01/31/2010: Kerry from Portland, Oregon: "I always come to your site to find solutions to all my problems (well, health problems anyway) and was slightly disappointed that vaginal dryness was not on your list of ailments. Is there any way I can get some posts started on this topic? I know someone mentioned something on vitamin E on a different page, but wasn't sure if this is something common or just worked for her personally. thanks."Replies
02/03/2010: Susan from Dallas, Tx replies: "Try coconut oil as a lubricant. It is natural and healthy for this delicate area."
04/07/2010: Meg from Seattle, Wa replies: "Any herb with phytoestrogens could help this problem. A phytoestrogen is a plants form of estrogen, creating an estrogen-like effect in your body. Some of these plants include: fenugreek, pueraria mirifica, fennel, black cohosh, and dong quai. These herbs are also used in natural breast enhancing pills. You can get most of these at vitamin stores, and fennel you might even find in your kitchen!
*IMPORTANT* - Pregnant women should not take these, they can relax the muscles in the uterus and potentially cause a miscarriage. Some are even used to induce child birth!
I take 610mg of fennugreek three times a day in capsule form, you can also open the capsule into hot water and make tea with it! This works out great for me, it also supports the sugar metabolism, which is good for keeping your blood sugar low. Fenugreek has been used traditionally to treat diabetes, fever, coughs, congestion, high blood pressure, diarrhea, flatulence, anaemia and arthritis. It also helps to produce more breast milk in nursing mothers.
puereria mirifica (also known as white kwao krua) grows in Northern and Northeastern Thailand, it is more difficult to get a hold of than the other supplements I listed, to my knowledge it is only sold online. This plant can boost your libido, and increase vaginal wetness. Many have said that pueraria mirifica had a beneficial effect on the hair, skin and also breast increase. On a side note, the region where this plant is grown is remarkable for its low rate of breast cancer and impressive longevity.
Fennel is great for its phytoestrogens and has many other medicinal uses. Fennel also can help with: Anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, colic, menstrual disorders, and eye problems. The Anethole in fennel has repeatedly been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer. I chew on about a half a teaspoon of fennel after eating (it is great for freshening the breath) and sometimes make fennel tea at night.
I don't know much about black cohosh or dong quai other than that people take them for their estrogen-like effects.
My advice is to look into these herbs more and see which one could be right for you. There is no exact daily value or 'dosage' for herbs, so be careful and don't take too much. When in doubt, follow what is recommended on the bottle."
06/22/2010: Julia from Bryson City, Nc replies: "The only problem I have with phytoestrogens, is if you've had breast cancer, and your cancer was hormone related, estrogen will feed your cancer. So you have to be careful with these phytoestrogens as well as soy."
11/14/2011: Pahlee from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania replies: "Is vitaim e good for vaginal atrophic?"
02/02/2012: Kimberly from Fl, Usa replies: "My gynecologist suggested using Olive oil. He says it soaks into the skin and will help with intercourse. As mentioned earlier a little goes along way. I guess either oil would work."
06/27/2013: Andrea C from Cardiff, Wales replies: "Ladies, do not use Replens. That's the name for it in the UK. I do not know what name it has internationally. It contains Trans Fatty Acid evild stuff. It is commonly prescribed for vaginal dryness over here. Check out drugs.com and it should bring up the name for it in other countries. Love Andrea C"