Q: What are remedies for vaginal dryness? – L. V.
A: Vaginal dryness is usually due to a decrease in the hormone estrogen. There are over-the-counter products you can purchase to help treat your dryness. Talk to your doctor about these products:
- Lubricants (Astroglide, others). Water-based lubricants can keep your vagina lubricated for several hours. Choose products that don’t contain glycerin. You apply the lubricant to your vaginal opening or to your partner’s penis before intercourse.
- Moisturizers (Lubrin, Replens, others).These products imitate normal vaginal moisture and relieve dryness for up to three days with a single application. Use these as ongoing protection from the irritation of vaginal dryness.
- Vitamin E suppositories. These work by stimulating the normal mucosa of the vagina and vulva, increasing protective moisture and decreasing the risk for infection. Vitamin E suppositories are safe. They are sold over-the-counter in many health-food stores and online.
- Black cohosh/wild yam suppositories. This type of combination product contains no actual hormones. However, the herb black cohosh has active constituents that may have mild estrogen-like effects on your tissues…while wild yam may have progesterone-like and estrogen-like effects. Both ingredients help improve vaginal lubrication and support the health of vaginal tissues.
- Fennel Seed, Anise, and Parsley. These common herbs not only enhance the flavor of food, but they help build up more lubrication around vaginal walls.
If you are not lacking in estrogen, then you may need your partner to perform more foreplay so that you are adequately aroused and lubricated before intercourse.
Before using complementary or alternative treatments, such as vitamin therapies or products containing estrogen, talk to your doctor about the product’s safety and effectiveness.