I experienced this irritant and its subsequent issues over 23 years ago, I was an early menopausal victim, which came totally out of the blue. It rendered me a depressing mess during the early days, but I have had much time to look at why, how, and what to do. For the majority of the time adding a topical gel or cream is the answer to combating Vaginal Dryness
But before you reach for “best” or the “most reviewed and recommended” read this post to understand “why” and more importantly if your diagnosis is correct and or perhaps you need medical intervention.
Disclaimer I am not medically trained should you have any concerns, like burning, itching or general discomfort please speak to your physician or gynecologist.
Why is Vaginal Dryness Happening?
If you know you are pre/ menopausal then in addition to all the unpleasant side effects of menopause, Vaginal Dryness may be an additional problem you had not previously considered, you may now find yourself suffering from burning, itching, painful intercourse, or even “thrush-like” irritations. Why is this happening what can be done?
“Normally, the walls of your vagina stay lubricated with a thin layer of clear fluid. The hormone estrogen helps maintain that fluid and keeps the lining of your vagina healthy, thick, and elastic.
A drop in the hormone estrogen reduces the amount of moisture available. It can happen at any age from several causes.
It may seem like a minor irritation. But the lack of vaginal moisture can have a huge impact on your sex life. Fortunately, several treatments are available to relieve vaginal dryness”.
Some of the Common Causes
Childbirth and or breastfeeding
Cancer Treatment ( Radiotherapy/Chemotherapy
Anti-Estrogen & Certain Medications
Removal of Ovaries
Over Washing and or washing with perfumed soap
Lack of Foreplay before intercourse
It is always wise to visit your doctor should you suffer symptoms not previously seen or felt. Your doctor will do a pelvic exam, checking your vagina for any thinning or redness. The exam will help rule out other possible causes for your discomfort, including a vaginal or urinary tract infection.
Sometimes it’s difficult to consider using cream or lubrication because you may have the feeling that your body has let you down by not being naturally moist and this can be embarrassing. The fear of hearing the phrase “I don’t turn you on, do I?” perhaps inhibits such women from using lubricants as an aid to intercourse.
But you are not alone in fact, The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2016 found that nearly one in 10 women experience painful sex, known as dyspareunia but don’t seek help because of embarrassment.
Will It Help To Replace The Missing Hormone?
If all other medical reasons have been ruled out and it is believed the dryness and irritation you are currently suffering are a result of menopause then perhaps you have considered replacing the missing hormone, with either a cream (topical) or tablets, possibly even patches.
Vaginal Estrogens are also frequently recommended and therapy is individualized based on your history and risk factors for estrogen use. There are three main types of (HRT) estrogen products available by prescription, which include:
*Vaginal Estrogen ring, (Net Doctor have written excellent research for this therapy).
*Vaginal Estrogen tablet and HRT (NHS Link have useful information)
*Vaginal HRT Estrogen cream.
(HRT = Hormone Replacement Therapy)
To me, this seemed an obvious solution but all medical research suggests that whilst hormone replacement can have a positive effect on mood and dealing with menopause, there are never the less cons and side effects; there seemed little that helped with “vaginal dryness” redness or thinning. It would seem the intervention needs to enter via the bloodstream which creams, HRT patches and HRT tablets fail to do. As with all HRT, there are side effects and it is wise to do your own research before commencing
As previously mentioned estrogen therapy is very personalized and you may find it doesn’t have the desired effect. This was my experience with estrogen therapy. (in my case HRT Patches)
There isn’t much research on the long-term use of topical estrogen, but doctors believe it’s safe.
For me, this meant going back to Plan A which was either cream or lubrication.
While vaginas are self-cleaning and self-PH-regulating, it does sometimes need additional attention. With one squeeze of a lube cream or oil, you can lift your sex life, your mood and ultimately benefit your health; but it is still considered taboo and many women are too shy to invest in a bottle. Hopefully, because you are reading this you are looking to change your approach and by further researching and reading this post you will find you no longer have to be embarrassed or concerned.
Best Lube For Menopausal Dryness
Back to Plan A – What is the best cream or lubrication for Menopausal dryness?
Because of the very intimate nature of the area you wish to treat, opinions can vary. What can suit one woman may not necessarily be the preferred option for her sister. Looking at some of the best over the counter remedies can include glycerin-free:
Pro: Inexpensive, easy to find and generally less likely to cause irritation
Con: Check the ingredients, if it has flavour, colour, perfume it may well include glycerin, this can cause irritation and possibly a yeast infection
Products without Glycerin
“Vitamin E Vaginal suppositories”
Silicone Based Products:
Pro: Silicone-based lube last the longest and are odourless, tasteless and thus less likely to irritate,
Con: You have to really soap up to remove. “
A product called “Replens”
is a good example of silicone-based Lube.
Oil Based Products:
PRO: Oil-based Lubes are the safest, easiest to use and the most inexpensive. You can find the type of oil in any pharmacy or Supermarket, Avocado, Coconut oil, vegetable oil perfectly safe. They can also be used as a general massage oil as well as a lubricant this can also help to liven up foreplay.
The Con: They can destroy latex condoms, they also stain bedding/clothes, are difficult to wash off the body
If you would like something a little more specific than your kitchen coconut oil and would like to go down the path of organic natural ingredients you may wish to look at
YES Organic Intimate: “Yes” Company have a good-looking website (without adverts), which includes masses of useful information. They appear to ship worldwide and have a great deal of medical research behind them. I am personally quite impressed by their products and website, which has a useful contents table within the research pages.
NB – I am not affiliated or sponsored by YES Organic, they are just my own opinion and anecdotal reviews
Check out the list of ingredients before purchasing any product as it’s wise to avoid parabens, propylene glycol, glycerin-free as these additives can be irritating to your skin.
How To Apply Vaginal Lube & How Often
You will find that creams and lubrication tend to be required when engaging in sexual intimacy, to best apply is to lay down on a towel, this will avoid staining, add a generous amount to your hands warm the gel or oil in your hands before applying, be generous and don’t be afraid to reapply during intercourse if you start to feel pain or irritation.
Another way of using is to include as part of foreplay allowing your partner to warm and massage onto your skin/vagina
How often you use is entirely how often you enjoy sexual intimacy. There is no restriction over how much or how often you use but do be mindful of irritations. The first hint of redness or irritation is to check the ingredients.
Using A Vaginal Lube That won’t Cause Yeast Infection
In the list above I have highlighted which creams have the potential to cause a Yeast Infection. Oils or creams with colour, taste, perfume or glycerin can cause a yeast infection
Most Popular Vaginal Cream
I will include in this post the most popular products and those with the best reviews, with the obvious caveat, what suits one woman may not necessarily suit another. Some of the links include Affiliate Links, this means if you purchase the product from the “click through” I will receive a teeny tiny commission at no extra cost to you.
1st on the list and “Game Changer” for many women
Vulva Care and Intimate Skin Cream.
I have found the best price (and quick delivery) on Amazon (affiliate Link), click the VMagic link to take you directly to the Amazon site.
Another popular product and receives great reviews is
ProHydrate – For Vaginal Dryness
Superdrug are currently offering this at the best price
A really inexpensive product that can be found on Look Fantastic
If you are pre or post-menopause it is likely you will suffer with vaginal dryness. I am hoping you no longer feel you have to do it alone. Recognising we are all different and yet fundamentally the same, there is something that will help you, don’t be afraid to ask or to try some different products and alternative ways to approach this new chapter of your life
If you have made it this far I would like to thank you.
I have written several posts about issues arising as we move into our 50’s and you may find one in particular interesting called “Life After Menopause- 10 Great Indicators”
I would welcome your comments below, especially if you have any experience of products or things that may have worked for you.
I have listed below some of the references I used to research this article together with my own experience.
You may also find my post called “Body Changes for Women Over 50” helpful
See You soon
Founder Hey Spring Chicken
“Reference Article from Web MD Dated 06/05/2021 Medically Reviewed by Traci C Johnson, MD”
Further Information: Urinary Tract Infection – NHS Website
Further Information: Oestrogen/ Estrogen Ring – HRT information website
NHS has plenty of useful information surrounding Vaginal Dryness NHS Website