Natural Remedies for Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is common after menopause, but it can happen to women of any age. Dryness can lead to other symptoms like itching and burning, all of which can make sex painful. And it can mean you have to urinate more often.

Black cohosh plant growing outdoors close up
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Various natural remedies have been touted as solutions for the problem, but, so far, there isn't much science to back up the claims.

This article takes a look at several popular natural options for treating vaginal dryness. It also explores some other common causes and treatments.

Vaginal Dryness Causes

In most cases, vaginal dryness comes from lower estrogen levels. As you age, less estrogen also means less moisture in your vaginal walls. Hormonal changes in pregnancy or breastfeeding can also change your vagina's moisture.

Sometimes dryness isn't related to aging. Estrogen levels may also drop due to:

It can also be caused by medications that reduce moisture in the whole body. Allergy and cold medicines are two examples.

Douching, laundry detergents, and soaps can irritate the vagina. Cigarette smoking, tampons, and condoms can also cause problems.

Wild Yam Cream

Creams made with wild yam are often marketed as a natural source of estrogen. Estrogen is a sex hormone that affects the health of your vagina.

So far, there's no evidence that applying wild yam cream on your skin boosts estrogen. There's also no proof it can ease dryness.

Black Cohosh

The herb black cohosh is often used for menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

In a 2016 research review, researchers found no evidence that black cohosh eased menopause symptoms. To date, there's no science to support using black cohosh to help with vaginal dryness, either.

Kudzu

At least one older study showed that kudzu might help with vaginal dryness, but more recent research conflicts with those results.

For example, a 2016 review of the research found no evidence that kudzu relieved vaginal dryness or helped with other menopause symptoms.

Soy

Soy contains isoflavones, which act like weak estrogens in the body. They are thought to help improve vaginal dryness.

Although researchers are looking into the benefits of a diet rich in soy foods such as tofu for vaginal health, they don't yet know how much or what kind of soy might help.

What Else to Try

Vaginal dryness may be a sign of another health problem, such as infection. For that reason, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor if you have other symptoms.

Treatments usually include estrogen-based creams, moisturizers, and water-based lubricants. Your vagina is sensitive. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you self-treat with any alternative medicine.

Summary

Vaginal dryness is usually caused by estrogen loss, medication, or other health conditions. Some advocates say natural remedies such as wild yam cream and black cohosh can relieve the dryness. To date, there's no research to support their use.

There's some evidence that kudzu and soy may help, but more research is needed to know for sure.

Vaginal dryness can cause pain during sex and other problems. For now, you may find more relief using an estrogen cream, lubricant, or a moisturizer made especially for the vagina.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will drinking more water help with vaginal dryness?

    It's possible—if you're truly dehydrated. You can remedy dehydration by drinking water and other non-alcoholic, unsweetened fluids and increasing your intake of juicy fruits, vegetables, and soup.

  • Are there any foods that can prevent or treat vaginal dryness?

    There's been some interesting research in this area. A 2014 study involving 731 women found that those who ate an apple a day had better sex lives, including more vaginal lubrication. Soy foods like edamame and tofu are also linked to better vaginal health.

  • What are some natural lubricants I can use during sex?

    Certain vegetable oils are effective lubricants, including avocado, coconut, peanut, and olive oils. However, if you're using latex condoms to prevent pregnancy or infection, these oils will cause them to degrade and be less effective.

  • Are there any herbs that can help relieve vaginal dryness?

    Non-Western medicine practices such as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda do use certain herbs and other plants to support vaginal health, including lubrication. They include Shatavari root, Chinese asparagus, licorice root, calendula, and comfrey.

10 Sources
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