Intimate Dryness- Causes and Solutions
If dryness bothers you or someone you care for, you're not alone: Half of all women (not just menopausal, perimenopausal or postmenopausal, but all woman), suffer from an intermittent lack of vaginal lubrication. For 17% of all women, lack of vaginal moisture is a constant problem, and it makes it difficult to enjoy sex. Lack of moisture in the vulva leads to micro-tearing, which increases the risk of UTIs, in addition to being itchy and uncomfortable.
What causes moisture loss?
Aging: There are normal lifecycle driven hormonal reasons for lack of lubrication- drops in hormonal levels in perimenopause and menopause from normal aging.
Prescriptions: There is also medication-induced dryness. Many pharmaceutical prescriptions—including statins, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and antipsychotics, among others—can cause sexual dysfunction in both women and men.
Stress: There are also hormonal disruptions that are culturally induced: high levels of stress and anxiety can elevate cortisol and depress desire. Incontinence, staying damp after exercise, harsh soaps....Anxiety, busyness and trauma are all factors that make it difficult for some women to relax—and relaxation is a precondition for true arousal and great orgasms. Our bodies are genius! They don't want to be aroused when stressed out or unsafe, unhealthy, dehydrated, or undernourished.Big lifestyle shifts that would allow life to be easy: doing less, playing more, meditating, exercise, foreplay would go a long way to staying juicy!
Medical conditions: Conditions such as lichen sclerosis are severe forms of dryness that can be very painful.
Here are some simple tricks to support more moisture:
Keep Your Pubic Hair: The pornification of sexuality has made going bare fashionable. Pubic hair is there for a reason: it helps protect the vulva skin, and the opening to the vagina- this balances the vaginome, keep infections out, and helps the vagina retain moisture. Trim if you must, but keep the labia and the opening to the vagina protected.
Bring Blood Flow into the Hips: Vulvar and vaginal tissues require blood flow to get wet. This is in part a mechanical, not a chemical, process. Blood flow puts pressure on subcutaneous liquid, and pushes it to the surface. So get this going by doing dynamic hip movements. These might include gentle squats, or more dynamic yoga squats (search: Malasana on Google for tips). Self-massage with oils and creams can also help stimulate pelvic blood flow.
Hydrate: The vagina is part of the body. Drink more water, eat water-rich foods like veggies and fruit, and drink less alcohol and caffeine.
Moisturize: In "The Vagina Bible", acclaimed NYT columnist and Gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter says, "I started a moisturizer when I hit menopause, and my vulva started to feel more supple after a few weeks. I didn't realize how accustomed I had become to the dryness and how much I look forward ot the "ah" moment that immediately follows application....a moisturizer is probably one of those things to try, see how you like it and go from there." She advises people to apply moisturizer to "the labia majora, the perineum and on the skin around the anus." If you use natural plant-based oils those can make their way into the vagina safely.
What kind of moisturizer?
Plant-based oils: Some people use organic coconut, olive or sesame oil as a moisturizer. These are less expensive than targeted skincare preparations and are good in a pinch. They can impact the ph balance in the vaginome, so check your response to them. They are oil so they can stay on the skin and be a little messy.
No petroleum: DO NOT USE anything with petroleum by-products. These are linked to increased incidence of bacterial vaginosis, and occlusions in the pores. Petrolatum (Vaseline for example) has been banned in the EU for use on the lips, which is similar tissue to the labia.
Rosebud Woman offerings: From our product suite, three items are good for moisture. We spent years researching to get these just right- they are informed by traditional apothecary ingredients by award-winning chemists. Rosebud Woman's Honor Everyday Balm uses topical plant-based ingredients to help women replenish and moisturize intimate skin. The balm's texture is designed to be an unguent that shifts to a dry oil with play value and then absorbs without mess, and adds beneficial herbs and adaptogens. Our Arouse Stimulating Serum is a light oil that contains herbs to support plumping and moisture. Soothe Calming Cream contains arnica and calendula and comfrey for redness and itching and mint for cooling, and is great for after wax. A little of this one goes a long way! For nondrying cleaning, our Refresh Cleansing Cloths are a soft bamboo base with Aloe and non-surfactant ingredients. These are great for cold compresses, too- put them in the freezer and then apply.
PS: Rosebud Woman products can be used anywhere on the body and face where you have extreme dryness or sensitive skin, like the eyelids, lips, or creases of the elbows or knees. Our male partners regularly sneak away with Soothe.