Ok so nobody actually wants to talk about vaginal dryness, but as it is a permanent symptom that affects more than 50% of postmenopausal women, we can't ignore it either.
Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) is the umbrella term for menopausal symptoms that affect the vagina, vulva, bladder and pelvic floor. GSM occurs when low estrogen causes changes in the thickness and integrity of the tissue of the vulva and vagina, and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Symptoms may include: Vaginal dryness, Irritation, burning, itching other discomfort Light bleeding Inflammation Painful urination Recurrent urinary tract infections Loss of libido and orgasm, Frequent urination, incontinence.
The truth is that genitourinary changes are permanent, but the symptoms may be improved with treatment and may also worsen without treatment.
Here are my top 5 tips for managing vaginal dryness naturally: 1. Zinc. Zinc helps to maintain the health of the tissues that line the vagina. Zinc rich foods include: pumpkin seeds, oysters, red meat, legumes, dark chocolate. 2. Probiotics. A balanced vaginal microbiome is essential for maintaining a healthy environment, for preventing infection and supporting healthy tissue. Lactobacillus spp are easily included in the diet with fermented foods. Specific probiotic strains are most effective but for should be recommended by your health professional. 3. Linseeds. Linseeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids but also in lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds added to your oats, baking, salad, smoothie etc will help to increase vaginal lubrication. (Note: flaxseed oil does not contain phytoestrogens). 4. Vaginal Moisturising Gel: preferably a zinc based one. It is important when choosing vaginal moisturisers to choose one that has a low pH (to protect the vaginal microbiome), is free of alcohol and preservatives and has a low osmolality (amount of dissolved particles) to protect the vaginal tissue from damage. 5. Stay (sexually) active. Regular sexual activity promotes blood flow to the vagina to maintain healthy cells and tissues. This is not going to be an option for everyone but staying active and exercising regularly will promote healthy blood flow to support healthy tissue.
Around 50% of women aged between 50 & 60 will experience symptoms of GSM but not report them to their health care professional. This may result from a combination of women being too shy or embarrassed to mention it, the health professional being reluctant to ask the right questions and women believing that this is a normal part of ageing that they have to put up with. If this all sounds uncomfortably familiar to you, I urge you to talk to your health practitioner. Don't give up on your sex life or live with discomfort unnecessarily.
There are effective, natural treatment options available to you.
Book in for a Discovery Call with me to find out more.