When you think about menopause symptoms, probably the first ones that come to mind are menopausal hot flashes and night sweats because they are the most common complaints. But vaginal dryness is just as troublesome…and fortunately, very treatable.
With menopause, estrogen levels decline and the vaginal lining thins and loses some of its lubrication-producing mucus glands. The reason is simple: After menopause, the vagina no longer needs to be tough enough for childbirth. However, while the fluctuating hormones that occur during early menopause can create excessive vaginal dryness, the good news is that its temporary. Here is what you can do to alleviate this menopause symptom naturally:
- Exercise at least four times a week, if not every day. Regular exercise improves blood supply to the entire body (including the vagina), not just by pumping more blood to the tissues, but also by stimulating new capillary growth.
- Avoid anything that can irritate the delicate vaginal tissues, including douches, perfumed soaps, hygiene products, and chlorinated pools or hot tubs.
- Include plenty of foods in your diet that are rich in naturally lubricating essential fatty acids, such as wild-caught salmon and mackerel, raw sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, raw nuts, and flax. Flax is particularly helpful because its a phytoestrogenmeaning its chemically and functionally similar to estradiol, a womans most prominent natural estrogen. Therefore, phytoestrogens have estrogenic and estrogen-balancing effects. I suggest 46 tablespoons of ground flaxseed once or twice a day.
- Black cohosh is another supplement that many of my patients have found can help naturally boost vaginal moistureand also relieve menopause hot flashes and night sweats, as well. I suggest taking 4080 mg of a standardized extract of black cohosh twice a day. This dose should contain 24 mg of the active component triterpenes, calculated as 27-deoxyacteine.
- Consider natural hormones, like prescription estriol cream. Extensive research has shown that, when used vaginally, this bioidentical estrogen remains almost totally localized to the vaginal tissues. Most women notice a difference within a month, but continued improvement often builds for several months. Estriol is made to order at compounding pharmacies.