3 Natural Treatment Options for Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is a common complaint during peri-menopause and menopause but it can happen at any age.  As estrogen levels start to drop, vaginal moisture dries up which can result in vaginal atrophy, painful intercourse and an increased risk for vaginal infections. The hormonal changes following childbirth can also cause vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.

The good news is there are a variety of natural treatment options for vaginal dryness.

1. Hydrate your vagina from the inside out

Keeping your body hydrated and moist is crucial to combat vaginal dryness. Drink at least 2L of water each and every day. Increase your intake of healthy oils including cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, flax oil etc. Aim for at least 1 tsp with every meal. If you’re still experiencing vaginal dryness, consider adding a Sea Buckthorne supplement. Sea Buckthorne is an omega-7 fatty acid which specifically helps relieve vaginal dryness (and it makes your skin look great as an added bonus). I love NFH’s Sea Buckthorne SAP which is available at Docere Naturopathic Clinic + IV Lounge and through our online dispensary.

2. Try Dr. Sarah’s compounded vaginal cream

This non-hormonal option is great for younger women with vaginal dryness or women who can’t or prefer not to use hormones. It combines hyaluronic acid (which helps to attract and retain moisture) and vitamins A and E to help hydrate and heal the tissues. Apply it every night for 2 weeks then 2 times per week or as needed. Just ask for a prescription at your next appointment! Another option is the over-the-counter product Cala-Gel by St. Francis Herb Farm.

3. Ask about bio-identical estrogen cream

Estriol is the weakest of our 3 naturally made forms of estrogen. It can be applied as a cream vaginally which is extremely safe and poses minimal risk. Estriol is so safe that it’s actually being used in women who have a history of breast cancer. Ask Dr. Sarah if this product may be right for you. It’s also applied nightly for 2 weeks, then 2 times a week for 2 weeks then as needed.

Is Stress Shutting Down Your Sex Drive?

One of the most frequent complaints that I hear from women in my office is that they have no sex drive. Like zero. Nada. Nothing. It’s as if that part of their brain has turned off and doesn’t seem to want to turn back on anytime soon.

There are many reasons why women experience a low sex drive including side effects from birth control pills, low estrogen and low testosterone. But, in my experience, the number one cause of low libido is STRESS.

The reality is that our sex drive is turned down as a PROTECTIVE MECHANISM. What you need to understand is that stress shuts down our sex drive for good reason.

When the body is under stress, it activates the sympathetic nervous system which is also known as our “fight or flight” response. When this response is activated, our body engages in a variety of activities that help us to survive and cope with that stress. We send lots of blood to our brain (so we can respond quickly and appropriately) and lungs and muscles (so we can run away). We may not be fighting off saber tooth tigers anymore but our body still responds in the same way. And let’s face it ladies, between family, work, and social obligations, we’re under low-grade stress all the time.

Another side-effect of this stress response is a reduction of blood flow to your reproductive organs and putting a major damper on your sex drive. WHY? The last thing your body needs when it’s under stress is another human being to take care off (aka a baby). You see, when you are under stress, your body shuts down your sex drive to limit the chances you’ll become pregnant in an effort to try to help you.

Even if you’re post-menopausal or on birth control and technically can’t get pregnant, your body will still shut down your libido because it doesn’t know any better. It’s a automatic response that is hard wired into us that actually helped keep our ancestors alive.

So, if you want that part of your brain to wake up and re-activate, you need to practice getting out of that sympathetic “fight or flight” response and start hanging out in a more relaxed parasympathetic “rest and digest” state. This is when the body is relaxed, feels safe and can start to warm that fire in your loins. (PS. men also need to be in this state to achieve and maintain an erection).

My best strategies for tapping into “rest and digest”:

  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night (this is the ultimate relaxed state)
  • Take 10 deep abdominal breaths before each meal
  • Learn to say “no” (and not feel guilty about it!)
  • Start a daily meditation practice such as the HeadSpace App (and come try our new service: MUSE Biofeedback Meditation)
  • Cultivate mindfulness (try to enjoy the present moment.) Start with simple activities such as mindfully brushing your teeth. Keep your mind focused by paying attention to the smell and taste of your toothpaste, the feeling of the brush against your teeth, the sounds it’s making. It’s simple but it works!

Wondering if stress is really affecting your sex drive and overall health?

Get your stress hormone levels test with our Adrenal Function Panel. It’s a simple at home saliva test that maps out your cortisol and DHEAS. You can learn more about it here. Test Cost = $220.

Superfoods to Boost your Sex Life

Try adding these superfoods into your diet to help boost your energy levels, help with relaxation, and improve circulation – all of which are key to enjoying a happy and healthy sex life!

Oysters

  • High in zinc- important for testosterone production and sperm quality
  • Raise dopamine levels which increases your libido
  • If oysters aren’t your thing….Pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc!

Maca powder

  • Known as Peru’s natural Viagra
  • Helps to boost libido, strength, stamina, energy, and fertility
  • Acts as an “adaptogen” – helps body cope with stress & ward off disease

Foods rich in Arginine

  • Arginine helps open up blood vessels to promote circulation of blood
  • Foods high in arginine include -Watermelon, pomegranate, cucumber, soy protein, nuts and seeds

Eggs - a symbol of fertility!

  • High in B vitamins- needed to produce serotonin (your feel good brain chemical)
  • Low serotonin can cause premature ejaculation
  • Egg yolks contain choline- needed for acetylcholine production

Cocoa/chocolate

  • Contains more antioxidants than red wine or green tea
  • Contains phenylethlamine- stimulates your sense of excitement and well-being
  • Be sure to choose dark chocolate, pure cocoa powder, or raw cocoa nibs
  • Try grinding raw cocoa nibs with your coffee beans for an added antioxidant boost!

Cayenne pepper

  • Helps increase circulation- including to sexual organs
  • Helps warm the body and ignite your inner fire!

Licorice Tea

  • A favorite for supporting the adrenal glands – produce stress hormones & sex hormones
  • Provides a natural energy boost
  • Avoid this if you have high blood pressure

Nutmeg

  • Increases blood flow and relaxes muscles
  • Increases frequency of erections, intercourse,  and stamina & less recovery time

Greens supplements

  • Boosts energy levels
  • May help with sexual satisfaction and erection quality

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Helps lower the hormone leptin – Premature ejaculation associated with high leptin levels
  • Helps to achieve adequate lubrication

Super Sexy Smoothie

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or rice milk
  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 cups mixed berries (ideally including pomegranate)
  • 2 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp Maca powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a blender and enjoy! Serves 2.