Mention vaginal dryness and most people will tell you it’s just something menopausal women have to deal with. But they’re wrong. In fact, 73% of women have experienced discomfort during sex. So why aren’t we talking about it? And why does it happen?
The good news is that vaginal dryness is completely normal and, thanks to the dazzling array of lubes out there, it doesn’t have to be something you put up with.
We’ve taken a closer look at some of the causes.
Your hormones are one of the most common reasons for vaginal dryness. As if taking you on a delightful emotional roller-coaster every month wasn’t bad enough, for about two thirds of the month levels of oestrogen in your body drop, which can have a direct effect on your natural lubrication levels, leaving you feeling drier than usual.
Changes in hormones also explain why some women experience dryness around other major events in their life like pregnancy, post childbirth, breastfeeding and during the menopause.
If you’re regularly feeling a bit dry down there, you might want to think about making a few tweaks to your daily routine.
Chemicals in soaps, dyes, perfumes and laundry products can irritate your vagina’s delicate pH balance, which can affect lubrication. Plain, unperfumed soaps should be used to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva) gently every day.
It’s also worth thinking about having a simple water-based lube to hand when things do get steamy. This can help protect and soothe discomfort.
Quite a few common medications list vaginal dryness as a possible side effect, including some antidepressants and the contraceptive pill. This is because they can alter (you guessed it) your hormone levels, which in turn can affect your body’s ability to self-lubricate.
A lubricated condom is a great option to help you and your partner glide through any dry spells you might encounter.
ANXIETY & STRESS
It won’t come as a surprise, but stress and sex aren’t a great combo. Let’s face it, it’s hard to get turned on, when you’re stressed out. If you’re feeling anxious, upset or depressed it can also affect your body’s ability to self-lubricate.
Try to set time aside to properly unwind before you have sex. A relaxing massage with a warming gel is a great way to de-stress and reconnect with your partner. So take off those clothes, take your time and take off the pressure.
Always be sure to talk to your GP if you are worried about persistent vaginal dryness or discomfort.