Skincare routines vastly differ from person to person. Some swear by their elaborate 10-step regimen, while others embrace simplicity with a few holy grail products. Whatever the case, there’s one product few beauty routines go without – the moisturizer. One look at its many skincare benefits, from hydration to anti-aging, and it becomes clear why this is the case.
But there’s another type of moisturizer that doesn’t get talked about nearly as much, though it does wonders for women’s health and comfort. The unsung hero in question is a vaginal moisturizer.
But don’t worry; we’re here to talk about it!
We’ll discuss what this incredible product is and why you need it (regardless of your age). We’ll even throw in a product recommendation to help you start paying the same amount of attention to your vagina and vulva as you do to your face, neck, and hands.
What Are Vaginal Moisturizers?
As the name suggests, vaginal moisturizers are products used to provide moisture to your vagina and rehydrate vaginal tissues. They do so by mimicking natural vaginal secretions, jumping in when your body fails to maintain sufficient moisture on its own for one reason or another.
Some vaginal moisturizers focus solely on the vagina, while others can help the vulva as well, alleviating vulvar dryness. Vaginal moisturizers come in several forms – as a vaginal suppository, cream, or gel. Some people prefer using natural oils like coconut oil to help with vaginal moisture, but always check with your physician first, as these might not be safe for all people. And, keep in mind – most oil based moisturizers can break down condoms, rendering them ineffective. While a water based vaginal moisturizer should do no such thing, always check the packaging to be sure.
Appropriate vaginal moisturization will improve your sex life immensely. But preventing painful sex isn’t all vaginal moisturizers do. Let’s see how these products help your overall vaginal health.
Why Do You Need Vaginal Moisturizers?
A vaginal moisturizer will be your first line of defense against vaginal dryness, together with vaginal lubricants.
But again, vaginal lubricants are limited solely to sexual activities. These products are exclusively used during sexual intercourse to aid vaginal lubrication, thus enhancing comfort and reducing friction. Whether you opt for oil-based lubricants or water-based lubricants, one thing’s for sure – you’ll likely find the sexual activity significantly more pleasurable.
While a vaginal moisturizer can also help increase female lubrication during sex, it can also do so with no sex involved. But why do you need to moisturize and hydrate your vaginal tissue regularly? Dry vaginal tissues can not only be uncomfortable and inhibit sexual pleasure, but they can also encourage infections and microtearing of the sensitive vaginal mucosa.
When Does Vaginal Dryness Occur?
Normally, your vaginal walls are lubricated with clear fluid, helping them stay hydrated, thick, and elastic. Vaginal dryness occurs when natural lubrication fails, causing discomfort and pain when sitting, peeing, exercising, and, of course, engaging in sexual activity. Even something as simple as putting on your underwear can cause you to feel extremely uncomfortable.
Despite a common misconception, you can experience vaginal dryness at any age. Sure, it’s most common during and after menopause, but there are a myriad of other causes for vaginal dryness that can appear in various stages of your life female lifecycle. In fact, as many as 17% of women aged 18 to 50 experience this dryness before menopause takes place.
Let’s explore these to help you understand why treatment options like vaginal moisturizers may be right for you, regardless of your age or stage.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness
Whenever discussing a medical condition, there are two elements that matter – the symptoms and the causes. Before jumping to causes, let’s take a brief moment to discuss the symptoms. Of course, general discomfort and painful intercourse should be your first indicators that something’s wrong. But the following, more specific symptoms can help you narrow down the issue.
- Itching, stinging, or burning sensations inside the vagina
- Soreness inside the vagina
- Light vaginal bleeding (usually following sexual intercourse)
- Loss of interest in sex
- Persistent or recurrent UTIs
Please contact your physician immediately if you notice any changes. While they may not be cause for concern, any change should always be addressed by your physician before starting on an OTC treatment.
With symptoms out of the way, let’s move on to causes. One look at these, and you’ll immediately understand that vaginal dryness can happen to virtually anyone.
Many people associate vaginal dryness with occurrences related to the organ itself. But the truth is that even stress can cause this uncomfortable and often painful condition.
When you’re stressed, your hormone levels begin to shift. The cortisol rises while the testosterone dips, affecting your overall libido. On top of that, your body stops sending enough blood to the vaginal area, thus failing to moisturize the vaginal tissue sufficiently and causing vaginal dryness.
You probably don’t need this article to tell you how important water is for your entire body. But in case you need a gentle refresher, let us remind you that water is vital for every bodily function, from digestion to circulation.
As an added bonus, proper hydration gives your skin a dewy glow and makes it incredibly healthy. Take the water out of the equation, and you’re left with dull and dry skin. And yes, this absolutely refers to your vagina as well!
Dehydration can take a huge toll on natural vaginal secretions, impacting the organ’s overall health. Considering how delicate the vagina is, dehydration can trigger a chain reaction of complications besides vaginal dryness, starting with a disrupted pH balance and ending with undesirable conditions like bacterial or yeast infections.
Let’s be honest – it’s no secret that smoking wreaks havoc on your body. But did you know that one of the “casualties” of smoking can also be your vagina?
You see, the nicotine you inhale can block blood flow to the vagina, decreasing its ability to lubricate itself. The result? Vaginal dryness, of course! And before you ask – yes, vaping has a similar effect.
Besides directly causing vaginal dryness, smoking can also worsen dryness in aging and menopausal women. It can also significantly speed up vaginal atrophy, a serious condition for which vaginal dryness is just one of the symptoms.
Improper Vaginal Care
You might think you take good care of your vagina and you have no need for additional products like vaginal moisturizers. But we’ve got bad news. Not every product you use for vaginal care does good things for your vagina. In fact, some of these products can directly cause vaginal dryness.
These include scented vaginal washes, perfumed soaps and sprays, and douche products. Sure, everyone likes to smell good, but these products actually do more harm than good. They strip your vagina of its natural moisture, impact its pH balance, and make it more susceptible to dryness, infection, and discomfort. The vagina is a self cleaning organ; it is harmful to “wash” or “douche” the vagina unless specifically so directed by your physician.
So, your best course of action is to ditch these products altogether and add a vaginal and vulvar moisturizer to your routine, at least while you undo the damage caused by them.
While not right for every woman, birth control pills can be a very effective form of contraception. Some women find that taking birth control pills enhances sexual health and erotic interest, provides relief from painful menstrual symptoms, and even reduces acne. Unfortunately, for others, hormonal birth control can cause a myriad of side effects normally seen in women with low estrogen levels, like loss of libido and vaginal dryness.
Even a low dose of hormonal birth control (oral contraceptives, injections, patches) can lead to unwelcome side effects. If this is your situation, you can consider switching to a birth control method that involves no hormones (e.g., condoms and cervical caps). Or, you can address the issue through vaginal lubricants and moisturizers.
Believe it or not, as many as 43% of women can experience vaginal dryness six months after giving birth. But why does this happen, and why is it so prevalent?
In a word, hormones; estrogen and progesterone, to be precise. These hormones are primarily produced in the ovaries and trigger things like breast development and menstruation.
Well, during pregnancy, these hormones soar, only to dramatically decrease soon after giving birth. Truthfully, you’ll probably be shocked at just how soon this takes place – these hormones can go back to their pre-pregnancy levels in as little as 24 hours. And where does this leave you? Unfortunately, the resultant low estrogen levels can lead to vaginal and/or vulvar dryness.
Estrogen levels continue to drop when you start breastfeeding, as estrogen can interfere with milk production. This further increases your chances of experiencing dryness, tightness, and tenderness in the vaginal area.
Specific Medical Conditions
Vaginal dryness can also appear as a symptom of some conditions that might not have anything to do with hormones. One such condition is Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that affects how much moisture your glands produce. This disorder primarily impacts the saliva-producing and tear-producing glands but can also affect other organs, including the lungs, bowel, and, of course, the vagina.
Another medical condition that can have similar consequences is diabetes. High blood sugar levels caused by this condition can damage the blood vessels in your vagina and vaginal wall. The result? A lack of lubrication that leads to vaginal dryness.
Unfortunately, even some medical treatments/commonly taken drugs for conditions like breast cancer can cause vaginal dryness. Treatment options like hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation, and reproductive organ surgery can interfere your body’s ability to produce estrogen and can, thus, lead to vaginal dryness.
Let’s say you’re experiencing vaginal dryness. One of the first steps you can take before consulting your healthcare provider is to check your medicine cabinet. Why? Because this symptom can be a side effect of a surprising number of medications.
Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Cold medications
- Allergy medications
- Anti-estrogen medications (e.g., for treating endometriosis)
- Blood pressure and heart medications
As you age, it’s perfectly normal to experience dryness in the vaginal and vulvar areas. Women might start seeing less natural lubrication in their late 40s and early 50s, which coincides with the average age at which women experience menopause (52, according to the North American Menopause Society).
During menopause, estrogen levels significantly drop, potentially leading to vaginal atrophy or its common symptom – vaginal dryness. Though keeping your vagina healthy and hydrated throughout your life is of utmost importance, menopause can really exacerbate these symptoms.
To do so, the North American Menopause Society recommends vaginal estrogen therapy, some home “remedies,” and non-hormonal over-the-counter treatments like a vaginal moisturizer.
What Vaginal Moisturizer Should You Use?
Given the importance of the vaginal moisturizer, you’ll want to use a product that can deliver the nurturing care (and relief) your vagina deserves. You’ll also want to ensure your vulva gets the love it needs. Enter VMAGIC Vulva Balm.
Why Use the VMAGIC Vulva Balm
The VMAGIC Vulva Balm comes from the (V)magical laboratory of Medicine Mama’s. This product contains no hormones and aims to relieve dryness and irritation caused by various occurrences, including menopause, postpartum, and sexual activity.
The VMAGIC Vulva Balm has been extensively tested and proven to be able to reduce dryness in as little as two weeks. Given these incredible results, it’s no wonder that the product boasts over 7,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
These results can be explained by Medicine Mama’s Apothecary’s amazing proprietary formula that features a honey and propolis blend (soothing benefits), organic extra virgin olive oil (replenishing dry skin), and organic sea buckthorn oil (supporting skin elasticity). To experience the wonderful benefits of these (and many other) ingredients on the go, grab the handy VMAGIC Feminine Lips Stick.
How to Use the VMAGIC Vulva Balm
Using clean and dry fingers, place a thin layer of this product onto your vulvar area, including the vaginal opening. Massage it in and repeat the processes as often as you like! Our all natural and organic formulation is safe to use as needed. We recommend daily use, as well as any time you experience vulvar dryness, for maximum comfort and ongoing care.
Say No to Discomfort
By now, it’s clear that vaginal dryness is something you should try to avoid at all costs. Consider a long-lasting vaginal moisturizer your proactive approach to a life of intimate well-being where there’s no room for discomfort, painful intercourse, or compromised vaginal and vulvar health.