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Vaginal Dryness & Menopause


Though vaginal dryness is common in women of all ages, it especially occurs during and after menopause and can be an important sign of vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis). Symptoms include itching, burning, pressure, pain or light bleeding during sex, urinary frequency and urgency.


Causes


Estrogen keeps the vagina healthy by maintaining normal vaginal lubrication, elasticity and acidity. When estrogen levels drop, the vaginal lining becomes fragile and dry.

While progesterone levels tend to diminish first as women enter perimenopause, some women experience a relative increase in estrogen levels and may need to balance that shift with progesterone supplementation.  But women near or past menopause may experience a drop in both estrogen and progesterone levels. These shifts in hormones often reduce vaginal secretions, and many women feel they are literally “drying up.”


Natural Remedies


Aloe vera helps heal infections and can be applied topically to relieve itching, taken internally or used in a douche.  Calendula and vitamin A vaginal suppositories soothe and heal, and pau d'arco contains natural antibiotic agents.

The isoflavones, lignans and phytonutrients in soy and flaxseed can be helpful for vaginal dryness, and many other foods contain phytoestrogens, which by mimicking natural estrogens in the body, serve as a buffer when levels fluctuate.

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