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Guide to home remedies for vaginal atrophy

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You're not alone if you've noticed that your vagina feels drier and less sensitive than it used to. It's called vaginal atrophy, and it's a common side effect of menopause.

Vaginal atrophy isn't one condition; instead, it’s a collection of problems that affect the entire vulva. Symptoms vary from person to person and may be caused by more than one factor — including menopause, hysterectomy, and certain medications.

Vaginal atrophy causes thinning of the vaginal tissues, which can lead to itching, burning, and pain during sex. It can also lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) and urgency to pee.

If you are sitting at home trying to figure out what you can do to reverse vaginal atrophy affordably and easily, there are plenty of things that you can try—for example, using coconut oil as a personal lubricant and avoiding hot baths. But home remedies and lifestyle changes aren't guaranteed to work for everyone—and they might not get the job done as effectively as prescription treatment does.

It’s important that you feel comfortable with whatever solution you choose so that you can use it consistently and effectively. We'll help you find an affordable solution you can try at home that works for you!

Home remedies you can try to help relieve vaginal atrophy

There are home remedies you can try to help relieve symptoms of vaginal atrophy. However, not all are backed by research and you should always consult with your doctor before trying any home remedies or supplements.

The following list of home remedies may help relieve vaginal atrophy:

  • Coconut oil. If painful sex is a concern, coconut oil can be used as a personal lubricant to help make intimacy more comfortable. Since coconut oil won't restore your vaginal moisture, you'll need to use it every time you have sex.
  • Vitamin E oil. A 2016 study comparing vitamin E vaginal suppositories with vaginal estrogen cream showed that vitamin E was effective at treating vaginal atrophy, though not as effective as vaginal estrogen cream.
  • Aloe vera.small study in 2020 concluded that vaginal moisturizers that contain aloe vera can be effective in managing vaginal atrophy. It's also worth considering that aloe vera contains hyaluronic acid - which has been studied and shown to relieve vaginal dryness.
  • Cranberry juice. Frequent UTIs are a common symptom of vaginal atrophy - and while there are no definitive studies on whether drinking cranberry juice helps with UTIs, most experts will tell you that drinking cranberry juice won't hurt. If you think you have a UTI, you should get help right away from your doctor. And if you're looking to prevent UTIs, research shows that vaginal estrogen cream is an effective solution.

Lifestyle changes that may help with vaginal atrophy

You may have heard the phrase, "use it or lose it" applied to your vagina. But here's the thing: no study proves that having sex will help reverse tightness or discomfort related to vaginal atrophy. In fact, sexual activity may make pain or discomfort even worse.

So what lifestyle changes can you make instead?

  • Avoid using harsh soaps or douches. The vagina is self-cleaning and doesn't need much help to do its job. You can prevent irritation by avoiding harsh soaps, bubble baths, or douches.
  • Gently cleanse and dry. When vaginal atrophy gets really severe, even daily hygiene like wiping with toilet paper can hurt. Instead of rubbing dry, you can cleanse your vulva with warm water and gently pat dry.
  • Avoid hot baths. Hot baths are notorious for drying out the skin. You can help your skin retain moisture by taking a warm shower rather than a hot bath.
  • Keep hydrated. If you're not drinking enough water, your skin may dry out and this may affect your vagina too. And while you may need to do more than just drink water to keep your vagina healthy after menopause (Mayo Clinic recommends that most people drink 8 cups of 8-ounce fluids daily), it's still important to stay hydrated at all times - especially since dehydration can cause additional discomfort!
  • Pee after sex! Vaginal atrophy can cause the labia minora to shrink - which exposes the urethra to infection. Peeing after sex can help to flush bacteria out of the urethra. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, studies have not shown that peeing after sex always helps to prevent UTIs.
  • Wear loose clothing. Tight-fitting clothing can irritate the vulva, so you may feel more comfortable if you wear loose-fitting clothing instead.

The best prescription medication for vaginal atrophy

For mild to severe cases of vaginal atrophy that aren't helped with vaginal moisturizers or lubricants, you may consider prescription treatment with estrogen. According to the Mayo Clinic, estrogen is considered the most effective treatment for vaginal atrophy.

Topical vaginal estrogen is the only prescription treatment proven to be effective at treating vaginal atrophy, while also limiting your exposure to side effects. And it's available with a prescription online, so you can get it without ever leaving the house—if that's what you want.

But let's be real here: some women are reluctant to use estrogen, due to safety concerns.

If you do have safety concerns, know topical vaginal estrogen has one major advantage over most other estrogen products. According to the North American Menopause Society, vaginal estrogen has not been shown to cause serious side effects and may also provide better direct relief of symptoms than estrogen hormone therapy.

Vaginal estrogen is available as a cream, ring, or suppository and is clinically proven to restore your body's natural vaginal moisture and pH.

If you're looking for natural or cruelty-free ingredients, consider vaginal estradiol. Estradiol is a form of estrogen that's derived from plants, identical to the estrogen produced by our bodies, and backed by decades of research.

Getting help online

What's the best way to decide what kind of treatment works best for you? Ask your doctor! But if there isn't one nearby who can help or if you don't feel like paying an expensive co-pay, fret not. There are ways to get prescription treatment online without leaving your couch or breaking your budget.

Just visit Interlude and fill out an online consult. Within a few hours, you'll be all set with a prescription for vaginal estrogen to help restore your vaginal health. Plus, if you have questions about home remedies and lifestyle changes, you can ask one of our certified MDs or GYNs. You'll get free and unlimited messaging with us.

Conclusion

Vaginal atrophy is a common condition that affects many women during menopause and beyond. While there are several options for treatment, it's important to talk with your doctor before starting any treatment plan. They can help you decide what's best for your symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information isn't a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
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