Is vaginal dryness causing you pain and discomfort? Learn how you may use slippery elm for vaginal dryness below!
Reasons for Vaginal Dryness
The hormone estrogen is responsible for keeping your vaginal lining healthy, thick, elastic, and lubricated. The lubricating vaginal fluid reduces friction during intercourse. Sometimes, the Lubricating fluid in the vagina may decrease, causing the vagina to become dry. This irritates the vagina and affects sex life. Symptoms include:
- Discomfort during physical activity
- Painful urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Chronic urinary tract infections.
If left untreated, it can cause cracks and tears in the vaginal lining leading to bleeding and the risk of infection.
Vaginal dryness is commonly caused by hormonal changes associated with menopause. During and after menopause, your vaginal wall becomes thinner, less elastic, and dry. A drop in levels of estrogen causing vaginal dryness can occur during menopause or at any age for various reasons.
Other Causes Include
Removal of ovaries or uterus, breastfeeding, and childbirth. Allergy and cold medications, anti-depressants, antihistamines, anti-estrogen drugs, birth control pills, cancer, drugs, and smoking and alcohol consumption, and/or frequent douching.
Autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s syndrome, which attacks moisture-producing cells in your body can lead to vaginal dryness. Diabetes is yet another cause. Using bubble baths, perfumed soaps, and lotions in your private areas can both cause and aggravate vaginal dryness. Other causes include lack of foreplay before sex and stress and intense exercise.
Slippery Elm for Vaginal Dryness
Slippery elm comes from the Ulmus rubra tree, native to North America. It is known to increase slippery wet mucilage tissues in the body, including in the vagina. It was used as a herbal remedy externally and internally by native Americans to treat vaginal dryness.
The slippery, slimy, red, mucilaginous inner bark of slippery elm is used as a soothing, healing agent and emollient. It also has amino acids, zinc, and manganese that promote reproductive health.
How to Use
It is available in capsule and powder form. You can take four capsules three times daily with warm water between mealtimes.
Mix two tablespoons of slippery elm powder with 8 ounces of water and heat in a saucepan. Stir till the mixture turns thick. Cool it and add natural oil like coconut oil if needed. Apply on your vagina and vulva twice a day to reduce vaginal dryness or use it as a lubricant during sex. Steep two tablespoons of the powder into 2 cups of boiling water to consume it as tea. Drink this thrice a day. Don’t drink the tea if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on any medication without consulting your doctor.
Other Home Remedies
Regular sex with increased foreplay and regular exercise can increase blood flow to the genital region and reduce vaginal dryness. Stop smoking and alcohol consumption, avoid scented personal hygiene products. Include phytoestrogen-containing foods like soy products, seeds, and nuts in your diet and stay hydrated.
You can use pure oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E suppositories to lubricate the vagina. You can also use creams containing Black cohosh and wild yam to treat vaginal dryness. Consult your doctor and do a patch test before using any of the remedies to rule out allergies.
When To Seek Medical Attention
Consult your doctor if irritation and pain do not subside and if severe vaginal bleeding or the condition affects your sex life. A doctor diagnoses this condition based on a physical pelvic exam, medical history, and blood tests to check your hormone levels.
Medical treatment includes topical creams containing estrogen and oral hormone therapy. In addition to these treatments, a flexible ring or estrogen tablets that release estrogen steadily may be inserted into your vagina using a disposable applicator. Over the counter, water-based lubricants are also available to provide temporary relief. However, since estrogen therapy can cause side effects like vaginal bleeding and breast pain, it is not the treatment of choice if you are pregnant or
breastfeeding, suffer from breast or endometrial cancer or have unexplained vaginal bleeding.