Vaginal dryness is another reason for declining interest in sex. The vagina is kept moist because it produces vaginal secretions but declining estrogen levels tend to dry up these secretions. However the adrenal glands continue to produce oestrogens, as do fat cells, during and after the menopause. Supplementing vitamins A, C, E plus zinc, are also important for keeping vaginal membranes healthy and encouraging normal mucus production. These nutrients are available in good high potency multivitamin and mineral supplements, worth taking on a daily basis. Vitamin E cream used locally has helped many women with vaginitis. There’s also evidence that a phytoestrogen rich soya-based gel can help
There are also natural hormone creams that help, especially if you are deficient in hormones, for example progesterone. Natural estrogen creams such as Ovestin, which provides the much gentler estriol, have been successful in treating dryness and vaginitis and can also reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections, restore normal vaginal mucus membranes, and provide the right environment in the vagina to inhibit the growth of unfriendly organisms.
The late Dr Lee found that, when these women used progesterone creams rubbed into the skin to treat their vaginitis, they experienced similar benefits to those using estrogen cream. Progesterone cream is preferable for women who are advised against using estrogen therapy because of a history of breast, ovarian or uterine cancer.
As a woman nears the menopause mucous production in the vagina changes, alongside declining levels of estrogen. Vaginal infections are more common at this time and women on the Pill appear more susceptible. The oral contraceptive pill suppresses natural hormone production and it may be as a result of this that mucous production is affected.
Natural progesterone can help post-menopausal women with recurring urinary and vaginal infections, helping to lessen symptoms and improve mucous production. Estrogen replacement may be inappropriate for some women who might be at risk of breast or uterine cancer.