This is a common problem at Menopause as hormone levels decline.
Stress, anxiety, decreased blood flow, and dehydration are a few other factors that may contribute to decreased lubrication but there are some natural solutions that can help.
Fortunately, several supplements have been shown to help prevent vaginal dryness and enhance lubrication.
1. Bioidentical hormones
Many women have found that by using bioidentical hormones they can naturally help to increase both libido and lubrication. Progesterone is the hormone behind sex drive in women, and many do use this to help also with dryness.
However if the dryness is more extreme then you will also need a small amount of oestrogen and that is when a combined cream such as 20 to 1, which has both bioidentical progesterone and two natural oestrogens, will be more helpful.
Both creams can be used vaginally as well as on the skin: also it can be helpful for your skin application to be in the morning and vaginal application in the evening.
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that doubles as a disease-fighting antioxidant and some research suggests that it could also be beneficial for increasing lubrication and reducing vaginal dryness.
According to one study in 52 women, using a vitamin E suppository for 12 weeks was found to improve symptoms of vaginal atrophy, which is a condition characterised by the thinning and dryness of the vaginal walls.
Other studies have found that suppositories containing vitamin E, along with other ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin D, could improve symptoms of vaginal atrophy in women undergoing cancer treatments.
However more more a higher dose of oestrogen is usually found to be needed as well and can be prescribed by your doctor, whereas vitamin E suppositories may have to be bought privately.
3. Vitamin D
Sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin, this is produced in the skin cells as a result of sun exposure and although it is most well known for its role in bone health, studies show that it could also help increase female lubrication.
One review of six studies concluded that both oral vitamin D supplements and suppositories could decrease dryness and improve vaginal health during menopause and another study in 44 postmenopausal women found that using a vitamin D suppository daily for 8 weeks significantly decreased vaginal dryness, compared with a control group.
A study in 200 older women also showed that increased vitamin D levels in the blood were associated with improvements in vaginal moisture and consistency
Further benefits linked to vitamin D are help with low mood and depression, strokes and diabetes.The Endocrine Society recommends that adults take 1,500–2,000 IU per day in supplements to avoid vitamin D deficiency, BUTbear in mind that there can be too much of a good thing with vitamin D so don’t exceed the recommended limits.
4. Sea buckthorn oil
Sea buckthorn oil is a natural supplement derived from the leaves, seeds, and berries of the sea buckthorn plant which is the picture at the top of this article. It’s rich in essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, which can strengthen the barrier of the skin and protect against water loss.
In one study in 116 postmenopausal women with vaginal dryness, consuming 3 grams of sea buckthorn oil daily for 3 months was linked to significant improvements in vaginal tissue integrity. Women who used sea buckthorn oil also experienced more improvement in vaginal elasticity and moisture than those who used a placebo, although this was not statistically significant.
Sea buckthorn oil also plays a key role in other aspects of skin health. It may help enhance wound healing, stimulate tissue regeneration, and increase the making of collagen — a structural protein that gives skin strength and elasticity
5. Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule produced by the body and is known for its role in skin health and ageing. Although most commonly used in cosmetics, hyaluronic acid is also available over the counter in supplement form.
According to one older study, taking 5 mg of hyaluronic acid sodium salt for 8 weeks improved symptoms in 42 postmenopausal women with vaginal atrophy. Another 2-month study in 28 young women showed a supplement containing a combination of hyaluronic acid and glucosamine sulfate, alpha-lipoic acid, and vitamins A, C, and E improved vaginal dryness.
Topical gels and suppositories containing hyaluronic acid have also been shown to increase vaginal lubrication when used alone or combined with other ingredients like vitamin A and vitamin E.
6. Fish oil
Fish oil is a supplement often used to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of heart-healthy fat found primarily in fatty fish. Some research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could be beneficial for increasing female lubrication, especially during menopause.
One older study among 52 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors showed that taking 3.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acid daily for 6 months improved self-reported vaginal dryness.
Other studies have found that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids may naturally increase ostrogen levels, which may also help prevent vaginal dryness and been shown to increase skin hydration and reduce dryness.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a type of steroid hormone involved in oestrogen production and because its production naturally declines as you get older, it’s sometimes used as a supplement to help balance hormone levels and alleviate symptoms associated with menopause.
Multiple studies have also found that vaginal administration of DHEA could significantly improve female lubrication, reduce dryness, and increase levels of oestrogen in postmenopausal women.
While research on the effectiveness of oral DHEA supplements is still minimal, some older studies have found that it could increase and enhance sexual function.
Many women do feel inhibited about discussing this with their doctor, but they can often be essential in helping diagnose if what you have is dryness or vaginal atrophy.
The latter definitely will need a prescription initially to improve oestrogen levels and can be balanced with a combination cream such as 20-1 to give you ongoing balance with both progesterone and oestrogen.
This article can also help you identify what your particular condition is.
Do You Have Dryness, Vaginal Atrophy or Vaginitis?