Fertility

How to soothe and prevent vaginal dryness, naturally

Jessie Day  |  30 May 2023


From day-to-day hormonal shifts to more specific reproductive phases – for example building up to (or during) menopause, or after having a baby – your vagina handles a lot of change. And hormones play a big role in vaginal dryness, which can hit suddenly and often when you have a lot going on besides. 

To help you work out how to treat vaginal dryness, we’ve put together a handy pocket guide. From natural remedies and the right lube – we love this one by AH! YES in the US and YES in the UK – to specific support before and during menopause, it’s all here. Bookmark it for next time you feel that tell-tale feeling of dryness. 

Before we get started, rule number one is not to ignore it. If you’re in discomfort, give yourself a break and get support. Whether it’s your doctor or gynecologist, trying a natural vaginal moisturizing gel or (gently) switching up your intimate care routine, there are so many (lovely) ways to put yourself first, prioritize self care and keep your vagina happy.

Why am I dry down there all of a sudden?

It’ll come as no surprise to hear that your vagina is one of the most sensitive parts of your body. Incredible, but sensitive, and prone to feeling out of sorts if things aren’t balanced, or looked after, just-so. 

Vaginal dryness is a problem for around 17 per cent of us, even before we begin menopause. After perimenopause, more than half of us will experience it. So dryness ‘down there’ is something you’re absolutely not alone in navigating, as unique as your vagina is. 

Surges or dips in hormone levels, our menstrual cycle, pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding and menopause – and even some medications – can all cause vaginal dryness. Here’s a quick round-up of the most common triggers, and a bit of the science behind what may be going on.

Why-am-I-dry-down-there-all-of-a-sudden-vaginal-dryness-YES

Estrogen decrease, and/or menopause

Natural aging causes our estrogen levels to decrease, particularly during menopause (and some of us may already be deficient). Absence of estrogen can affect the vaginal membrane itself, making it dryer, thinner and less supple – and more prone to damage. 

Childbirth

Again, estrogen levels tumble after giving birth. If this is you, give your hormones all the time they need to recover, and focus on really gentle self care during this time. If after six to eight weeks you’re still feeling discomfort – from dryness to pain, especially during sex – check in with your healthcare team and get their professional support. 

Breastfeeding

Estrogen drops after childbirth, and takes another hit if and while we’re breastfeeding. In fact, the AH! YES team have written a fantastic blog post on vaginal dryness from breastfeeding, and how to treat it. 

Did you know, for example, that breastfeeding actually mimics menopause? Prolactin, the hormone responsible for breast milk production, temporarily blocks estrogen production, which can cause that feeling of dryness – especially while you’re breastfeeding more frequently in the early months. 

Hormonal birth control 

By definition, hormonal birth control changes your natural hormone balance. People react differently to the various types of birth control available, and while many do experience an onset of vaginal dryness, others might see no obvious side effects at all. 

Specific conditions, medications and health procedures 

Medications, including anti-estrogen meds like the ones used to treat fibroids or endometriosis, procedures like an oophorectomy (to remove the ovaries) and certain conditions – Sjogren’s syndrome is one – can all cause or help trigger vaginal dryness. Some antidepressants and antihistamines can also be a root cause. 

Not being aroused 

Sex when you’re not aroused is another one. We’ve covered sex when you’re trying to conceive (TTC), and how to get past a lack of arousal, but lots of other factors can be at play.

From hormones again (we need a specific balance to have great natural lubrication) to psychological factors – stress is a common culprit – and everything in-between, supporting this aspect of your vaginal and sexual wellbeing can have a big impact.

Scented cleansers, soaps & care products 

Perfumed soaps, douches, washes and sprays – plus anything containing these gynecologist no-no’s – can disrupt your vagina’s natural pH balance, as well as your hormones, triggering dryness. Look for products which focus on supporting natural balance, like the AH! YES Cleanse range (YES® CLEANSE in the UK).

Natural remedies

Diving into the list of possible causes set out in this guide will be your best starting point for long-term relief from vaginal dryness. Some things, like our intimate care regimen and product choices are easy to tweak. Others, like beginning menopause, are more fundamental. 

Whatever the root cause, we can almost always ease symptoms like vaginal dryness with natural treatments and remedies, plus products specifically designed to provide rapid relief. 

Here are a few of our favorites. 

Water-based lube and moisturizer

Over and above other tweaks and tricks, your go-to for vaginal dryness is the right lube, just before sex, according to our recent Insta poll. And we’d very-much agree.  

Intimate lubricants aren’t all made equal, sadly. With so much choice on the market, it’s tricky to pick something just right for you. But if vaginal dryness is an issue, we’d recommend going for a water-based lube to help get sex back to being more comfortable. For tip-top rehydration and soothing creds, this one is our favorite, when buying in the US. And in the UK you can pick it up here

Fertility Help

Alongside lube, using a vaginal moisturizer can be a game-changer for relieving everyday itching, discomfort and dryness. Again, go for a moisturizer which is pH matched to the vagina, and is iso-osmotic (the osmolality controls how much moisture is released into the vaginal membrane – our go-to is the AH! YES VM Natural Vaginal Moisturizer (in the UK it’s this one). Both provide a long-lasting moisture boost, and have smart release features which means it only releases as much moisture are your vagina needs – we use a moisturizer two to three times a week to ease dryness.

Estrogen cream or suppositories

Your healthcare provider may suggest a topical estrogen cream to help prevent dryness. As we’ve looked at already, a drop in estrogen is likely to trigger vaginal itching and discomfort, so supplementing and using estrogen topicals can help support your hormones, bringing things back into balance. 

Always consult your doctor or healthcare provider before starting estrogen supplementation.

Avoid douching, hygiene sprays and harsh washes

From gynecologists to product development teams, most experts agree that douching is a no-no. It can make your vagina even dryer and more irritated, so pull it out of your routine if in doubt. The same goes for scented sprays and products using tissue-damaging parabens.

Instead, think cleansing. The vulva should be regularly cleansed, but this should be with a pH-matched intimate wash, to avoid throwing off that delicate balance, and triggering more dryness. We keep our faves from the AH! YES Cleanse range (YES® CLEANSE in the UK) on the shower shelf for just this reason – they’re sensitively formulated to respect this area with a richly foaming, cleansing lather. Lovely.

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Go for foreplay

If you’re not in the mood, you’re not aroused. And if you’re not aroused, as we’ve covered, sex can be uncomfortable, even painful, due to a lack of that all-important wetness, and natural lubrication. 

For some people, foreplay is the best part of sex (all that stimulation and touch – yes please!). For others, we may need a little reminding. Grab your (water-based, organic, gorgeously silky-smooth) lube and apply to your vagina, (and your partner’s penis, if they have one) right before you get started. 

Whether it drives excitement (amazing) or lubrication (lovely) or both (ding! ding!), it’s a fantastic tool to have in your kit, should dryness strike. 

Hydrate

Sounds obvious, right? To be hydrated ‘down there’, we need to drink more water. But so many of us don’t drink enough – guilty here, at team TRB – especially while balancing busy lifestyles, breastfeeding or during times when our intake needs are higher (when we travel, or in hot weather, for example). 

Try to get at least two liters of water in a day, and up intake of hydration-boosting foods like watermelon, cucumber, berries and melons – all lovely ingredients to pack into a smoothie with coconut water for an added electrolyte surge.

All YES products are a total treat – the team here at TRB absolutely love them for their always organic, side effect-free ingredients and vagina-respecting properties. Shop their gorgeous range here in the US (for an exclusive 20% off use code TRB20) and here in the UK (also 20% off with code TRB20).

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