I've been really fascinated lately by the topic of vaginal health and truthfully so has my tribe who's been almost whispering their questions secretly through their emails. And out of all the topics I've surveyed about, vaginal dryness is probably the most requested. It's why I've created my free Vaginal 411 Guide because women need help! The reality is that many women are suffering silently having painful sex due to fissures and tears. So in your Quickie of the week, I thought it would be best to talk about:
Feminine dryness remedies: What you didn't know about.
And check this out, when I did survey my free and private Sexy Food Therapy FB group, they had mentioned that they felt that experiencing vaginal dryness made them feel old. That on the flip side a lubricated vagina made them feel sexy, young and "normal."
What most people don't realize is that vaginal dryness is not exclusive to only those going through menopause so I wanted to outline some causes and what you can do about it. And I warn you folks this is a long one but packed with info and a delicious muffin recipe (a muffin for your muffin!) "down below"
Time to break it down:
The importance of arousal
I realize that this is something that is a bit of a no-brainer because to become lubricated, we need to become aroused. And the reality is that many women and men aren't taking the time to connect on a deeper level and there are far too many women out there who are completely disconnected from their vaginas. I mean do you remember the Sex and the City episode when Samantha encourages Charlotte to check out her vagina with a mirror?
One of the most fascinating tools that has recently launched is OMGyes, which is an online platform for women and couples to connect sexually. This company took a large sample of women and surveyed them and found that women were aroused by certain methods of stimulation. Is the site explicit? For sure, but it's also an incredible tool that is bringing couples together and breaking taboos about the vagina - which isn't a dirty word people.
Out of whack hormone levels
The reality is that hormones like your good estrogens can be low.
Estrogen also affects your tissues in and around your vagina, causing the lining of your vagina to be thicker and more elastic. It also stimulates the cells that line your vagina to produce glycogen which allows for friendly bacteria protect your vagina from infections.
After the menopause your ovaries make less estrogen but I'm certainly starting to see in my practice many women experiencing it leading up to menopause. The lack of estrogen leads to thinning of the tissues around your vagina and less of the glands that make mucus. You may also find that you'll lose some fat tissue from around your vagina. This may make the area also look a little different to how it was before the menopause.
From a food perspective adding in foods like flaxseeds are an excellent way to support these good estrogens. Here's a delicious grain-free chocolate chunk muffin recipe to enjoy.
- 2 cups ground flaxseed
- 1 tsp alcohol-free stevia (I like Sweet Leaf or Better Stevia from NOW)
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan rock salt
- 5 large eggs
- ½ cup water, room temperature
- 1/3 cup MCT oil
- 2 tsp organci vanilla extract
- 1 bar of 80% dark chocolate (or 70% if you prefer sweeter) cut into small chunks.
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-count muffin pan. Set aside.
- Combine flax seed with stevia, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine fully and set aside.
- Add eggs, water, oil and vanilla extract to your Vitamix or other high-powered blender. Blend on high until foamy - about 20-30sec.
- Combine liquid mixture with the flaxseed mixture. Stir gently with preferably a spatula until combined. The mixture will be very fluffy. Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Fold in the chocolate chunks to finish.
- Spoon mixture into muffin pan almost 90% of the way up. If you fill it up completely the muffin mixture will pour over when they rise.
- Bake muffins for 13-15 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and remove muffins right away and place on a cooling rack.
- These freeze really well for up to three months and they're also yummy toasted. They'll keep nicely in the fridge for up to 4 days.
But you can't rule out low testosterone
It's true, diminished testosterone in women can reduce the muscle tone in the vagina and lessens sexual sensitivity.
And while progesterone may play a role, you may be wondering why is this all happening?
The reality is that as we age our hormones decline which is the reason I developed Sexy Lady Balls to coach women through their hormonal lifestyle and address issues like vaginal dryness. So never self-diagnose because it's important that you're assessed by a qualified practitioner.
I spoke about this in the video but medications like diuretics, various cold medications, anti-histamines, the birth control pill, Depo-Provera and sleeping and anxiety aids like Ativan and Xanax. So vaginal dryness is not exclusive to only women going through menopause. Almost everyone I see in practice is or has been on these medications, so they need to be factored into the mix.
During menstruation our estrogen levels fall, so for some women vaginal dryness is pretty bad during or just before their periods. Many of the women I've spoken to have difficulties even inserting a menstrual cup.
In this instance, I would strongly suggest adding a non-toxic silicone-based lube like Pjur.
Anxiety & Stress
The reality is that we live in a fast-paced world where everything was due yesterday and stress does restrict blood flow which is needed to get aroused and lubricated.
So what do you we do? Here's your action plan:
- Write down everything you're resentful for.
- Analyze where you can take responsibility in those resentments.
- Then set boundaries.
- Learn to say, "No" when you're always saying, "Yes."
- Lastly, ask for help (because let's face it, many of us suck at that)
Smoking, booze & coffee
Many of us use at least one of these and it's because they're crutches. A crutch to get started in the morning and take a poop or a drink just to relax finally. I'm not saying that you should never drink or even have coffee. What I am saying is that excess amounts of it (>4 servings of alcohol per week, two cups of coffee per day - even one for some depending) can cause the body to dehydrate. And it's important to note that what you put into your body and into your digestive system will impact your vagina. Your vaginal health is also a reflection of your digestive.
I see either two different types of women in practice generally, either they're sedentary or over exercising. In no way am I saying Crossfit, spin classes and bootcamps are bad, but if there is adrenal fatigue, then these are likely the wrong types of workouts. I did HIIT and actually gained weight in my hormonal struggles, why: because it was continually taxing my adrenals leading to dehydration and blood flow. With the right workouts, women can get the results they want, spare their adrenals and their vaginas too.