One in four women suffer from vaginal dryness at some point in their lives. Most women are aware that vaginal dryness can often occur as a result of hormonal imbalances, most commonly in the approach to and during the menopause as oestrogen level start to deplete as well as after childbirth. Lack of sexual arousal and anxiety about sex are also common causes for vaginal dryness.
However, what if you are not of menopausal age, have not recently given birth and are in a happy and fulfilling sexual relationship yet you are still experiencing vaginal dryness?
Here are 6 surpsiing things that might be adding to or even causing the problem.
One of the side effects of smoking can be vaginal dryness.
Vaginal lubrication relies on increases blood flow to the vagina during sexual arousal.
Smoking restricts blood flow to your body’s tissues, including your vagina. This can impact sexual stimulation, arousal, and lubrication.
2. Hay fever
Most people who suffer from hay fever take antihistamines to control their symptoms, yet a relatively unknown side effect of anti histamines is vaginal dryness.
Antihistamines block the action of histamines, which are inflammatory compounds from the immune system. While antihistamines block the effects of allergic responses, they can also block responses that regulate neurotransmitters responsible for vaginal lubrication.
So, while antihistamines may dry out your sinuses they can also reduce vaginal lubrications and leave you with vaginal dryness.
3. Your washing powder
Its tempting when washing underwear to use fragranced washing liquids so your smalls smell sweet.
However, the more fragrance a washing liquid has the more likely they are to cause an allergic skin reaction in your vagina. Vaginal skin reactions typically cause itching, which if scratched can lead to micro skin damage and vaginal dryness.
Many women mistake vaginal skin reactions from underwear for vaginal thrush and use anti-fungal creams to try and clear it up. However, if the problem is a skin reaction and not a fungal infection, then anti fungal creams can make the situation even worse and cause extreme dryness and soreness in the vulva.
Its much healthier for your vagina to stick to non biological non perfumed washing products for your underwear.
Many of us like to have a few drinks to loosen up before sex, but in fact alcohol could be causing more problems than it solves. Alcohol is a diuretic which means it takes moisture from your body, and this includes your vagina.
If you body has less fluid it will concentrate it in the most crucial areas and this does not include your vagina so it will be one of the first areas to suffer if you do not have enough fluid in your body.
In addition, alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant. This means that your nerve endings become less when you drink alcohol, meaning your clitoris will become less sensitive and reduce your body’s response to produce lubrication.
5. Your workout
Sports vagina is an actual term used for vaginal discomfort that occurs with exercise. Your vulval and vaginal areas produce quite a lot of sweat when you work out, which can quickly lead to bacterial or fungal growth in the vagina which can cause discomfort and dryness if the sweat is not washed off fairly soon after exercise.
The vulva and vagina should be rinsed off straight after exercise and fresh underwear put on to avoid bacterial or fugal build up.
These are designed to make you feel happier but they may not make your vagina feel very happy.
Some of the most common antidepressants, such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants are designed to alter communication between nerve cells and the brain. While this can be beneficial to mood, it also can slow communication from your vagina to your brain, resulting in less lubrication.
The effects of antidepressants are highly related to their dose. The higher the dose you’re on, the more likely you are to experience vaginal dryness.
While you shouldn’t ever just stop taking your antidepressants, you should talk to your GP if you are experiencing vaginal dryness side effects and use a natural lubricant or a progesterone cream to relieve the problem.