Natural Wellness, Beauty & Lifestyle |

Vaginal Dryness / Atrophy

Find out what causes vaginal dryness, and what can be done about it from a naturopathic perspective. We cover dietary, lifestyle and supplement advice.

What is vaginal dryness?

Vaginal dryness is a symptom which can be caused by a decrease in hormone levels, breastfeeding or certain medications. It’s most commonly associated with menopause. It can cause pain when sitting, exercising, urinating and during sexual intercourse[I].

Why do we get vaginal dryness?

Normally, the vaginal lining is lubricated with fluid that helps maintain elasticity. Without natural lubrication, dryness can lead to discomfort. It can occur at any age, although one main cause is reduced oestrogen production in the ovaries during menopause[ii].

What are the risks associated with developing vaginal dryness?

As well as pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness can also present other issues such as an increased risk of vaginal infections or urinary tract infections. It may also result in a decreased libido or sexual desire. Prolonged or untreated vaginal dryness can potentially lead to vaginal atrophy, a condition seen to be defined by thinning, inflammation, and reduced elasticity of the vaginal tissues. Vaginal atrophy can be reversed by a number of different treatment options.

When it comes to finding solutions for vaginal dryness it’s important to identify - where possible, the underlying cause. Hormonal changes, medical conditions, stress, and lifestyle factors can all contribute to dryness.

In the majority of cases, vaginal dryness occurs when oestrogen levels decrease. This occurs naturally as you age or during menopause. Menopause is when your menstrual period ends permanently. You can read more about menopause and perimenopause in our other articles When oestrogen levels decline, the skin and tissues of the vulva and vagina become thinner and less elastic, and the vagina can become dry[iii].

Why is nutritional therapy important for vaginal dryness?

A balanced diet can provide key nutrients that support hormonal balance.

As is the case with a lot of menopausal symptoms, the drop in oestrogen is problematic. In terms of collagen, this drop in oestrogen can also reduce this vital structural protein which keeps our skin plump and elastic. Therefore, eating for vaginal health should be based on similar principles that would apply for the skin on your face and the rest of your body[iv].

Collagen: In terms of vaginal dryness, collagen is a vital structural tissue component to keep at optimal levels. This can be achieved through diet and supplemental intake. The main thing to consider for collagen is vitamin C. Eating plenty of foods rich in vitamin C is essential, because the body uses it to produce collagen. A red pepper contains about twice as much vitamin C per 100g as an orange, and broccoli, cabbage, kale and other leafy greens[v]. True Collagen (200g) and Buffered Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C).

Healthy fats: To combat vaginal dryness, incorporate omega-3 rich foods into your diet, such as consuming oily fish like salmon, sardines, or mackerel three times a week, adding a tablespoon of flax seeds to your morning cereal, and snacking on walnuts and almonds. These fats in our body can contribute to the natural lubrication in our tissues[vi].

Phytoestrogens: You may have heard that isoflavones found in soya are phytoestrogens which are plant compounds that mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body. Some research suggests that they may help to relieve vaginal dryness. For the best sources of phytoestrogens, fermented soya products like miso, tempeh or natto are likely to be more beneficial than processed soya products like milk or yoghurt[vii]. Menovive (60 Caps) (Phytoestrogens).

Supplement recommendations for vaginal dryness

Viridian Synerbio Daily High Strength Probiotic: Probiotics are bacteria that have a positive effect on the human body. Research suggests that probiotics might help relieve the symptoms of vaginal atrophy[viii][ix]. Some women with vaginal atrophy might also develop urinary problems, and probiotics might also be helpful in managing vaginal dryness.

Cytoplan Caprylic Acid Plus: Caprylic acid is a fatty acid that is sometimes recommended for treating vaginal dryness. It is thought to have properties that can fight fungal and bacterial growth in the vagina, which may help restore a healthy balance and reduce dryness and related symptoms[x][xi].

Terranova Dong Quai Soya Sprout Complex: Dong Quai is used to treat female reproductive problems. These include vaginal dryness, premenstrual syndrome, menopausal symptoms and hot flashes[xii].

Terranova Omega 3 - 6 - 7 - 9 Oil Blend: Omega fats, such as those found in this flax-based supplement, can help alleviate vaginal dryness by promoting healthy vaginal tissue and lubrication[xiii].

Erbology Organic Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil: Pure sea buckthorn berry oil is healing and rejuvenating due to rare omega-7, beta-carotene and other powerful phytonutrients. Studies have proven sea buckthorn to be of great benefit to those experiencing vaginal dryness as symptoms were reduced[xiv].

Lifestyle suggestions for vaginal dryness

Avoid Irritants: Use mild, unscented soaps and detergents to avoid potential irritants that can contribute to irritation in the vaginal area. Some soaps and fragrances can disrupt the delicate pH and microbiome of the vagina, so look out for products intended for use as an intimate wash, or simply use water[xv].

Smoking: Consider quitting smoking as smoking tobacco decreases natural oestrogen levels and increases the risk of developing vaginal atrophy, as well as many other conditions[xvi].

Water: Adequate hydration is a basic requirement for maintaining vaginal health, as dehydration would likely contribute to vaginal atrophy and the discomfort of dryness and itching. The recommended amount of water intake varies based on many factors such as age, physical activity level, and temperature of the environment, but consuming approximately 6-8 glasses of water per day is generally appropriate advice. Non-caffeinated hot beverages such as herbal teas also count towards a hydrating daily drink[xvii].

Functional testing options for vaginal dryness

The DUTCH test: can examine levels of oestrogen. Oestrogen dominance causes a variety of sexual issues, including vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and sexual dysfunction. This occurs when you don't have enough progesterone to balance out your oestrogen and is very common in perimenopause[xviii].

Female Hormone Cycle Mapping: Likewise, this test can provide an insight over a full female cycle to assess oestrogen and progesterone fluctuations throughout the cycle. This ‘mapping’ test provides a clear insight into the cycle so any fluctuations from the normal pattern can be easily identified[xix].

Want more Advice?

Talk to Us
Want more Advice?

Related Products


Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.