Vaginal dryness is a very common health condition in women and is one of those things that can happen at pretty much anytime in her life. Most often, vaginal dryness affects menopausal women due to estrogen loss. However, other common causes of vaginal dryness can include: taking certain medications (such as antihistamines), soaps/douches/perfumed wipes, stress (due to decreased blood flow to the area and less lubrication), the oral contraceptive pill and/or while breastfeeding.
My patient today, Lucy, had delivered a beautiful 8 pound baby girl three months prior and all was going incredibly well except for her vaginal dryness which occurred because she was breastfeeding. A change in hormone levels is the main reason for vaginal dryness in a woman at this time. This thirty-two year old new mom was very upset that she was experiencing vaginal dryness because not only was it uncomfortable but it also impacted the intimacy in her relationship. Sex was painful and this made her quite upset because this was a time when she wanted to express love and remain connected with her husband, John, but instead she was experiencing low sexual desire because of the pain.
Lucy came to see me as she needed advice on how to treat her vaginal dryness. She had heard that coconut oil was an option, and she was quite keen on this because it was natural. Rightly so, she was nervous to use anything other than a natural product while breastfeeding.
Coconut oil is one of the most effective treatments for vaginal dryness. Coconut oil works immediately and may also serve as a fine lubricant during intercourse. It is non-irritating to the vagina and virtually has no side effects. I told Lucy that taking 1-2 tablespoons daily by mouth may help to manage her vaginal dryness from the inside. The one drawback is that coconut oil MANAGES versus TREATS vaginal dryness.
There are many other remedies that can help to provide symptom relief as well as treat the underlying issue. For example, I often recommend RepaGyn® (a hormone free vaginal ovule) which is formulated with hyaluronic acid to offer moisturization and helps to heal the thin, dry and fragile vaginal tissue. You could also try Dr. U Aqua (hormone free vaginal cream) which contains tea tree oil to help moisturize. Both of these options are safe to use during breastfeeding.
If Lucy felt that the coconut oil was sufficient to manage her vaginal dryness then that would be great. However, she left my office armed with more information about vaginal dryness and available options to not only manage but treat the issue. Now, she is more than equipped to get back to the bedroom, with John, comfortably and pain-free.