Vaginal dryness effects almost 20% of women aged over 40 rising to over 30% of women over 50 and can be caused by a different factors, namely the menopause as well as post-pregnancy recovery and some medications and cancer therapies.
Vaginal dryness happens to many women during the menopause but only half report it, according to new research published in the medical journal Menopause.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) followed 2,700 women over a 17-year period and discovered 19 per cent of those aged 42 to 53 reported vaginal dryness, rising to 34 per cent of those aged 57 to 69.
The vaginal dryness linked to the menopause is caused by the sudden fluctuations in hormone levels and its often the first symptom of the menopause that happens before other symptoms begin.
When the female hormone oestrogen drops during the menopause, it can also lead to the thinning of the vaginal walls, known as vaginal atrophy, which can cause vaginal skin to be damage more easily during sex which can leads to micro tears that then can become infected with bacteria or allow fungus that causes thrush to take hold in the weakened areas of skin.
Vaginal dryness can make sex and urination painful and everyday tasks uncomfortable.
But as winter approaches, even for those who only suffer mild or occasional bouts of vaginal dryness, the problem can get worse during the winter months.
Spending a lot of time in centrally heated rooms or offices can zap moisture from the skin and that includes vaginal skin too.
In addition, the drier colder air outside can also have a drying effect on all skin including intimate vaginal skin.
During the winter skin can become drier and chaff or crack more easily. As a results vaginal skin can become more easily damaged from sex, tampon use and exercise cause micro tears which can then quickly lead to infection with bad bacteria.
Wearing tights, thick trousers and thicker warmer underwear can also cause the vaginal area to breath less and so encourage the fungal growth that causes thrush, especially if vaginal skin is already more fragile with micro abrasions due to dryness.
In order to combat vaginal dryness in winter, experts recommend avoiding perfumed soaps and body washes and they can irritate already fragile dry vaginal skin and carrying out a daily moisturising regime both inside and outside the vagina to re-hydrate dry vaginal skin and keep the area more flexible.
In2mate is a NEW vaginal skincare range made in the UK that contains almost 100% natural ingredients to help rejuvenate and repair vaginal skin suffering from dryness and discomfort.
Improve vaginal flexibility
The key to preserving vaginal skin and keeping it younger and more flexible is antioxidants.
In2mate products are one of the first vaginal skincare products to contain a patented antioxidant PROTEOLEA® which has been proven to help rejuvenate vaginal skin slowing down age-related oxidised cellular waste degradation by optimising cellular recycling. This process helps improve flexibility and moisturisation for a more radiant appearance and healthier feel.
Healthy bacterial balance in intimate skin is crucial for maintaining good intimate health. The humid and airless environment of intimate skin especially during winter combined with sexual activity, makes for an ideal place for the breeding of bad bacteria and fungus.
In2mate skincare products contain a patented prebiotic Biolin ®, proven to help increase the good flora in the vagina while inhibiting the growth of bad vaginal bacteria that can lead to bacterial vaginitis, thrush and other bacterial infections and imbalances.
Biolin ® also repairs and strengthens vaginal skin damaged by age-related thinning, chaffing and abrasions.
To combat dryness, In2mate products contain Levan, a natural plant fructose that protects plants against damage from frost and drought by locking in moisture via the formation of a natural micro film over the plant’s surface.
Used on the skin it does the same thing. This ingredient is used in the In2mate lubricant to give internal vaginal skin a smoother more slippery feel.
Maintain a healthy vaginal pH
In2mate products keep vaginal at a pH of 4.5 or below. Normal skin is not as acidic as the vagina. Any product whether it’s a moisturiser, lubricant or wash will also be in contact with skin near the vagina. So In2mate have struck a healthy balance between the skin around the vagina and the tissue within. 4.5 is the perfect pH ‘balance’ because it’s not too high for the vagina and not too low for the skin.
Use non-chemical non-perfumed vaginal products
All In2mate products are VEGAN and over 99% natural. They contain no perfumes, parabens and only minimal preservatives, just enough to keep them safe.
The In2mate range includes a gentle, non-perfumed intimate wash, a light non-sticky non-perfumed intimate moisturiser and a natural-feeling non-perfumed rejuvenating lubricant.
Dr Elena Arias, director of the Graal Clinic in Puerto Banus, Spain and a qualified medical doctor and an international aesthetic doctor who specialises in non-invasive vaginal therapies says:
“As a specialist in non-invasive vaginal therapies I’m experienced in the ageing process of vaginal skin. Women come to me to try and help combat the aging symptoms of vaginal skin, which can cause a degree of pain and discomfort. People mistakenly assume vaginal rejuvenation therapies are only for cosmetic reasons, but in my experience the majority of women are seeking them predominantly to improve vaginal comfort, both during sex and in everyday activities. However, therapies are only one option. A regular nourishing vaginal skincare regime is also crucial for preserving vaginal skin.
The majority of intimate skincare products focus predominantly on anti-bacterial or cleansing actions, but a clean vagina is not necessarily a healthy one, in fact many intimate anti-bacterial agents can dry out vaginal skin and remove crucial healthy bacteria that the vagina needs. Rejuvenation of vaginal skin is the key to vaginal health. Vaginal skin ages like any other area of skin, and becomes drier, less flexible and thinner, leading to more abrasive damage and micro tears which in turn increase the risk of bacterial and fungal infections.
We don’t just apply anti-bacterial or cleansing products to our faces so why would we only do so to vaginal skin? Antioxidants are crucial for helping to slow down the ageing process of skin and in2mate products are the first intimate skincare products I have come across that contain antioxidants, which is a brilliant addition for products designed for us on the vaginal area. Antioxidants help improve elasticity and increase moisture retention in ageing skin and so are highly beneficial to vaginal skin for maintaining structural integrity of this fragile area, which can help improve overall vaginal comfort and health.”
In addition to a vaginal skincare regime, eating more greens per day can also boost circulation and help combat the dryness. Drinking coconut water, which contains lauric acid, can help fight the bacteria that can cause vaginal infections
Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night can also help fight skin dryness as it keeps the air from becoming too dry.
If vaginal dryness persists and is causing a lot of discomfort vaginal oestrogen in the form of a gel can help. Vaginal dryness is caused by a drop in oestrogen levels, which causes less natural lubrication to be produced. Your doctor should be able to prescribe a vaginal gel to help with this.
The worst thing you can do is to just try and ignore vaginal dryness as it rarely improves on its own. With careful management it can be greatly improved if not avoided altogether making sex more enjoyable and general life more comfortable with less risk of vaginal bacterial or fungal infections.