Know what can rob you of an otherwise amazing orgasm? Vaginal dryness. If you experience it, you may have started not enjoying sex, avoiding it, and wondering what’s wrong with your body.
Relax. Vaginal dryness is something many women can experience during their lifetimes, and there’s usually a reason why it’s happening that’s easy to fix.
Even though you definitely need birth control, your hormonal birth control pill could be the reason you’re feeling like the Sahara down there. Not all women will experience vaginal dryness due to their birth control, and not all birth control results in dryness, but if you’re in the middle of a dry spell, it’s worth investigating.
Let’s talk about what vaginal dryness is, the main reasons we get it, and how your birth control could be lowkey ruining your sex life. We’ll also give you some easy ways to get relief, treat vaginal dryness, and feel better fast.
What Is Vaginal Dryness
If having less comfortable sex is new to you, it can be confusing to figure out what’s going on. Here’s a little anatomy lesson to help it make better sense.
When you’re aroused, special glands on either side of your vaginal opening called Bartholin glands release fluid that keeps you lubricated during penetrative sex. This makes sex comfortable for you and prevents you from chaffing, tearing, or experiencing an injury.
When those glands don’t produce enough fluid, you can experience pain, discomfort, and even injury from having sex. This is vaginal dryness. Symptoms of vaginal dryness can include:
- Pain during and after sex
- Feeling like you don’t produce enough natural lubrication (or any at all)
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting during or after sex
- Difficulty inserting tampons
- Pain while wiping
Vaginal dryness can affect your everyday activities that aren’t related to sex (like wiping and using tampons), so even if you aren’t sexually active, you can still have side effects from vaginal dryness.
How To Tell if You Have Vaginal Dryness
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s a good indication you could be experiencing a bout of vaginal dryness. There can be many reasons why it happens, but you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk about it.
Your doctor will take a quick medical history and discuss your symptoms with you. They’ll also perform a pelvic exam, which can help determine whether your vaginal tissues are thinning (which happens naturally as you get older).
After your exam, your doctor will likely make some recommendations about future care and help you determine if your birth control could be the reason you’re experiencing dryness.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness can be caused by numerous different factors. While it is most commonly experienced by menopausal-aged women (ages 45-55), about 17 percent of women between the ages of 18-50 experience it.
The two causes of vaginal dryness relate to low estrogen and low testosterone, but there are numerous reasons your estrogen and testosterone levels can be waning.
You’ll likely reach menopause in your mid-forties to mid-fifties. During this time, you’ll go through changes that may remind you of the hormonal overload you experienced as a teenager. The side effects, however, are somewhat different.
Because your body is producing less and less estrogen at this time, you can experience vaginal atrophy. This condition refers to the thinning and drying of vaginal tissues that naturally occurs during menopause.
Postpartum women experience lower estrogen levels, which can be compounded if they decide to breastfeed. Breastfeeding inhibits the natural return of higher estrogen levels, resulting in vaginal dryness and lower libido.
Once you stop breastfeeding, your estrogen levels should return to normal if they don’t speak to your doctor about your options.
Disease Treatment and Management
Treatment for cancers like chemotherapy, some medications, and even common diseases like diabetes can all change your hormone levels, resulting in lower than normal estrogen or testosterone levels.
If you’ve just begun treatment for a new condition or have been recently diagnosed with a new medical condition, that could be the cause of your vaginal dryness.
Some birth control pills can cause vaginal dryness. Birth control affects the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body. By doing this, they can cause imbalances that lead to vaginal dryness.
Some pills are more likely to affect your ability to self-lubricate than others. Birth control naturally lowers testosterone levels in your body, and testosterone helps your Bartholin glands produce enough lubricating fluid.
Hormonal birth control that decreases your estrogen can cause vaginal tissues to remain dry, and even cause the tissues to thin out, making them more susceptible to feeling chaffed or raw after intercourse.
Pills containing progesterone are popular and often prescribed to help reduce hormonal skin issues like acne but cause loss of libido and vaginal dryness.
Solutions for Vaginal Dryness
First things first: if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, talk about it; with your partner, your doctor, and yourself. Getting honest about what’s going on is the first step in getting relief, even if it feels super uncomfortable.
Next, look for a solution. Here are # ways to get relief.
1. Change Your Birth Control
You have access to more birth control options than ever before. As such, you shouldn’t feel like you have to use one that doesn’t work for you.
You also aren’t limited to hormonal birth control methods, either. You can use non-hormonal birth control options like the copper IUD, condoms, or even the calendar. A different birth control pill may give you fewer side effects if you’d rather use hormonal birth control.
2. Lubricating Jellies
One of the most reliable solutions for occasional vaginal dryness is lubricating jelly. In fact, your doctor usually uses some when giving you a pelvic exam. There are numerous different brands you can try.
Some lubricating formulas are thin, easily absorbed, and don’t leave you feeling sticky or messy. These are a great solution if you’ve tried jellies before and hated them.
3. Vaginal Moisturizers
Yes, vaginal moisturizers are totally a thing. Just like you moisturize other areas of your skin, vaginal moisturizers are made to moisturize the delicate, thin tissues of your labia and vulva. You apply a vaginal moisturizer externally.
Over time, using a vaginal moisturizer can increase hydration and help keep your tissues comfortable.
4. Increasing Your Water Intake
It’s estimated that 75 percent of us are walking around super dehydrated, and we don’t even know it. Increasing your water intake can help you rehydrate your entire body and ensure that your most delicate tissues get enough water to stay healthy.
Water intake can also help regulate the way your Bartholin glands produce moisture. If you aren’t consuming enough water, they may not be able to produce moisture properly.
5. Use Soothing Vulvar Care
While you’re searching for remedies for vaginal dryness, you need products to help you stay comfortable. Rael has the solution with our soothing vulva care products.
Designed to give you relief from conditions like burning, itching, dryness, and issues with your pH balance, our vulva care line is made up of products with natural ingredients that won’t irritate your skin or harm your body.
Soothing Gel to Foam Feminine Wash. Washing can make you wince if you’re dealing with vaginal dryness. If your labia are irritated, anything that touches your skin can feel painful.
Our gel to foam wash is designed to give you a gentle cleanse without causing discomfort or irritation. Formulated with only natural ingredients, our wash helps balance your pH levels and helps you feel fresh and confident.
Soothing Vulva Relief Gel. Ouch! Vaginal dryness can leave you feeling miserable after intercourse or even after a simple, everyday task like wiping—Rael’s Soothing Vulva Relief Gel to the rescue.
Apply our gel and get instant, non-greasy relief from natural ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid. Absorbs quickly for mess-free comfort.
Soothing Feminine Mist. The perfect solution for instant vaginal hydration without feeling goopy, sticky, or messy. Our soothing feminine mist absorbs quickly, helps hydrate your delicate vaginal tissues, and deodorizes with natural ingredients that won’t irritate your skin or harm your body.
Small enough to fit in your bag, it’s the best way to get relief on the go (or anytime you need it) and use it.
Rael’s soothing vulva care line is your go-to for getting relief fast and without harsh ingredients or uncomfortable consistencies that make you feel gross.
Vaginal dryness can happen to anyone, but it’s nothing you can’t handle with the right products and some honest conversations. Rael has you covered with the products you need that really work, give you relief fast, and never leave you feeling uncomfortable.
Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Bartholin Gland | StatPearls
Vaginal Dryness: Causes & Treatment | ClevelandClinic.org
Vaginal dryness | Womens Health.org
What birth controls cause dryness down there? | Planned Parenthood.orgWhich birth control pills can help reduce acne? | NCBI