Dry mucous membranes during the menstrual cycle


It's hard to forget waking up in a tent on a sizzling summer's day. As the morning sun seeps in through the tent canvas, it's early morning inside the tent. When the sun starts to warm up, it creates a sauna-like feeling. The air is hot and stagnant, and you feel a bit confined and sweaty. One summer when I was just 12 years old, I woke up with my family in one of these sunny tents and realized, somewhat shockingly, that I'd had my first period. Unlike many other women of my generation, my mother had told me about periods, but despite this preparation, it was still a bit of a shock. It has been valuable to learn about and try to live in harmony with the menstrual cycle over the years. Just like the moon, the menstrual cycle goes through several different phases that affect us women both physically and emotionally, but few may know that the mucous membranes in the vagina are also affected and changed during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. So let's dig a little deeper ❤️


If you understand how the mucous membranes of the vagina and vulva are actually affected by the hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, it can be a good way to take better care of your genitals and your well-being.

Below is a more detailed description of these changes throughout the different phases of the menstrual cycle:

🌸 Menstrual phase (days 1-5)

Menstruation starts with the first day of menstruation when bleeding occurs. During this period, the thickened uterine lining (endometrium), which has been built up during the previous cycle to accommodate a fertilized egg, is pushed out of the uterus and leaves the body through the vagina. The menstrual phase usually lasts from 3 to 7 days. The vulva can feel more sensitive and irritated during this period due to blood circulation, which can also be exacerbated by the use of certain types of menstrual protection that can further dry out or irritate the skin. When estrogen levels are at their lowest after the end of menstruation, dryness can become more noticeable, contributing to a feeling of discomfort and the need for extra gentle care.

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🌸 Follicular phase (days 1-13)

The follicular phase starts at the same time as the menstrual phase. During this phase, the eggs in the ovaries mature, stimulated by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) secreted from the pituitary gland. The level of estrogen begins to increase to repair and rebuild the uterine lining. Technically, the menstrual phase is part of the follicular phase, but the follicular phase focuses more on the process leading up to ovulation. The follicular phase ends with ovulation and lasts an average of 14 days in a 28-day cycle, but can vary from person to person. During the follicular phase, the body slowly begins to rebuild the lining of the uterus, driven by increased estrogen levels. This increase contributes to increased natural lubrication in the vagina, making the mucous membranes feel smoother and more moist. This period can be experienced as a time of renewed wellbeing, where the discomfort of dry periods is reduced.

🌸 Ovulation (day 14 of a 28-day cycle)

Ovulation usually occurs mid-cycle, around day 14 of a 28-day cycle. This is when a mature egg is released from the ovary and travels down the fallopian tube, where it can be fertilized by a sperm cell. Ovulation is stimulated by a peak in luteinizing hormone (LH), which is also caused by increased estrogen levels. It is when estrogen levels are at their highest during ovulation that the effect on the mucous membranes is most evident. The increased lubrication is nature's way of making it easier for the sperm to reach the egg. At this time, sexual desire can also peak and the body feels more receptive and ready for intimacy, which is a direct effect of the increased moisture and elasticity of the mucous membranes.

🌸 The luteal phase (days 15-28)

It is after ovulation that the luteal phase starts, where the empty egg follicle develops into a structure called the corpus luteum. This secretes progesterone and some estrogen, which thickens the lining of the uterus in preparation for a possible pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, progesterone and estrogen levels drop, the corpus luteum breaks down and a new menstrual cycle starts. In the period after ovulation, progesterone is primarily responsible for maintaining the lining of the uterus, which can cause some women to experience a decrease in natural lubrication. This decrease can lead to a feeling of dryness or discomfort, especially while waiting for menstruation to return. During this period, it can be particularly important to pay extra attention to intimate hygiene.

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During the period before the onset of menstruation, there can be major hormonal fluctuations that affect both mood and your body. When it comes to the mucous membranes, changes in sensation and condition, such as increased sensitivity or swelling of the vulva, can make this period particularly challenging. If you understand and accept these changes as part of the natural cycle, you can deal with the symptoms in a more prepared and calm way.


It's common to associate dry skin with menopause, but it's important to emphasize that women of all ages can experience this condition. There is a misconception that only older women are affected. Younger women, even those in their 20s and 30s, can also experience vaginal dryness. This dryness can be caused by a number of reasons, not just hormonal changes associated with menopause.

Read more about the causes of dry mucous membranes here.

I've actually been meticulous about keeping a record of my menstrual cycle ever since that summer morning in the tent 38 years ago. Writing down your menstrual cycle in a menstrual app or calendar can be a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your body's natural rhythms and patterns. This way, you can find out what is normal for your body, and you can also better predict and understand how your mucous membranes are affected during the different phases of your menstrual cycle. ❤️

Take care of yourself & Stay Pussytive ❤️

/Fanny part of the VagiVital team