Dry mucous membranes or atrophy as it's also called have become a part of my life. Although I have gained a lot of knowledge about how dry mucous membranes can affect women's everyday life, their relationship and well-being, I have not yet had any personal experience. As I approach the threshold of menopause, I am now very aware of my own mucous membranes. Extremely aware. Studying them closely and taking note of every little change. Getting ready and trying to prepare myself for the winds of the Sahara desert to blow in any moment now. Because dry mucous membranes are actually something that seems to be a pain in the ass for the women affected, but there is hope ❤.
First and foremost. No, NOT ALL women suffer from dry mucous membranes. It is not an inevitable judgment that no woman can escape. At least I needed to hear that. It is estimated that about 50% of all women experience dry mucous membranes at some point in their lives. This is often associated with hormonal changes during the menopause. The reason why some women do not experience dry mucous membranes during menopause can vary. There are also several factors that can play a role in reducing the risk or mitigating the symptoms of dry mucous membranes. As with everything else, it is of course good to be informed. If you have knowledge, you can more easily make your own active choices, which means that you also "own" your vagina - with or without dry mucous membranes ❤.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MUCOUS MEMBRANES DURING VAGINAL DRYNESS?
During vaginal dryness, the mucous membranes in the vagina become thin, dry and less elastic than normal. The mucous membranes of the vagina usually produce a natural moisture and lubrication, which helps to keep the vagina healthy and comfortable. When the mucous membranes become dry, they can lose their natural moisture and lubrication, which can lead to several unpleasant symptoms and other complications.
WHAT DOES VAGINAL DRYNESS FEEL LIKE?
Vaginal dryness can give rise to a number of unpleasant symptoms. These can vary in intensity and are experienced differently from person to person. Common symptoms of vaginal dryness include:
The main indication of vaginal dryness is a feeling of dryness in the vagina. It can feel like there is a lack of moisture and lubrication.
🌸 Itching and irritation
Dry mucous membranes can cause itching and irritation in the vagina and the surrounding area. It can be uncomfortable and irritating.
🌸 Sweating or burning sensation
Some women may experience a burning or stinging sensation in the vagina, especially during activities such as intercourse or urination.
🌸 Pain or discomfort during sex
Vaginal dryness can make intercourse painful and uncomfortable. It can be felt as friction or an abrasion, which can lead to discomfort and pain.
🌸 Increased susceptibility to injury
When mucous membranes are dry, they become more sensitive and prone to injury. This can result in small sores and cracks in the vagina. These can be very small and may even be difficult to detect visually. However, they can cause discomfort and pain, especially during or after intercourse. Symptoms can range from mild to more intense and can include burning, stinging, pain or soreness in the vagina.
🌸 Frequent urinary tract infections
Dry mucous membranes can increase the risk of urinary tract infections because the natural protection and pH balance of the vagina can be affected.
🌸 Greater vulnerability to infections
Dry mucous membranes can make the vagina more susceptible to infections, including yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
FACTORS AFFECTING THE RISK OF DRY MUCOUS MEMBRANES
Genes play a role in the body's production of hormones, including oestrogen, which is important for maintaining healthy genital mucosa. Certain genetic factors can affect the production of hormones and thus have an indirect impact on the risk of dry mucous membranes and atrophy. It is known that there are genetic variations that can affect the amount and activity of oestrogen receptors in the body. Estrogen receptors play an important role in regulating mucosal health and moisture. If there are genetic variations that affect the function of oestrogen receptors, it may increase the risk of developing dry mucous membranes. Much research is still needed to understand the exact genetic link to dry mucous membranes and atrophy.
Hormonal changes, particularly reduced estrogen levels, may be one of the main causes of vaginal dryness in women. Estrogen is a hormone that plays an important role in maintaining the health and function of the vaginal mucosa. It stimulates the production of natural vaginal secretions and helps to maintain the moisture, elasticity and acidity of the vagina. During menopause, the production of oestrogen in the body decreases as the ovaries gradually stop producing eggs. This often leads to the mucous membranes of the vagina becoming thinner, less elastic and more susceptible to dryness, itching and irritation.
Smoking can have negative effects on the health and moisture of mucous membranes, including vaginal mucous membranes. As smoking restricts blood circulation in the body, blood supply to the mucous membranes can affect moisture. Smoking can also interfere with estrogen levels which can lead to dry mucous membranes but also the natural secretion of mucus in the body which of course affects the moisture levels in the vaginal mucous membranes. Smoking can also be irritating and inflammatory to the mucous membranes in the body, which can also affect the vaginal mucous membranes.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it can increase urine production and thus cause dehydration. When the body becomes dehydrated, this can also affect the production of natural body fluids, which includes vaginal secretions and can therefore lead to reduced moisture and dryness of the mucous membranes. Alcohol can also affect the hormonal balance in the body, including estrogen levels, which in turn can affect the moisture of the vaginal mucosa.
Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means it can potentially contribute to dehydration. When the body becomes dehydrated, the moisture in the vaginal mucosa is of course affected. Since caffeine is also a stimulant and increases stress levels in some people, it can itself affect the moisture of the mucous membranes as prolonged stress indirectly affects the hormonal balance in the body. Everything is connected ❤
Drink enough water
Water, water, water! Yes, it goes without saying really? By drinking enough water, you help maintain the moisture balance - even in the vagina 😊 Our bestseller, VagiVital AktivGel for dry mucous membranes is based on water. The secret of the product is a high viscosity, a low osmolality and a low surface tension and a low pH. These properties allow the gel to adhere to the vaginal mucosa and simply stay where it is placed. The low osmolality, that is, the ultimate moisturizing ability is also adapted to the vagina where the gel releases water over time.
You will find VagiVital AktivGel for dry mucous membranes here
By the way, did you know that the word atrophy in Greek means "lack of nourishment"?
So be sure to give your dry mucous membranes the nourishment they need ❤.
Today, most of us know that stress can have a negative impact on our health, but few people realize that it can also have an impact on the vaginal mucosa. Prolonged stress can affect the hormonal balance in the body and thus actually indirectly affect mucosal moisture. When we experience stress, the body can release stress hormones that affect various physiological processes in the body, including hormonal balance where a decrease in estrogen production can contribute to vaginal dryness. Stress can also affect blood circulation by triggering the body's 'fight or flight' response. This can reduce blood flow to the mucous membranes, which also affects moisture. Stress can also affect the body's ability to produce natural lubrication in the vagina, making the mucous membranes drier.
Some soaps and toiletries may contain irritating ingredients or chemicals that can disrupt the natural balance of the mucous membranes and cause irritation. This can lead to dryness, itching and discomfort in the genital area. The vagina has a natural pH balance that helps protect against infections and maintain a healthy microbial environment. Hygiene products with high pH, perfume or strong chemicals can disrupt this balance and thus affect the moisture and health of the mucous membranes. Therefore, make sure to choose the right product for your intimate hygiene ❤.
Our patented VagiVital Moisturizing V Cleanser for intimate washing is based on the same moisturizing and unique properties as VagiVital AktivGel but with a little rapeseed oil added.
🌸 Despite being soap-free, it can clean both oil and water soluble impurities.
🌸 It moisturizes without disturbing the delicate pH balance of the genitals.
🌸 Of course, it is free of perfume, soap and parabens.
🌸 Recommended by gynecologists
You will find VagiVital Moisturizing V Cleanser here
Some medications can affect the moisture in the vaginal mucosa and contribute to dry mucous membranes. Here are some types of medicines that can have this effect:
🌸 Hormonal contraceptives
Some forms of hormonal contraception, such as certain types of birth control pills, can reduce the production of natural vaginal secretions and affect the moisture of the mucous membranes.
Some antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can have side effects that affect mucosal moisture and cause vaginal dryness.
Antihistamines used to treat allergies can also have a dehydrating effect on the body, including the vaginal mucosa.
🌸 Drugs for blood pressure
Some medicines used to treat high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers and diuretics, can affect the moisture balance in the body, including the vaginal mucosa.
🌸 Medicines for the treatment of breast cancer
Women undergoing cancer treatments, especially radiotherapy or hormone therapy, may experience dry mucous membranes as a consequence of the treatment. Medications such as aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen can affect the mucous membranes and cause vaginal dryness as they reduce the production of estrogen which can cause vaginal dryness.
Read Annika Cripps, known from the first dating TV program for seniors in Sweden, blog about her personal experience with breast cancer and dry mucous membranes here
Pregnancy & breastfeeding
During pregnancy, estrogen levels are high, which usually results in increased blood flow to the pelvic area and improved moisture in the vaginal mucosa. After childbirth and during breastfeeding, estrogen levels can drop, leading to reduced moisture and vaginal dryness. Breastfeeding can also affect the general hydration of the body and lead to drier mucous membranes.
WOMEN'S PERCEPTION & EXPERIENCE OF VAGINAL DRYNESS
It is important to remember that the experience of dry mucous membranes can vary between women and also in different parts of the body, such as the vagina, mouth, eyes and nose. Some women may have mild symptoms that are easy to manage with simple measures, while others may have more severe and troublesome symptoms that affect their quality of life. For many women, dry mucous membranes can lead to uncomfortable and painful symptoms, including itching, burning, soreness and difficulty performing certain activities such as intercourse. Every woman's experience is unique ❤
THE NUMBER OF WOMEN AFFECTED BY DRY MUCOUS MEMBRANES
It is difficult to determine exactly how many women suffer from dry mucous membranes in their lifetime as many do not seek help or do not talk openly about their symptoms. This is where we can all make a big difference! Start talking about dry mucous membranes and share our experiences. According to research, up to 50% of women experience dry mucous membranes at some point in their lives. It is important to recognize that dry mucous membranes are a common challenge for many women and that they are not alone in their experience. Half of the women you see on the bus probably have dry mucous membranes 😊 and maybe most of your friends? A first step is for women to start talking to each other and sharing experiences. Because a woman who has dry mucous membranes is not alone ❤ but sometimes it may feel that way.
DEALING EMOTIONALLY WITH DRY MUCOUS MEMBRANES
Dry mucous membranes are not only a physical change but can also have a significant impact on your emotional well-being and self-esteem. For me personally, I think that would be the biggest challenge. At the same time, I get a bit annoyed with myself. It's the same vagina? Dry as well as wet. Or is it? Are my wet mucous membranes so associated with my identity, femininity and self-esteem that I would lose some of this if I get dry mucous membranes in menopause? Just the word "dry" itself feels a little uncomfortable. For example, a "dry" person is not very funny? I still think that it is again about our approach and there is probably a lot that I myself need to review ❤
🌸 Acceptance and understanding
The first step in dealing with dry mucous membranes is to actually accept that changes in the body are natural and that many women go through the same thing. Learn more about menopause and its symptoms, including vaginal dryness, to get a deeper understanding of what is happening in the body.
🌸 Open communication
It is important to open up and talk about your feelings and experiences with your partner, friends or your gynecologist. By sharing your experiences, you can gain support, understanding and also practical advice for dealing with vaginal dryness. Take the first step and start talking about vaginal dryness with your friends. Maybe you will make a big difference for another woman with your own experience?
If you haven't done it before, now is the time! Start prioritizing your well-being by making time for self-care. It's about focusing on what brings you joy and pleasure. What helps you feel good. This can include anything from starting to practice mindfulness and meditation to taking a watercolor painting class or even learning to salsa dance. Take care of your friends who make you feel good and spend less time with those who are energy thieves. Try something new! Start something you've long dreamed of doing. Take care of yourself ❤ with the same dedication you give to your surroundings! Dry mucous membranes do not have to be an obstacle to pleasure and enjoyment. Maybe it's the focus on your desire and enjoyment that makes the difference?
Need some inspiration?
Read about Monica Sundberg, known from the first dating TV program for seniors in Sweden, fantastic inspiring blog about lust and pleasure at 60+ here
Together, we can raise awareness of dry mucous membranes by opening up open communication and sharing our experiences. By being informed and making active choices, women can also take greater ownership of their body and vagina. Let's also break the silence, share our experiences and give each other hope and support. Your vagina is amazing - both with and without dry mucous membranes ❤
Stay Pussytive & make the most of summer!
By: Fanny Falkman Grinndal