Journal / Vaginal Dryness

Tips to Prevent the Causes of Vaginal Dryness

Medically reviewed by Nancy L. Belcher Ph.D, MPA

Written by Winona Editorial Team

Last updated October 14, 2021

Nobody wants to deal with the causes of vaginal dryness… that feeling of dryness, itchiness, and irritation in their vagina. But about 50% of women over the age of 50 experience vaginal dryness, 25% experience problems with vaginal dryness during sex, and 16% experience vaginal pain.1 The good news is, vaginal dryness can be prevented and easily treated.  

There are many causes for vaginal dryness and irritation, but the most obvious reason is decreased estrogen levels during menopause. Additionally, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, nutritional imbalances, and even waxing/shaving can upset the natural balance.2

Natural vaginal lubrication is driven by the hormone estrogen. Estrogen plays a critical role in vaginal and sexual health. It works to keep the walls of the vagina naturally lubricated by stimulating the glands present in the vagina. When estrogen levels drop with perimenopause, the lining of the vagina becomes thinner and less elastic, and the glands less effective. 

Women as young as their late 30’s may start to notice vaginal dryness and irritation due to the drop in estrogen. Preventing the causes of this vaginal dryness, itch, irritation, and/or pain during sex (dyspareunia) with estrogen replacement is a great form of preventative medicine. The treatment can also reduce bladder problems, infections, and other urogenital symptoms.2

A common and natural way to prevent vaginal dryness and irritation is to replace the estrogen that has dipped using topical estrogen creams, patches, or pills. Creams applied directly to the vagina act as a natural vaginal moisturizer.

It can replace some of the estrogens at lower doses than if taking oral estrogen pills. Estrogen vaginal cream works directly on vaginal tissue to keep it healthy. Because creams are applied locally, they can be used at a lower dose than estrogen taken orally or when applied through a patch.1-5

Estrogen creams are a quick and easy way to prevent feminine dryness. They have been shown to relieve the symptoms, reduce urinary tract infections, alleviate incontinence, and improve quality of life.3

Winona offers vaginal estrogen creams for this exact purpose. Estrogen patches and pills can also effectively prevent vaginal dryness. Your Winona healthcare provider can prescribe any of these three forms of estrogen (cream, patch, or pill). 

Say goodbye to dryness. For Good.

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Alternative Ways To Treat These Causes

Vaginal dryness is rarely serious, and if estrogen replacement is not your preference for a natural cure, there are other alternative ways to help treat it:

  • Over-the-counter lubricants can be applied to the vaginal area to reduce dryness and discomfort. Winona providers suggest a lubricant specifically for vaginal use. Some store-bought lubricants can lead to drying out the vagina, even more, so be sure to look for lubes that promote vaginal hydration.

  • Vitamins A, B, and E may help promote natural lubrication. Women of all ages should be taking a daily supplement with multivitamin/multimineral that are specific to their age group. Dietary needs change with age.  

  • Eating a balanced diet high in fatty acids may aid in producing additional vaginal lubrication. Raw pumpkin, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and fish (especially salmon, mackerel, and tuna) are great choices that are high in fatty acids.

  • Eating foods high in isoflavones (soybeans, chickpeas, fava beans, pistachios, peanuts, and apples) can help regulate declining estrogen. levels during menopause.3  

  • Drink lots of water.

  • Vaginal DHEA is a topical cream that may help produce estrogen to prevent dryness but consult your doctor.

  • Exercise.

  • Sufficient sleep will help prevent vaginal irritation.

  • Refrain from douching.

  • Vaginal products shouldn’t contain perfumes, herbal extracts, or artificial colors. These can cause irritation and even contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis can occur even when trying a new soap, bubble bath, or even underwear. The wrong ingredients can leave you with dried out, flaky skin, or a rash. Perfumed or colored pads and tampons, condoms and lubricants, shaving products, and even toilet paper can lead to dryness.

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) don’t always cause vaginal itching or dryness but it may be a first sign that something is not right. If symptoms progress to sores and pain you should visit a doctor.

  • It is important to have adequate lubrication during sex to prevent infection and trauma to the vagina. Some products that might help include coconut oil, aloe, and Winona’s lubricants. 

  • Urinary incontinence can cause vaginal irritation which estrogen replacement can often improve. By reducing bladder problems, infections, and other urogenital symptoms via estrogen replacement, vaginal irritation is reduced as well.


Vaginal irritation is a common problem. There are many treatment options to choose from that are easy, healthy, and safe to optimize vaginal health and lubrication. A natural way to prevent the causes of vaginal dryness and irritation is to replace estrogen. Creams applied directly to the vagina act as a natural vaginal moisturizer. Your Winona healthcare provider can prescribe any of these three forms (cream, patch, or pill) of estrogen.

Seek help if vaginal discomfort lasts beyond a few days or if you experience discomfort during sexual intercourse. If left untreated, vaginal dryness can cause sores or crack in the vagina’s tissues. If the condition is accompanied by severe vaginal bleeding, seek immediate medical attention.4,5

If you would like to read more about Vaginal Atrophy and the thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal wall click HERE.


“This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.”

References:

  1. https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/vaginal-dryness/

  2. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19916630/itchy-vagina/

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252029/

  4. https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginal-dryness-causes-moisturizing-treatments

  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-dryness

  6. https://www.insider.com/vitamins-to-increase-female-lubrication