Vaginal dryness is common after menopause and in fact, vaginal dryness can occur even if you haven’t reached menopause. Anxiety, certain medications, changes in your menstrual cycle, childbirth and breastfeeding can all cause a drop in estrogen levels.

Here are some tips to help:

OTC Lubricants

Over-the-counter moisture products that mimic your natural lubrication can be used safely and regularly. K-Y is the #1 doctor recommended brand of personal lubricants and has a wide range of products to fit your every need. If you are just trying out a personal lubricant, try K-Y SILK-E®, a water-based gel that feels great because it contains a soothing formula with Vitamin E and Aloe. Experiment with which product is right for you. Just remember, start with a pea-sized amount of personal lubricant – not the whole bottle – and adjust the amount as you become familiar with it.

A Well-Cared-For Body

Keep yourself hydrated, and your entire body will stay hydrated. Similarly, try cutting back on alcohol consumption if you’re having issues with vaginal dryness[1].

It also couldn’t hurt to add some of these healthy foods to your diet. Food such as avocados, nuts and seeds contain vitamin E, which is thought to aid in relieving vaginal dryness[2]. Also, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Health Guide, flaxseed and soy might mimic estrogen in the body[3].

Lifestyle Hacks

Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking decreases circulation, which means less blood flowing to the vagina and less lubrication production[4]. Also, skip scented soaps, perfumed bubble bath and douching. Some detergents and scented toilet paper can irritate the vaginal tissues that could inhibit your natural lubrication production. Also, take note if you’re using a new type of tampon or condom; they might have a drying effect[5].

Prescription Estrogen Products

If vaginal dryness is severe enough to cause you pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about a prescription estrogen medication, which is administered as a cream, tablet, suppository or ring. Many women find these treatments effective, but there are some concerns about how much estrogen is absorbed into the bloodstream during use. Estrogen therapy has been linked to increased risk of blood clotting and certain types of cancer. Certain drugs could make estrogen treatments unsuitable, so make sure to discuss this option with your doctor.

[1] http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/dr-laura-berman-what-you-need-to-know-about-vaginal-dryness.aspx
[2] http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/dr-laura-berman-foods-for-vaginal-health.aspx
[3] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/menopause
[4] http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/vaginal-dryness-in-menopause/
[5] http://www.thedoctorstv.com/articles/556-tampon-troubles