According to the Mayo Clinic, vaginal dryness is a common problem for women during and after menopause, although inadequate vaginal lubrication can occur at any age. Symptoms of vaginal dryness include itching and stinging around the vaginal opening and in the lower third of the vagina. Vaginal dryness also makes intercourse uncomfortable. In order to relieve this condition, it is important to stay hydrated, get regular exercise, maintain a healthy diet, use lubricant and nourish the body with a variety of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and essential fatty acids.
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According to the Right Foods website, vitamin A supports the health of vaginal walls, relieves vaginal dryness and enhances general well being. Menopause Health Information Center states that vitamin A, a beta carotene, helps maintain tissues, skin and mucous membranes. Vitamin A protects the body against vaginal dryness by increasing low estrogen levels. Medline Plus states that beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoids, which are highly pigmented (red, orange, yellow), fat-soluble compounds naturally present in many fruits, grains, oils, and vegetables. Beta carotene is considered to be a pro-vitamin because it can be converted to active vitamin A. A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to abnormal bone development, reproductive system disorders and death in extreme cases. The recommended daily amount is 15 mg.
The Menopause Info Center website states that vitamin E is effective in the treatment of vaginal dryness, thinning and itching. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents the body’s cells from forming destructive free radicals. Free radicals are damaging substances that have been linked to a variety of diseases and cancers. According to the Menopause Info Center, vitamin E oil is very beneficial in calming vaginal dryness. Vitamin E can be applied by placing the fluid directly into the vagina. Vitamin E oil can also be used as a lubricant during sexual intercourse. Women should apply vitamin E oil to the vaginal area once to twice a week to relieve vaginal dryness.
According to ABC Vitamin, vitamin B12 is helpful in improving vaginal dryness and improving the function of adrenal gland. The Ayushveda website states that vitamin B12 helps to recycle the blood and maintain the nervous system. When used in conjunction with folic acid, it can be help the body system function properly. According to Ayushveda, the body constantly needs vitamin B12 to function at an optimal level, so it is important to replenish the body with an adequate amount of vitamin B12 on a daily basis. The recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 is 50 to 100 mcg.
Essential Fatty Acids
Menopause Lifestyle states that essential fatty acids consisting of omega-3, omega-6 and/or omega-9 help keep the vagina healthy, and also help the body produce the necessary hormones that are essential for alleviating vaginal dryness. Essential fatty acids relieve vaginal dryness by balancing a woman’s hormones. The Women to Women website states that at the molecular level, essential fatty acids protect the body’s cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and immune systems. They help insulate nerve cells and produce molecular messengers involved in immunity and the central nervous system. According to Women to Women, vaginal dryness is a common symptom of chronic reproductive inflammation. The recommended daily amount of essential fatty acids is 1.1 g.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Mayo Clinic: Vaginal Dryness
- Menopause Health Information: Diet and Nutrition
- Right Foods: Women Over 40: Food Compound Vitamin
- Medline Plus: Beta Carotene
- Menopause Info Center: Menopause and Vitamin E: The Best Sources
- Herbs 2000: Vaginal Dryness and Irritation
- 34 Menopause Symptoms: Yam Extract & Vitamin E for Vaginal Dryness
- Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation: Menopause/Vaginal Dryness
- Ayushveda: Vitamin B12 Information
- ABC Vitamin