Use a Moisturizer
Reviewed by Dr. Barb DePree, MD
Vaginal dryness treatment can include moisturizers, creams or suppositories applied to the vagina, supplementing or replacing natural vaginal moisturizers. To prevent dryness, regular treatment is recommended — moist tissues are strong tissues.
Applied with an applicator or by hand, moisturizers work over time to moisturize and strengthen vaginal tissues, eliminating dry skin, protecting the vagina from irritation and small tears.
For some of us, menopausal vaginal dryness is a pervasive problem, causing us itching, burning, soreness, not only during sex, but throughout the day as vaginal tissues become dry enough to chafe, tear, or crack.
It’s easy to confuse moisturizers with lubricants—it sounds as if they would work the same way—but these products work very differently. A lubricant is a temporary replacement for vaginal wetness, used at the time of intercourse. Its only goal is reducing friction during sex, and it works for a very short span of time. Vaginal moisturizers are used regularly, not just for sex, and they work to moisturize and strengthen vaginal tissues around the clock. Think of them more as prevention.
- Review the instructions that came with your vaginal moisturizer for any details specific to that product.
- If you chose a product packaged in applicators, simply insert the applicator into your vagina and depress the plunger or squeeze the applicator to deposit the moisturizer where it’s needed.
- If your product is in a tube or bottle, dispense the desired amount onto your finger, and insert your finger in your vagina. The process is the same as inserting an applicator-less tampon (like OB).
- Plan to apply the moisturizer every day, twice a week, or as recommended in the instructions until you’re comfortable with the right frequency for you. This is comparable to moisturizing your face or body, so regular use counts.
- If your tissues have been dry for some time, you may have some discharge when you start using a moisturizer. It should clear up fairly quickly.
- As with any product you use on your body, if you have unusual symptoms or if your vaginal dryness gets worse, discontinue use and consult your doctor.
- For optimum comfort, use lubricants when you’re having sex in addition to regular moisturizing.