How to Improve Vaginal Dryness Without Estrogen

Vaginal Dryness Improved by Soy Supplement

Soy Products. Mache Seibel, MD

Vaginal dryness is one of the most bothersome symptoms of menopause. It can be really unpleasant and cause women to avoid sex or suffer through painful sex, which can put a strain on a relationship. And unlike hot flashes that typically get better over time, vaginal dryness and narrowing of the vagina tend to continue to get worse over time unless they are treated. Hormone therapy (HT) can be very helpful in solving the problem but many women are reluctant to take it due to fear of possible risks even though vaginal estrogen can be used with only relatively small amounts of estrogen entering the bloodstream.

For that reason, alternatives to estrogen are an appealing option for many women fearful of estrogen.  A group of doctors in Brazil tried to find an alternative to estrogen for treatment of vaginal dryness by comparing treatment of vaginal dryness with either a soy supplement containing 90 mg of oral isoflavones (a plant estrogen or phytoestrogen) in the form of soy protein powder, with 1 mg of the oral estrogen estradiol + 0.5 mg of norethisterone, a synthetic progestogen - meaning a medication that the body perceives as pr. The study was done in 60 healthy postmenopausal women aged 40 – 60 years who were complaining of vaginal dryness, bladder symptoms and sexual problems. The length of the study was 16 weeks.

The study found that both the soy-based protein powder and HT improved vaginal dryness similarly but neither treatment helped bladder or sexual symptoms. The good news is that if women want to try an alternative treatment for vaginal dryness, they can try soy based protein powder for 4 months and know if it is helpful.

This study was published in the July 2015 issue of the journal Menopause (Carmignani LO, Pedro AO, Montemor EB, et al. 2015;22:741-749).

Here are 5 causes of vaginal dryness if you are having that symptom:

  • Menopause or other causes of lower estrogen. This is likely the most common cause of vaginal dryness and it's caused when estrogen levels become lower around the time of perimenopause and  menopause. Vaginal dryness can also occur after cancer treatments like chemotherapy or pelvic radiation. Both of those treatments lower estrogen levels.
  • Medications. You know how cold and allergy treatments dry up your nasal passages. Well, that's what they do you vaginal secretions too. Try to avoid antihistamines if you are noticing vaginal dryness with those types of treatments. 
  • Lower libido. If you're not in the mood, it's hard to get lubricated and wet. This is particularly try if your estrogen levels are low and low estrogen levels can lower your sex drive so that can be a vicious cycle. 
  • Irritating Sustances. There are a lot of soaps and scented personal products contain irritating chemicals that can cause a problem in that sensitiv. Even some lubricants and sex toys can be irritating. If you are having vaginal dryness. Take note of everything that comes in contact with your body.
  • Stress and Anxiety. If you are in a particularly stressful time of life, the narrowing of blood vessels can cause vaginal dryness. It's difficult to get aroused or lubricated if you are totally stressed. The time around menopause can be a time of feeling very stressed. So all of this can be connected. 

    My new book, The Estrogen Window, will be coming out in April of 2016. In it you'll find out all the latest information about estrogen and estrogen alternatives for your breast, heart, bones, vaginal tissues, skin and much more. In the meantime, this article can give you some help to improve vaginal dryness.

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