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Vaginal Health 101: Dryness, Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRTs) and Viagra for her

Akima Taylor | 4/28/2015, 6 a.m.
In communities around the world, the vagina seems to be a taboo topic; an irrelevant topic or a touchy topic ...

— Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward-Times

In communities around the world, the vagina seems to be a taboo topic; an irrelevant topic or a touchy topic to say the least. However, in other communities, it seems to be the first line of interest and debate for very loud discussion. People are posting it on social media every minute of the day (so it seems). So, because they are so free, open and loud with talking about their vagina’s, other, communities, at the risk of not sounding like “that” just avoid the topic all together. The more quiet communities end up ignoring their feminine center…our child baring gifts…our pleasure postures. There have been age old habits and ideas about what makes it tick, or what makes it become and stay healthy. Well, I will attempt to touch on just a few structured ideas that may work well in your favor.

What is the vagina?

At the risk of sounding too simple, I will define the vagina. The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation. It connects to the uterus on one end and to the outside world on the other. The vagina received sexual intercourse and is a conduit for menstrual flow from the uterus. During child birthing years, it allows the baby to pass through its canal into the world. Sound like a miracle! Only God could make this, approximately 8 inch canal do so many wondrous things in a life time!

Vaginal Dryness: Who turned off the faucet, and who said I was done!

Vaginal dryness is a VERY common issue for women (believe it or not) of all ages! However, it is more common in women during and after menopause (the stopping of the menstrual cycle with a decline in Estrogen production). Continued vaginal dryness is the tale-tale sign of thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to the decline in estrogen production. During our younger years a thin layer of moisture coats our vaginal walls and stays there uninterrupted! During arousal, more blood flows to the organ, creating more lubricating fluid. But, changes in the hormone levels such as menstrual cycles, aging, child birth, menopause, breast-feeding will all dictate the amount of moisture that is available for comfort.

Signs of Vaginal Dryness

Recurrent urinary tract infections

Pain or bleeding with sexual intercourse

Burning

Itching or tingling pain around the vaginal opening

What to avoid

Avoid douches: vinegar and/or yogurt. I understand many women still douche after cycles and sex, however, we have discouraged its usage! It is just not beneficial… You end up washing away the necessary and very healthy “flora” that keep your vagina healthy.

Avoid hand lotions. These will irritate the sensitive nature of your vagina.

Avoid antibacterial or fragrant soaps. OUCH! Antibacterial soaps kill the normal “flora” in your vagina leading to many irritations.

Avoid scented toilet paper, detergents, bath oils and bath bubbles. These too can cause irritation.

Many women feel ashamed and will not bring up this with their doctors. However, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It does not mean you are “getting old” or that someone is going to put you in the “do not use” pile and forget about you! If vaginal dryness affects you in any way, in particular your sex life, please speak with your doctor. Living with vaginal discomfort does not have to be a check mark of “Oh, I’m just getting older”.