Vaginal Dryness After a Hysterectomy (and other stuff you've been wanting to ask, but haven't)

Why am I so dry “down there”?

Vaginal dryness is a common issue most hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) patients experience post-surgery.

The lubrication of your vagina is heavily influenced by your estrogen level. Whether your hysterectomy is partial (surgical removal of the uterus alone) or total (surgical removal of the uterus as well as the cervix), the drop in estrogen levels lowers the amount of vaginal lubrication that your linings can produce. This, in turn, leads to thin vaginal tissues, inflammation, and dryness.

But my ovaries are still intact? Why am I still so dry?

Ovary removal (oophorectomy) is often combined with a hysterectomy. If one or two ovaries are still intact, your ovary(ies) will still make estrogen, but you’ll begin to feel the symptoms of menopause (vaginal dryness, night sweats, hot flashes) immediately after surgery.

What are my treatment options?

A common treatment for vaginal dryness is topical estrogen therapy such as vaginal tablets, insertable rings, patches, gels, and creams.

This method replaces some of the hormones in your body. It helps relieve vaginal symptoms but doesn’t put as much estrogen in your bloodstream as hormone therapy pills do.

I’m not sure I’d like anything with hormones in it. What can I do right now to help relieve the discomfort?

Simple lifestyle changes can significantly help relieve the symptoms of vaginal dryness. Here are a few daily tweaks you could do to ease vaginal dryness.

  • Drink up. Proper hydration helps maintain moisture levels in the body

  • Exercise regularly. Consistent physical activity aids in hormonal balance.

  • Quit smoking. Smoking has been known to decrease estrogen levels and is a contributing factor to other conditions such as vaginal atrophy (thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls) and osteoporosis.

  • Avoid scented/perfumed vaginal products. A number of lubricants and spermicides can cause dryness and irritation, as well.

  • Stay active. Sexually active, that is. Sexual activity increases blood flow to your genital area. And while dryness can make sex uncomfortable, regular intercourse helps promote natural lubrication.

(The above should NEVER take the place of a medical practitioner’s advice. Please see your gynecologist whenever you feel vaginal discomfort.)

I’d like to get things going in the bedroom. But I wince at the thought of painful intercourse and my body just won’t cooperate! Help!

Loss of libido, arousal difficulties, guilt, depression, and low self-esteem are all common concerns with anyone suffering from vaginal dryness. But getting the excitement back in the bedroom is possible.

  • Make time for non-coital intimacy such as cuddles, kisses, intimate caresses, and sensual massage

  • Practice good communication with your partner. Be upfront with feelings and expectations;

  • De-stress with relaxation and breathing exercises.

The above is supplementary and should never take the place of a medical practitioner’s advice.

Are there available alternatives to estrogen therapy out there? Something I can take that won’t involve estrogen pills?

There are several alternatives to estrogen therapy that work exceptionally well for vaginal dryness.

  • Water-based lubricants and vaginal moisturizers – Water-based lubricants and vaginal moisturizers’ effectiveness lasts for hours. It works great at easing discomfort during sex.

  • Turkestanica Sea Buckthorn Berry – Sea Buckthorn is a superfood that has been used for centuries, rich in the rare omega 7. Also known as sea berry, the unique turkestanica variety has been proven to carry more omega 7 than any other sea buckthorn type.

    Studies have shown that high levels of omega 7 in turkestanica sea buckthorn can help alleviate arthritis, ulcers, gout, burns, dry eyes and dry skin, and yes, vaginal dryness! Get your daily dose of sea buckthorn berry to finally say goodbye to feminine dryness

  • Soy-based diets – Soybeans and soy-based products mimic the effects of estrogen. Including tofu, soy milk, and the like in your diet may provide relief from vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness is a topic that women rarely discuss with peers. But vaginal dryness is more common than most women think and is nothing to be ashamed of. And help is certainly available.