The Menopause FAQ: Blog 4
The last blog in our Menopause series – discussing the wide array of symptoms associated with the menopause and peri-menopause, and the natural remedies which can help. This week, Jenny discusses Dry Eye and Vaginal Dryness, and the natural remedies which may provide some relief.
The Hormonal cause of Vaginal Dryness
To remind yourself of the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle you can refer to Blog 2 for an ‘Introduction to the Hormonal Cycle’. The key hormone linked with vaginal dryness is oestrogen. Oestrogen provides lubrication for the mucous membranes. Mucous membranes line our mouth, eyes and intimate areas. Falling oestrogen levels can therefore cause dryness in the mucous membranes leading to vaginal dryness, discomfort during intercourse, dry eyes and dry mouth.
What is Dry Eye?
Many women who are going through the menopause start to suffer with a condition known as dry eye. Dry eye, ironically, is characterised by watery eyes! This is because, with the natural lubrication missing, the eye starts to produce more water in an attempt to compensate. This is like trying to moisturise dry skin with water – it provides temporary relief, but does not solve the problem. The end result can be an almost constant production of tears. This can be both uncomfortable and upsetting.
Natural Help for Dryness:
SEA BUCKTHORN OMEGA 7 – Sea Buckthorn berries have been found to possess high levels of Omega 7. Omega 7 may help to provide additional lubrication for the mucous membranes, so could help to provide effective relief for vaginal dryness, dry eye and dry mouth.
RED CLOVER / SOYA – Red Clover & Soya both contain Isoflavones, which are often referred to as ‘phyto-oestrogens’. This is because they have the same chemical structure as oestrogen, so can sit on the oestrogen receptor sites in the body. This action allows phyto-oestrogens to basically ‘con’ the body into believing that oestrogen levels are higher than they are, which can put a stop to uncomfortable symptoms. It is important to note that phyto-oestrogens are not actually oestrogen and are not linked with an increased risk of hormonal cancers.
Either Red Clover or Soya would be helpful, especially if there are other menopausal symptoms.
Phyto-oestrogens may also be helpful in supporting vaginal dryness, especially if combined with Siberian Ginseng. Siberian Ginseng is often referred to as ‘women’s ginseng’ and it may help to improve libido and lubrication.
We hope you have found our series on the Menopause insightful, and beneficial!
Written By Jenny Logan DNMed. (Jenny is a Nutritional Therapist who has worked with clients in Health Foods Stores and Private Clinics for over 20 years.)