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Menopause: Going Through A Dry Spell

Posted May 07 2011 7:20pm

Dry River Bed © lynette sheppard

Menopause means moist in all the wrong places. You’re dripping on the outside while your skin and tender membranes are desiccating as if they were exposed to a harsh Southwestern sun, 24/7.

We have feedback on our outer skin. We see it crack and peel, feel it itch or flake. And we pour on lotions. By the tubful. All that money we save on monthly feminine supplies? It’s nothing compared to what we have to budget now just to keep a semblance of moisture.

Inside we are dry too. Our natural vaginal moisture disappears. For some of us, it is noticeable in painful sexual intimacy. We buy and use lubricants to regain a healthy sex life. And thankfully, there are many products now mimic natural lubrication (see the Menopause Marketplace for some of our favorites.)

When vaginal dryness doesn’t cause painful intercourse, however, it can still cause health problems. Vaginal atrophy and thinning of the lining may manifest along with dryness. One of our own Venuses was having problems with drainage and recurrent infections. Turns out that sexual intimacy was resulting in microtears in the lining that were then becoming infected. Even though she couldn’t feel that. Using lubrication and taking estrogen intravaginally has alleviated the symptoms.

One of our faithful readers and satellite Venuses wrote me with a brilliant solution of her own. She was having urinary and bladder issues (again, which can be part of this whole post menopausal syndrome). She did not want to avail herself of HRT and was trying to find a more natural alternative.

Evening primrose oil has been used by some women for a variety of Menopause symptoms. This goddess had taken the capsules at one time for general relief of hot flashes and the like, but had to discontinue them because of nosebleeds. (Evening primrose oil can be a blood thinner. Remember, just because it is “natural” doesn’t mean “no side effects.”.)

She wondered about inserting the capsules as a vaginal suppository, where there would be a local effect (relief of dryness) without the systemic effects (blood thinning). Google turned up little information, so she tried it on her own.

And… it worked! No more dryness, relief of urinary symptoms, and reduction of hot flashes. “It’s not perfect,” she tells us. “There is a bit of leaking, so you need some light protection, but all in all, I think it’s fantastic, and I thought you might like to pass it on to others.” I think I’ll give it a try as well.

Another reader shared that she started drinking dong quai tea and lubrication was simply no longer a problem. Another potential remedy to try.

This is what we are all about. Women sharing wisdom – what works and what doesn’t. Our thought processes, experimentations, successes, and failures. Let us know what works for you. And doesn’t. We’ll gather around our virtual kitchen table here and help one another through the worst and best of the Big M. The best journeys are shared.

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