Vaginal Health during the Menopausal Transition

vagina May 21, 2020

During the menopausal transition, many women complain about their vaginal health. They may be experiencing general discomfort, itch, redness, stinging, being more prone to tearing and infections.

As your estrogen levels start to decline so does your collagen production and a consequence of lower collagen is a thinning of the vaginal mucosa, which results in a drier, less elastic vagina more prone to itching and tearing.

As we age, our vaginal pH also changes. It starts to rise and this change from a more acidic environment towards a neutral more alkaline environment, changes our microbiome and makes us more prone to infections such as bacterial vaginosis or candida.  

You can test your own pH levels at home. Simply purchase pH testing paper otherwise known as litmus paper. (Make measure it measures at least 0.5 increments). Tear off a strip off and place it inside your vagina about a 1/3 of a finger deep and place it on the vaginal wall, wait a few seconds and compare the colour to the accompanying chart. You are aiming for a level between 3.6 and 4.5, many menopausal women are surprised to see their results much higher than this, maybe a 6 or 7. If this is you, please find a practitioner experienced in vaginal health to help you improve this result. I start by looking at your microbiome, I currently recommend Invivo Female Ecologix microbiome testing to my patients and then recommend appropriate probiotic treatment either orally or as a pessary (vaginal suppository).   

 

Other nutrient/herbs to consider:

  • Vitamin A and E are both beneficial mucous membrane rejuvenators. 
  • Vitamin C is an important building block for collagen formation and its also a good immune strengthener.
  • Sea Buckthorn is my oil of choice to help restore lubrication.
  • Fennel cream can reduce dryness and reduce the sensation of itch.
  • Tribulus may also improve vaginal lubrication and increase positive genital sensations.

The vagina has an amazing ability to self-clean and restore itself, please make sure you avoid harsh chemical soaps, hygiene sprays, douches, deodorizer, etc as these chemicals aren't necessary and may increase discomfort.

 

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