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Some menopausal symptoms never go away. Hot flashes are finally gone but when will the vaginal dryness stop?

Never!

Hot flashes and night sweats may eventually go away, but lower estrogen and its effects on our skin will continue for the rest of our lives. One of the most common and troublesome symptoms of menopause is dryness. Decreases in estrogen levels can cause vaginal tissues to become thin and less elastic.  Dryness, whether mild or severe, can cause pain during intimacy, discomfort, itching, and irritation even among those who are not sexually active.

Moisturizer Everywhere—Including the Vagina

As we age, our skin becomes dry and less elastic and we notice changes to our face and hands, but may not realize that this also affects all delicate areas of our body, including vaginal tissues. Moisturizer on your legs and arms keeps skin feeling baby soft, moisturizer on your hands and feet keeps cracking skin at bay and moisturizer on your face scares away those dreaded wrinkles. But I’ll bet there’s a part of your body that’s in serious need of a little extra moisture that you’re neglecting—your vagina.

In addition to menopause, vaginal dryness can also be associated with breastfeeding, or taking oral contraceptives.  It can also occur in response to douching, pelvic radiation, prolonged use of tampons, advanced endometriosis, and as a side effect of a variety of medications, including aromatase inhibitors used to treat breast cancer, such as Tamoxifen. Excessive exercise, persistent emotional stress or past traumatic sexual experiences, diuretics like alcohol and caffeine, smoking, certain allergy medications, and antihistamines can also exacerbate an existing condition.

If you’ve had vaginal dryness, you know how uncomfortable it can feel, and if left untreated, this condition can lead to atrophic vaginitis, bleeding, urinary discomfort, UTI’s, and painful intercourse. Hormone therapy is one of the most commonly used treatments, particularly for menopausal women. However, hormones are not for everyone and many women are uncomfortable with HT’s potential risks.

You Are Never Too Dry to Try

Self-pleasure or couples sex and satisfaction increases overall health, vitality, joy and creativity, igniting the brain and body together and enhancing self-esteem, but thin, dry vaginal and vulvar tissues affect 40% of postmenopausal women and this can mean painful sex. Luckily, you don’t need to accept a life without passion because it hurts, and the answer is as close as your neighborhood drug store and available without a prescription.

For starters, the right vaginal lubricant is an essential ingredient for turning “painful sex” into slippery, fun, sex. Most water-based versions are gloppy, sticky and only last for a few minutes. On the other hand, a premium silicone lube like Replens Silky Smooth is much more slippery, lasts and lasts much longer, reduces abrasion to nil, eases penetration and enhances sexual activity.

But lubricants are just to be used at the time of intercourse to reduce friction—and they don’t alter vaginal tissues; they just make them more slippery.  To replenish the everyday moisture your vagina needs, Replens long acting moisturizer should be a part of your regular self-care regimen because it relieves internal dryness for up to three days, leaving tissues hydrated by replenishing moisture and rejuvenating dry internal vaginal cells. Replens works to change the water content of the tissue (hence “moisturize”) resulting in tissues that are more elastic, thicker, and with enhanced ability to produce fluid, that will in turn reduce friction. Replens is the only long acting moisturizer that has been shown in clinical studies to actually change vaginal tissue and decrease painful intercourse.

Sometimes the ravages of menopause make the vaginal walls so thin and dry that the only way to reverse the vaginal clock and make intercourse comfortable is a local vaginal estrogen. But whether you choose a vaginal moisturizer or prescription estrogen product, know that there are solutions that enable you to slip back into everyday comfort—and a more satisfying sex life.

In addition, the outside skin surrounding the vagina can become irritated and painful during sex and normal daily activities like walking, prolonged sitting, exercising, and bike riding, making activities from sex to just sitting at a desk very painful. Replens Moisture Restore External Comfort Gel, provides soothing relief from external dryness, in menopause, post-partum, and after a cancer diagnosis, because internal dryness is only half the battle. has soothing properties to “rejuvenate” and heal damage to the vulvar skin. It contains the HydraPro Complex™, which is a blend of moisturizers and vitamins to help nourish dry external vaginal skin. Vitamin E and Pro-Vitamin B5 help soothe and relieve external vaginal dryness by reducing water loss from the skin’s surface to relieve irritation, discomfort, and chafing.

Remember, there’s a big difference between a lubricant and a moisturizer. Silky Smooth lube will provide great temporary assistance, but it will do little to restore vaginal moisture and repair dry or damaged vaginal tissues. Replens moisturizer provides soothing comfort, delivering moisture for up to 3-full days. In the same way that a skin moisturizer works on the face and hands, Replens bonds to the vagina’s epithelial cells to repair, heal, and restore the natural moisture cycle.    Men are discovering that while the body’s processes can easily frustrate desire, that doesn’t mean they have to like it.  Neither do women, and nor should they.  You are never too dry to dry, as long as you know what you can do about it.