During pregnancy, you will discover that your body changes in many ways. One thing that you might experience while expecting is vaginal itching and dryness. In this article, we explain why this might happen and share tips on how you can treat it!
Every pregnancy is different and everybody is unique. The symptoms women experience therefore differ greatly between individuals and pregnancies. One common vaginal change that is not often talked about is dryness.
Vaginal dryness symptoms include inching, burning, irritation and possibly pain during intercourse. As unpleasant as it might be, it is not dangerous – and you are not alone as many women experience vaginal dryness during pregnancy. With that said, it does not mean you should have to suffer through it!
Vaginal dryness can have many different causes, so the first step is to make sure you know what the cause is to find a suitable treatment. Let´s look into some of the most common causes!
4 of the most common causes for vaginal dryness during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your hormones are changing - fast. Estrogen is the hormone responsible for keeping the vagina moist, so when your estrogen levels are changing during pregnancy, it could cause you to experience vaginal dryness.
If you are feeling dry “down there”, chances are that your body needs more water to keep your vagina moist. Circulating fluid volume increases with around 50 % during pregnancy, so make sure to hydrate more than usual to avoid vaginal dryness – and other side effects from dehydration.
Vaginal yeast infections
A 2015 study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25916994/) shows that the risk of yeast infections (also known as candidiasis) increases during pregnancy. Symptoms include burning while urinating and extensive itching. If you suspect that you might be suffering from a yeast infection, please consult your gynecologist for appropriate treatment.
Some vaginal infections can be caused by Bacterial vaginosis and Group B Streps (GBS). Common symptoms are pain during urination and itching. If you suspect that you might have an infection, consult your doctor for appropriate treatment.
If you suspect that you are suffering from vaginal yeast infections or other types of vaginal infections, always speak to your doctor for a suitable treatment. However, if the cause is due to hormonal changes or dehydration, there are treatments you can try at home to improve on the wellbeing of your vagina. Let’s have a look at some of the treatments that can help relieve your vaginal dryness during pregnancy!
3 treatments you can do at home:
Hormone free cream for the V-zone
Hormone free vaginal cremes can work wonders to increase moisture in the V-zone. During pregnancy, make sure to choose a non-hormonal vaginal gel. One study https://www.nature.com/news/2005/050502/full/050502-1.html showed that extra estrogen can be harmful to the fetus and lead to complications in the development of male babies.
Remember to hydrate!
Dehydration is one possible cause of vaginal dryness, so make sure drink a lot of water - preferably ice cold. To make it more fun, try adding a cucumber or lime to your water for variation. Another tip is to skip the coffee since caffeine can make you dehydrated. We promise that your body will thank you!
Intercourse related dryness
If you are experiencing discomfort or pain during intercourse, there are several treatments that can ease your symptoms. Something you might already have at home is coconut oil, which can be used safely inside and out. Other lubricants may also help your symptoms. If you want to try out a lubricant, keep in mind to choose a water-based lubricant. Avoid lubricants with glycerin listed as the first ingredient, as this might result in pH imbalance during pregnancy.
Be gentle and kind to your V-zone
You should always treat your vagina gently - and especially so during pregnancy. A few suggestions to help you be extra kind to your V-area include:
- Choosing your underwear carefully. The best option is breathable cotton.
- Making sure to dry yourself off properly with a towel after washing.
- Avoiding walking around in sweaty underwear or wet bathing suits.
- Avoiding scented lotions and perfumed soaps when cleaning the vaginal area. Choose products that are adapted for sensitive vaginas.
When does the dryness disappear post pregnancy?
Vaginal dryness sometimes disappears after delivery, but some women continue to experience it post pregnancy during breast feeding. As mentioned above, estrogen is the hormone responsible for vaginal moisture. During breast feeding, the body produces prolactin which stops the estrogen production and might cause vaginal dryness.
In other words - it is common for vaginal dryness to continue during breast feeding. If you suspect an infection or if the dryness gets worse, always consult your doctor for medical advice.