Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) is thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that may occur when your body has less oestrogen. Vaginal atrophy occurs most often after menopause. Symptoms include: dryness, general pain, pain with intercourse, vaginal burning, and discharge.
Oestrogen supports the structure and function of the urogenital area by maintaining collagen and elastic fibres. It also promotes secretions, cellular turnover, blood flow and glycogen, which affect vaginal pH. Vaginal atrophy is often paired with blood test results that show lower oestrogen and/or testosterone levels. DHEA may be within range and depends a lot on adrenal health, stress and inflammation.
- Sea buckthorn oil (oral), vitamin E (vaginal suppositories) and coconut oil might offer some benefit to women suffering from vaginal dryness especially if they are unable to use hormonal options.
- In a 2014 study, 116 participants were given 3g of oral sea buckthorn oil daily. Compared to placebo, participants had improvements in vaginal health including vaginal pH, moisture and symptomatic relief (Larmo et al 2014).
- DHEA is a pre-cursor hormone for estrone (E1) and testosterone. It has been shown that with local low dose treatment (0.50%, 6,5mg), DHEA increases vaginal secretions, tissue colour, reduces pain and increases libido. It also has been shown to stimulate the muscle layer of the vaginal wall, which oestradiol has not been shown to do.
- Vitamin D vaginal suppository (1,000iu) has also been shown to be effective in improving the maturation index and decreased pH and dryness of vaginal atrophy (Rad et al 2015)