Updated: Jan 24
My friend recently asked me: "When did my vagina become so complicated?"
My first reaction was laughter and blaming it on menopause. Well, she found out later that she was pregnant. All her vaginal symptoms sounded just like perimenopause symptoms! Then I remembered another friend; she was in her late 40s and experiencing bloating, difficulty sleeping, and some vaginal symptoms. She blamed it on menopause, and guess what? She was pregnant as well. So, if you are experiencing some new "menopausal" signs, but you could still be fertile, get the pregnancy test ASAP.
Once you rule out the possibility of pregnancy, the "complicated vagina" question becomes pretty simple. Most of the time, it's the same reason as our dry skin. As we mature, our skin becomes dry, so we use creams, oils, and moisturizers. All kinds of moisturizers, with this and that added to them to prevent dryness. Over the years, we have spent thousands of dollars to address our dry or flaky skin. And we ignore the same changes happening below our bikini line. Have you ever paid $30, $40, or $50 for those delicate VS panties? Of course, you did! But when was the last time you spent anything on a fancy vaginal moisturizer? I bet it wasn't until you started to feel dry, and based on experts' opinions, that's kind of late.
The idea of facial moisturizers is to prevent or delay age-related changes. Well, the same goes for vaginal moisturizers. So why aren't the shelves at Walgreen, CVS, or BodyShop filled with all kinds of vaginal moisturizers addressing the prevention of changes? I don't know. Maybe it's not proper to publicly address something in your pants. But people buy tampons. And the famous Diva Cup, right? And silicon lubricants! So I think it's just attitude. And denial. And lack of information. For example, everyone knows by now about the benefits of hyaluronic acid on the skin. But the same goes for the vagina! Who knew? It's much easier to prevent the dryness than to deal with it once it happens. But don't worry; not all is lost. Decreasing estrogen level plays a significant role; we know that. I don't understand why we are not offered estrogen-containing vaginal creams at an early age to prevent the changes. I know what you want to say, the risks of cancer, and so on. Still, we are offered botox (botulinum toxin) to inject into our faces starting in our 20s to prevent wrinkles! That can't be good in the long term, either. Why do our gynecologists wait to offer estrogen vaginal cream until the changes in the vaginal mucosa have already happened? I know, cancer and other bad stuff. But people choose to smoke, right?
I recently met a woman in her 70's. We met at an elevation of 11,000 feet, where she was happily skiing with her friends, looking fabulous. During our lunch, while she was enjoying a glass of wine, I asked her about her secret for maintaining youthfulness. She summed it up as keeping and maintaining healthy sexuality and everything related to it. I took a leap of faith and asked many personal questions about hormonal therapy, vaginal health, etc. She said she has been paying close attention to vaginal wellness since her thirties. Her friend, a spunky lady in her 70s, agreed and reiterated the importance of maintaining healthy sexuality.
Today, I am starting vaginal creams with estrogen, testosterone, and vaginal moisturizers with hyaluronic acid! And there was some other stuff that I am not that adventurous yet to try, but just in case, I will do my research and then let you know.