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Common around the time surrounding menopause, vaginal dryness can be a very unpleasant symptom, especially during intercourse.
When a woman has reached menopause, estrogen naturally declines and so does the natural lubrication of the mucous membranes of the vagina. The mucous membranes also become thinner and less elastic.
Because of the dryness, the vagina can also suffer from itching and discharge.
It is estimated that 10-40% of post-menopausal women suffer from vulvovaginal atrophy which it is sometimes called. Along with vaginal dryness, it is also common to suffer from urogenital symptoms such as dysuria (painful urination), incontinence
and/or frequent urinary tract infections.
In Chinese Medicine, this is a very Yin problem. Fluids are the definition of Yin, as is cold. Lack of fluids and moisture, is Yin deficiency.
More specifically, vaginal dryness is caused by low estrogen, which in Chinese Medicine can be seen as Essence.
Learn more about how Chinese Medicine views Menopause Here.
Symptoms Associated with Vaginal Dryness:
- Itching and stinging around the vaginal opening and lower part of the vagina
- Pain or light bleeding with intercourse
- Urinary frequency or urgency
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
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How Chinese Medicine Can Help with Vaginal Dryness
As outlined, the symptoms that a women experiences leading up to menopause which simply means that menstruation has stopped has more to do with imbalances that have accumulated throughout her life then something that has occurred suddenly.
The decline of precious substances such as Essence and Yin, as well as Yang due to lifestyle factors are what causes the negative symptoms associated with menopause. Essence is the hardest to replenish, while Yin and Yang can be supplemented in time with the proper diet and herbal supplements.
This is why Chinese Medicine emphasizes the importance of prevention, because like the classic texts have pointed out; it is too late to try to dig a well when one is already thirsty and it is too late to forge weapons when war has already begun.
When prevention is not possible, and one finds them self already in the situation of experiencing negative menopausal symptoms, Chinese Medicine does have methods to improve the function of the body to lessen the symptoms.
Over thousands of years, through study and experience of great Chinese Medicine doctors, powerful herbals have been discovered which can have strong effects to regulate the body hormones. Many are called longevity herbs, because they are able to prevent aging and supplement the body.
Chinese Medicine is not a “one size fits all” medicine. Although there are general patterns of disharmony with certain diseases, we always take into account each individual’s constitutional imbalances. For example, even though vaginal dryness is strongly associated with Essence and Yin deficiency, she may have other significant imbalances that need to be addressed to get a favourable result.
Treatments Available at The Herb Fragrance Clinics
Internal Medicine: Herbal medicine can nourish essential substances that have been lost prematurely. Many of them are known as longevity herbs with powerful anti-aging effects. Herbs are available in powders, pills and decoctions which we can cook or can be cooked at home.
Herbal medicine is taken daily until the symptoms have cleared, usually for a period of 3 months at a minimum and often much longer.
Hip Bath: Raw herbs are boiled at home and the liquid is added to a small bath, deep enough to soak the hips in. Hip baths are taken daily for 15- 20 minutes daily while taking internal herbal medicine.
Herbal Enema: Raw herbs are boiled at home and the liquid is added to an enema bag for use in the anus.
Enemas are taken daily while taking internal herbal medicine.
Herbal Compress: Raw herbs are boiled at home and the liquid is soaked into a cloth and placed on the lower abdomen for about half an hour. Herbal compresses are taken daily for 30-45 minutes daily while taking internal herbal medicine.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture, as with herbal medicine has the ability to influence the hormonal system, stimulating regulatory effects in the body. Acupuncture is done 1-2 times per week until symptoms have been relieved and the desired effect is achieved.
Heat Lamp: An infrared heating lamp is an added tool used during acupuncture treatments, it is especially beneficial for cases involving cold.