Hello, fabulous ladies in your prime! As we toast (with our mocktails, of course) to another Dry January, let’s chat about a different kind of ‘dry’ that might be sneaking up on us during the perimenopause party – Vulval and Vaginal atrophy. Now, before you click away, I promise to keep things light-hearted. After all, if we can survive the rollercoaster of midlife, we can certainly talk about a little dryness down there, can’t we?
The ‘Not-So-Smooth’ Transition of Perimenopause
First off, perimenopause. It’s like puberty’s annoying cousin that no one really wants at the family reunion. Hot flashes, mood swings, and yes, changes in our intimate areas.
Vulval and vaginal atrophy is rarely discussed, but can massively limit your life in countless ways, IYKYK, but it can be very very different – this is not your destiny. Vulval and Vaginal atrophy is when our vulva and vaginal walls get thinner, drier, and a tad less elastic due to dropping oestrogen levels.. Think of it as your body’s way of saying, “I’m changing, and you need to keep up!”. Commonly this gifts us discomfort, not just mild, but it can be a whole new level of discomfort along with its awful friends itching, burning, UTI’s, and dryness down there, all thanks to our changing hormone levels. This is the stuff of nightmares – particularly if you have an active job or have to wear a uniform or PPE trousers (we know that they’re not that forgiving, that is a whole separate blog) or you love to be active through running, swimming or cycling.
Why Dry January Isn’t Just About Skipping the Sauvignon
Now, Dry January is usually about giving our liver a break, but let’s use this as a metaphor for our lady bits too. Just like our approach to alcohol, moderation and care are key. Vuvlval and vaginal atrophy can feel like a long, dry January that unfortunately lasts more than a month. But fear not, my dears, it’s manageable!
Tips to ‘Wet’ Your Whistle – The Vulval and Vaginal Edition
Know thyself: get to know your anatomy and your cycle, this will help you modify your clothing and activities as needed in the short term whilst you nail your routine.
Keep it natural: ditch the polyester and plastic knickers for natural fibers; also think about seamless knickers in different styles. This can be a comfort game-changer!
Vulval and Vaginal Lubricants and Moisturisers: Your new best friends. There’s no shame in the game. These can be like the glass of wine you savor on February 1st – a delightful, much-needed relief.
Stay Hydrated: Just like our Dry January commitment, hydration is key. Water is the elixir of life, after all.
Pelvic Floor Exercises: Think of these as your vagina’s personal gym. A little workout & relaxation can go a long way.
Topical Oestrogen Therapy: Sometimes, we need a little extra help. Consult with your doc about this one.
Mid-Life Makeover and MOT: Working with a menopause specialist or women’s health coach can help you get to grips with what’s going on, they can share with you their magic and knowledge about navigating the peri party.
Open Communication: With your partner, with your friends, and most importantly, with your doctor. There’s no taboo here, only support.
Embracing the Change with a Smile
Remember, ladies, change is inevitable, but misery is optional. Vulval and Vaginal atrophy might sound scary, but it’s just another bump (or dry patch) in the road. Keep smiling, stay informed, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The Silver Lining of the Sahara
Every cloud has a silver lining, and vulval and vaginal atrophy is no exception. This can be a time to explore new dimensions of intimacy, to focus on self-care, and to connect with other women going through the same journey. Let’s redefine what it means to be ‘dry’ – in January and in our midlife adventures.
Signing Off with Love and Laughter
So, here’s to us, fabulous midlife goddesses, navigating through every dry spell with grace, humour, and a well-stocked supply of lubricant! Remember, this journey is best travelled together, so let’s keep the conversation going.
Cheers to a moisturised and magnificent year ahead!
A bit about me & my background
Claire is a Women’s Health Specialist at Restoring Balance; a Sports Scientist and a Women’s Health Coach who is also a multi-disciplined therapist specialising in person-centred care. Claire is also a carer, juggling her time between her clinic and looking after her Mum.
Claire’s work is very different to many therapists – working with you as a whole person using a unique combination of mind, nutrition and movement to overcome both physical and emotional blocks; not just where you feel pain or have dysfunction, allowing you to live life again. Claire can help you with:
- Balancing your hormones
- Understanding your cycle and how to work with it and not it against it
- Peri-menopause and menopause coaching
- Post-operative rehabilitation
- Post-operative scar care
- Improving your pelvic floor function
- Calming your stress & anxiety
- Improving your digestive health
- Changing your mind-set
- Improving your emotional health
- Relieving pain
- Increasing mobility, balance, stability, co-ordination
I work both online and in person from my home-based clinic on Hayling Island, Hampshire.