We bet you’ve heard of hot flushes & night sweats, but did you know vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause, too? Read on for our guide to lubricants to know about 


Before we get into vaginal dryness and what you can do about it, let’s take things back to basics. Menopause usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55. In some cases it begins earlier, but the average age to reach menopause is 51. It’s the time when menstruation stops and it’s no longer possible to get pregnant naturally. 


Symptoms are wide-ranging and can begin before the menopause (perimenopause) and continue after (postmenopause). They include hot flushes, night sweats, low mood, difficulty sleeping and, of course, vaginal dryness. 


What is vaginal dryness?


Vaginal dryness is a very common symptom of menopause. Why? It’s down to changing levels of hormones, particularly a drop in oestrogen levels, which can affect how much vaginal discharge or fluid you have and cause the vaginal lining to become dryer and more delicate.  


If you have vaginal dryness you may experience:


• Soreness or itchiness in and around your vagina

• Pain or discomfort during sex

• A need to pee more often than usual

• Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)


These symptoms can be tough on daily life and can also lead to a reduced sex drive (libido).


Sex during menopause 


Sex should feel great at any age and definitely doesn’t stop when you reach menopause. But if vaginal dryness is causing discomfort and putting a damper on your sex life, there are things you can do to help ease symptoms.


Lubricants


A great place to start is by using a lubricant to help reduce feelings of friction during sex. These are completely normal to use, whether you’re enjoying sex with a partner or by yourself. They can be placed at the entrance to or inside the vagina, on a partner’s penis, and used with sex toys – the exception being silicone-based lubricants which shouldn’t be used with silicone sex toys as they can damage the material in the toy.


There are many types of lubricants on the market, from water-based to oil-based. It’s best to avoid any labelled cooling or warming as these could increase irritation when you have vaginal dryness. It may take some experimenting to find one that works for your body, so here’s our round-up of three to consider:

MegsMenopause Motion Lotion Water Based Intimate Lubricant 


Designed to be kind to your intimate area, this PH balanced formula helps relieve uncomfortable feelings of dryness during sex. It’s a water-based lubricant which means it’s suitable for use with a condom. 

Sylk Intimate Lubricant


This plant-based lubricant gently soothes, hydrates, and helps provide relief from vaginal dryness. The water-based formula is PH balanced so it’s kind to your sensitive vaginal lining, and it’s safe to use with a condom. 

MegsMenopause Motion Lotion Natural Oil Based Intimate Lubricant


If you find water-based formulas aren’t for you, then it could be worth trying an oil-based formula like this one from MegsMenopause. It’s designed to provide extra silky lubrication for everyday use or as little or often as you like. But it’s important to note that oil-based lubricants aren’t suitable for use with a condom.

How else can I relieve vaginal dryness?


If vaginal dryness is causing discomfort beyond sex, there are other things you can do to help. 


Vaginal moisturisers


You may find that a vaginal moisturiser can help ease symptoms of dryness. Make sure to use one specifically formulated for the vagina (a face or body cream won’t agree with such a delicate area) and avoid using creams or lotions like petroleum jelly in your vagina as these can cause infection. It’s also advised to use unperfumed washes and soaps around your vagina to help avoid any risk of irritation. 


Oestrogen treatment


In addition to lubricants and vaginal moisturisers, your GP can prescribe oestrogen treatments that can be put into your vagina as a cream, pessary or vaginal ring to help relieve feelings of dryness, itchiness and pain.


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)


Another option is HRT which is a common treatment, not just for vaginal dryness, but for many other menopausal symptoms. It’s available in tablets, skin patches, gels and implants, and works by replacing the hormones lost during menopause. As with many medicines there are benefits and  risks, so speak to your GP to discuss further if you’re interested in this treatment. Alternatively, it’s available via our Boots Online Doctor Menopause & HRT Treatment.*


If vaginal dryness is affecting your daily life, you have unusual discharge or bleeding from your vagina, or you experience bleeding after sex, see your GP who can advise further. 

*Access to treatment is subject to clinician approval. Subject to availability. Charges apply