One of the most irritating problems associated with menopause is vaginal dryness and itching. Not only can it be extremely uncomfortable but it can be tricky if you suffer an uncontrollable bout of itching when you’re in public. While your doctor will be able to prescribe medications that will help ease the symptoms and restore the natural pH of your vagina, there are several natural remedies available which utilise common cupboard ingredients to help calm the irritation and ease hot, inflamed and tender skin.
Maintain optimal hygiene
Establishing and maintaining a proper hygiene routine will go a long way to help ease the discomfort associated with vaginal irritation. This requires bathing the area twice daily with warm water avoiding any strong smelling soaps or bubble bath. Choose non-irritating cotton underwear instead of pants made from synthetic fibres and ensure that you change your underwear daily, or more often if necessary.
Use a cold compress to reduce irritation
A cold compress can be used to provide instant relief from itching. It works by helping to numb the area and reduce inflammation. To make your compress, simply wrap a few ice cubes into a clean cloth and apply to the area for 30 seconds or alternatively a soft gel cold pack can be used . Repeat as often as necessary until the itching subsides. Rinsing your vagina with cold water several times a day may also prove beneficial.
Try a saltwater bath
A bath filled with salty water is a well-used remedy for vaginal itching. Not only does the salt help control the growth of any bacteria, but it provides instant cooling relief. Add ½ cup of salt to a shallow bath and simply sit in it in a squatting position for up to 15 minutes. For best results you should repeat this several times a day.
If you don’t have access to a bath, simply add a tablespoon of salt to a glass of water and use the salty liquid to wash your vagina when the need arises. However, don’t use this remedy if you have any open sores or cracked skin.
Use plain yoghurt for instant relief
Yoghurt has proved to be very effective for easing the discomfort associated with vaginal irritation. The active cultures within the yoghurt neutralise any bad bacteria, while adding a dose of good bacteria. The yoghurt can be used in two ways: either drink or eat some yoghurt every day, making sure that it’s plain yoghurt and not the fruit/flavoured variety, or apply to the vaginal area daily. However, topical application is the most effective remedy and can be easily applied either by soaking a tampon with the yoghurt or by inserting frozen yoghurt inside the vagina. Both of these methods will give instant relief.
Apple cider vinegar
Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, apple cider vinegar has long been used as a “cure all” for many kinds of ailments. Simply mix two tablespoons of vinegar with warm water and use the liquid twice daily to wash your vagina. It will help to restore the pH balance of the area. Alternatively, why not mix a tablespoon of the vinegar and a teaspoon of honey into warm water for a therapeutic drink? This needs to be taken on a regular basis to see any improvement, so is probably best used as a long-term strategy rather than to provide instant relief.
Garlic is endowed with strong antibacterial properties that can reduce irritation quickly. However, you don’t have to use the cloves or bulb itself: simply mix a few drops of garlic oil together with a teaspoon of vitamin E oil and apply it to the irritated areas again, be mindful to avoid this if you have cuts. You may want to consider eating a couple of raw cloves a day to ward off all kinds of infections, although garlic supplements may be preferable to avoid the tell-tale odour.
Easy herbal remedies
Herbs have been used for centuries to treat all kinds of conditions. Once again, their effectiveness is all down to their anti-microbial, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Basil leaves can be used to make a basil ‘tea’, while sprigs of rosemary can be infused in hot water and, once it’s cooled down, can be used to wash the vaginal area.
When natural remedies aren’t enough
While women can suffer from vaginal irritation at any age, it can become more prevalent during and after menopause. It’s due to the hormones produced during this time, and the fact that the vaginal skin becomes thinner when there’s less oestrogen around. However, by trying some of the above natural remedies and ensuring that you wear loose, comfortable clothing, you should be able to minimise the discomfort you feel. If the itching does become too severe, or if you’re experiencing extreme discomfort and pain, it’s always recommended to consult your doctor for some medical advice.