Vaginal dryness is an unspoken occurrence that affects many women. It is one of the two most prevalent symptoms of menopause (the other being hot flashes). Vaginal dryness, and the attendant reduction in plumpness, occurs due to a drop in estrogen. It can also happen in much younger women who are experiencing hormonal imbalances.
In TCM vaginal dryness is a sign of Yin deficiency. Yin is the substance and lubrication of the body. It provides the luster, suppleness, flexibility, centerdness, and calm. Yin anchors our thinking and excitement and allows us to rest. Yin is the fuel for active Yang in the body.
Yin can become deficient due to overwork, mental and emotional stress, blood and fluid loss, poor nutrition, and lack of self care and rest. All women have a tendency to become Yin deficient with age. When Yin is deficient, Yang becomes relatively excessive which causes heat signs. Yin deficiency can manifest as dryness (skin, hair, eyes, mouth, stools, etc.), anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, emotional instability and sensitivity, excess libido, agitation, tinnitus, thinning skin, malar flush, and heat in hands and feet worse at night.
How do we protect our Yin and avoid or reverse vaginal dryness?
- Live a healthy lifestyle. This means getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, eating regular nutritious meals, enjoying connection and laughter, reducing stress, and avoiding overworking. This is the foundation for everything.
- Practice proper menstrual and postpartum care. This keeps the hormones balanced and is essential for every woman’s long-term vitality.
- Drink sufficient fluids to avoid dehydration and limit alcohol and caffeine.
- Consume Yin tonics regularly like fish oil, black sesame seeds, avocado, bone broth, go ji berries, and American ginseng. The most effective and potent way to take Yin tonics is in the form of balanced Chinese herbal formulas that will include herbs to clear heat and astringe fluids.
- Take astringent herbs regularly such as Wu Wei Zi (schizandra) and Shan Zhu Yu (cornus). These are best taken in balanced formulas.
- Treat unresolved trauma, repression, or resentments in regards to sexuality, trust, and relationships. Vaginal dryness can be psychological or have a psychological component. The uterus and genitals are strongly connected to the heart. Most women need to feel an emotional and mental connection with their lover. If there are resentments, blockages due to past experiences, or you simply do not like the person anymore you cannot expect to feel excited. Your body may be trying to tell you something.
- Cultivate an empowered sexuality. Many women receive conflicting and negative messages that block sexual expression.
- Practice relaxation. This can mean daily meditation, spending time in nature, doing qigong or yoga.
- Get in touch with your creativity on a daily basis. Creativity and sexuality belong to the Water element and are strongly linked. Cultivating one will increase the other.
Maintaining juiciness is about more than just sexual functioning. Keeping your Yin strong means maintaining your womanliness: gentleness, grace, self-sufficiency, ease, peace, love…. all the things this world needs.
Andrews, Lia. “The ‘Three Golden Opportunities’: Key Times Women Can Improve or Damage their Health.” (The Journal of Chinese Medicine, October 2013, Number 103).
Andrews, Lia. “7 Times a Woman; Ancient Wisdom on Health & Beauty for Every Stage of Your Life.” (Alcyone Press: San Diego, 2013).