By Susan Reznik (text) & Silja Elsener (illustration)
Well, have you experienced it? It burns, itches and causes pain during sex. Really uncool thing! There is a widespread misconception that mostly only women in menopause are affected by the hormonal changes of vaginal dryness. But in fact, many women, regardless of menopause, will experience vaginal dryness at some point or for a longer period of time in their lives.
Not only is vaginal dryness annoying, uncomfortable and even painful, but unfortunately it also creates a perfect breeding ground for inflammation, fungi and infections. This is because the dryness can cause small tears in the skin that offer space for nasty intruders.
The discomfort of vaginal dryness is oppressive and what makes it difficult is that there are multiple factors behind its cause. The most common are stress, hormonal contraceptive methods such as birth control pills or menstrual products such as tampons.
The tampon problem
Without discussion: the invention of the tampon as we know it today was a revolutionary thing. It gives us both freedom and leakage protection during our period. Unfortunately, tampons not only absorb period blood, but also everyday vaginal secretions, better known as discharge. Anyone who has a vagina knows that when it is healthy it is always a little wet. You can imagine this moisture as a kind of protective film that ensures that pathogens and germs do not stick to our mucous membranes. If it is dry down there, this protective effect fails. But this is super important for our mucous membrane in the intimate area. The daily discharge brings dead cells and bacteria to the door of our vulva. A bouncer, so to speak, who protects us from unwanted guests in our sensitive party zone.
The soft tampon solution
If you don't like pads or can't get used to the cup, soft tampons are a great alternative. Due to their spongy texture, soft tampons reliably absorb period blood. A nice side effect is that they are suitable for sports, bathing and also sex. Unfortunately, conventional tampons, whether soft or not, often have chemicals like bleach residue or even glyphosate in them. Yes, exactly: the agent that is used in conventional agriculture against weeds and pests. Researchers at the Argentine University in La Plata found out in a study that 85% of conventional tampons are affected. Not exactly something we want to put into our bodies.
We at PERIOD. have further developed conventional soft tampons, from which our PONTAMS® emerged: Sustainable and reusable soft tampons made of 100% plant flour, which are used slightly moistened. As a result, the soft tampon does not dry you out at all, but is super easy to insert and remove. In addition, the vegetable basis promotes probiotic microorganisms and at the same time inhibits unwanted guests such as bacteria and fungi. Since the soft tampons consist only of plant flour and water, they are even compostable.
And here are some more tips to prevent vaginal dryness:
- Our vagina is a master of self-cleaning. Nowhere on our body do we have as many glands as in the intimate area. These produce secretion in the walls of our vagina, i.e. the discharge that washes away unwanted things. Soaps and shower gels can mess up the pH levels of our vaginas. This is slightly acidic and lies between 3.8 and 4.4. However, our skin has a pH between 4.7 and 5.75. This means that shower gels and soaps are not suitable for cleaning your vagina. Simply wash your inner vulval lips with lukewarm water. That's enough. For real.
- Tight underpants and pants made of synthetic materials that are too tight make our intimate parts sweat. This increases the risk of bacteria. That's why it's better to wear airy cotton underpants.
- And yes, we know it doesn't sound super inspiring, but like many things, a balanced lifestyle, healthy nutrition, regular exercise and relaxation in everyday life actually help to stay in balance down there.
- If the vaginal dryness lasts longer: Better once too much than too little for the gyno. They can give you specific creams for vaginal dryness. You can also check with the specialist whether you should change your contraception.
Disclaimer: Why is the scabbard never mentioned in the whole text?
The term scabbard as a term for the female sex organ can be traced back to the medieval word for the scabbard. So a case made of solid material with a slit in which the sword is stowed. Well, language is power. We find that our vagina is anything but a passive organ that serves primarily as a receptacle for male swords. She protects us, she gives us pleasure and joy, she can give birth to life, she is strong and active!