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Let’s Talk About Vulvar vs. Vaginal Dryness

We often use the words “vulva” and “vagina” interchangeably even though they refer to different parts of our body. When it comes to dryness, it’s important to understand the differences between the vulva and vagina so that you can identify the source of your dryness and the most effective products to treat it. In this blog, we dive into vulvar vs. vaginal dryness, the most common causes, and how to best treat these conditions.

What is vulvar dryness?

The vulva refers to external genitalia of the female reproductive system, including the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and vaginal opening. When this area is dry, symptoms can include itching, redness, soreness, or a burning sensation.

What causes vulvar dryness?

Some of the most common causes of vulvar dryness include:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Menopause
  • Allergic reactions
  • Certain medications
  • Irritation with harsh soaps or other products
  • Tight underwear or clothing that chafes your skin

What to do about it

If you’re experiencing vulvar dryness, try switching up your soap to one suited for sensitive skin that is unscented. Opt for breathable loose-fit clothing and cotton underwear. You can also use a vulva serum such as the Hydrate Ever After Serum from Sweet Spot Labs that replenishes natural moisture with clean, non-irritating, ingredients including Jojoba, Macadamia Seed, Squalene, and Micro-Hyaluronic Acid.

What is vaginal dryness?

Unlike vulvar dryness, which affects the external genitalia, vaginal dryness involves a lack of moisture inside the vagina itself. Symptoms of vaginal dryness include pain during intercourse, or a frequent urge to urinate. Vaginal dryness may also impact sexual pleasure, as the lack of lubrication may lead to discomfort and difficulty with penetration. 

What causes vaginal dryness?

Most of the time, vaginal dryness is caused by a drop in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. Estrogen helps maintain the vagina’s natural lubrication, thickness and elasticity. A drop in estrogen may be caused by, but not limited to:

  • The menstrual cycle
  • Hormonal birth control
  • Changes in hormones around pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Chemotherapy
  • Stress and other emotional factors

For more information, check out our blog on the top 6 causes of vaginal dryness.

What to do about it

If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, try using a lubricant for added moisture. There are three different types of lubricant: water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based. You can learn about the different types in our guide to lubrication blog. We recommend using a water-based lubricant that is glycerin free like the Marlube as it’s perfect for sensitive skin. You can use it for sexual intercourse or with tampons!

The bottom line

Whether you’re experiencing vulvar or vaginal dryness, there are products designed to help you ease your discomfort. Try checking out the products from Sweet Spot Labs and Marlow for any dryness you experience throughout your monthly cycle.