Dear Dr. Myrtle,
Since I gave birth, I have been experiencing vaginal dryness with penetration. Is this normal?
Vaginal lubrication is often an issue for women postpartum (after delivery), especially for women who have chosen to breastfeed. While not such an issue during pregnancy because of the increased fluids in your body, after delivery many women notice a distinct change in vaginal/vulvar moisture. This happens because of post-pregnancy hormone changes, which can take months to normalize. Breastfeeding can make vagnial dryness more extreme, because of the special hormonal state required to produce breast milk. There are several solutions to consider:
- Your sensitive genital skin needs some extra care, particularly if you delivered your pregnancy vaginally. The skin was stretched maximally during delivery, and needs time to recover. To help maintain the moisture in your vulva, use a moisturizing lubricant such as Liquid Silk or Pink Indulgence daily. Rub a small amount on the lips of your vulva. The beauty of a moisturizing lubricant is that it will slowly soak into your skin and trap moisture which helps the skin to heal.
- Some women do a brief moisturizing genital massage right before they go to sleep at night. That way their tissues do the healing during sleep. Other women invite their partners to do the gentle genital massage, which makes for some nice connection time, even though she may not yet be ready for sexual penetration.
- Supplement your natural secretions with a water-based or silicone lubricant for any kind of sex play. Lubrication helps reduce the friction on your tender skin, while allowing you the pleasure of penetration. Some women recommend lubricants with aloe gel, since aloe also aids in skin healing.
- Arouse yourself sexually to a lathered state before attempting vaginal or anal penetration. Some women find that having an orgasm prior to penetration draws moisture to the genitals, and adds a nice spark to the beginning of their sex play.