Happy September, Sliqies! As we wave goodbye to the summer sun & heat, not all of us are able to escape the hot flashes and dryness. That’s right folks, we’re talking about menopause and vaginal dryness. We’ve heard all this talk about WAP after the popularization of the term from the rap queens Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion; however, not everyone naturally has a WAP and that’s okay! We commonly hear about vaginal dryness being associated with menopause, but there are many other reasons someone can be experiencing this. Let’s get into it!

Perimenopause

We often only hear about “the change” or menopause, but no one talks about perimenopause. Perimenopause, according to Johns Hopkins Medical Journal, is the time leading up to one’s final menstrual cycle, or the natural process of the ovaries stopping their function. This also marks the end of the reproductive years. During this time period, one can experience hot flashes, changes in their menstrual cycle, mood changes, etc. Perimenopause and its symptoms can often be easily confused for other reproductive complications or disorders – but is easily diagnosed by age, medical history, and a physical exam by your healthcare provider. Even with a diagnosis of perimenopause, it does not require any treatment unless your symptoms begin to disrupt your day-to-day.

Menopause

After perimenopause has been identified, once your final menstrual cycle ends, menopause begins. According to the National Institute of Aging (NIA), under the National Institute of Health (NIH), menopause is the twelve-month period after a person’s last and final menstrual cycle. This transition typically happens between the ages of 45-55 and lasts up to seven years, but can last as long as 14 years! During perimenopause and menopause, the levels of estrogen and progesterone begin to decrease, which is the result of the common symptoms we hear about. The symptoms of menopause vary from person to person and are dependent on various factors including diet, race, family history, and other lifestyle choices. Some of the common menopause symptoms include sleep changes, changes to your period, hot flashes, incontinence or bladder control changes, and most commonly, vaginal dryness. Much like perimenopause, it is a natural occurrence of a vulva owner’s life cycle and you do not need to treat any of these symptoms unless they begin to interfere with your day-to-day.

Vaginal Dryness

With perimenopause and menopause being some of the more common culprits of vaginal dryness, you might be asking yourself, “I’m not that old or going through menopause, so why am I experiencing this?!” Well, I’m glad you asked, and thank you for being so brave to do so! Vaginal dryness is actually more common than we think. The Cleveland Clinic states that vaginal dryness is a symptom, often a painful one, that is caused by a variety of ailments and can affect one’s quality of life. It is estimated that around a little less than 20% of vulva owners ages 18-50 experience vaginal dryness! You might be wondering “what are these things that cause me to have a DAP instead of a WAP?” Vaginal dryness can be experienced because of birth control, breastfeeding/childbirth, medications like anti-depressants or antihistamines, certain medical conditions, lack of sexual arousal, and more.

DAP Treatments

Depending on why one is experiencing vaginal dryness, there are several different ways to help remedy this. For example, if you are experiencing vaginal dryness during sex and are not on any medications that might be causing this, or experiencing menopause, it could be that you are not sexually aroused. You can remedy this by trying new things to spice up your sex life and get your mind more stimulated to help with physical arousal, or you can use lubricant!

If you are experiencing perimenopause or menopause and are dealing with vaginal dryness, there are lots of creams, moisturizers, gels, and even herbs to support this. However, it is often suggested to use lubricant – even when not having sex. A very popular and recommended suggestion by gynecologists and medical practitioners is Sliquid Satin! This product is a daily-use, moisturizing lubricant that is aloe-based, infused with seaweed extract and Vitamin E, that can be used for sexual activity or daily comfort! It was specifically created to support vulva owners who experience vaginal dryness due to medication, menopause, and more. This product is natural, light, and a little more cost-effective than some other solutions.

As always lovelies, menopause, like many other things in life, are a part of this journey and the beauty of aging! Vaginal dryness, much like menopause, is often seen as taboo or even embarrassing, because it is not commonly talked about, or folks just might feel shy. Both of these things are something that we should continue to bring awareness to so that more people are comfortable asking questions, getting support, and finding the right products to help support them as well. The human body is impressive and also confusing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all learn and share together; more likely than not, someone you know has or is experiencing the same thing. Be gentle with yourself and as always, #HeauxResponsibly!

Heaux on the Geaux

About The Author

“Saniyyah (They/Them/Saniyyah) aka @HeauxOnTheGeaux is a Community Sexual Health Educator, Pleasure Activist, Heaux Mentor, Abortion Doula & Sex Toy Reviewer. They strive to create easy & accessible, free sex education for folks in the Black and brown communities – prioritizing liberation, decolonization & harm reduction. Saniyyah’s goal in their work is to create a world in which sex & shame no longer co-exist; a world in which speaking freely about sex & pleasure are no longer taboo; and as a non-binary, queer, polyamorous person, Saniyyah also emphasizes uplifting & highlighting those in their marginalized communities”

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