Cover Art and Book Design by: Yvonne Less, diversepixel.com
Remember when we were younger and our youthful bodies produced enough moisture that we didn’t feel like alligators? It doesn’t seem like so long ago, yet now I’m left wondering: How is it that I can reapply body cream three and four times a day, but within an hour or two, it completely disappears? Where does it go? Has my body become the keeper of Vaseline Intensive Care? Am I storing it subcutaneously?
Is this why I look bigger?
Winter, spring, summer, or fall—the seasons change nothing when it comes to this symptom of menopause. My skin is dry all the time, and so is my hair, leaving it like straw if I don’t use heavy-duty conditioner. Argan oil has become a mainstay for me, right up there with toothpaste.
Every time another body part fell victim to this reptilian syndrome, I gasped in disbelief. There was actually more to come! Our missing estrogen is like a thief in the night, robbing us of precious moisture—leaving behind thinning and flakey skin. Was there any part of me this meno thing was going to spare? I anxiously awaited the finish line—the subsiding, instead of the escalation and exaggeration, of my symptoms. I longed to be the former me, but I found that the dryness didn’t stop there.
I can’t talk about dryness without mentioning down below—our nether regions. Well, ladies, just as the skin on our faces begins to lose volume . . . you guessed it. So does down there. I appropriately named this symptom the Sahara effect. Gone were the days of panty liners—unless, of course, they were being used to protect myself during a lapse of bladder control. It wasn’t uncommon for a few drops to escape during a good belly laugh.
The lack of moisture in my lady parts was a source of constant irritation. I wondered who had turned off my internal tap. I went to my gynecologist with this complaint—my newfound feeling of having become a shriveled prune. The dryness was so irritating that it felt like diaper rash and paper cuts rolled into one. Sitting or standing became a constant irritation as my underwear rubbed against my groin.
My doctor prescribed me a vaginal estrogen cream to combat the uncomfortable dryness. I hesitated using it and finally declined, swearing I was the one woman who didn’t need chemical hormones in or out of my body. I fought my doctor on the issue while trying to ride the tide without prescriptions. However, I did go see my naturopath. He prescribed some natural, bio-identical progesterone cream to balance my dryness-inducing estrogenic swings. However, after about six months of using the cream, I threw in the towel.
Is it any wonder the last thing on our minds at this time is sex? Losing estrogen causes our lady parts to thin out and become more sensitive. This factor and a diminished output of vaginal secretion can add up to a lot of discomfort. I saw many ads for lubricants, most laden with chemicals that can lead to irritation, but these only left me searching for something better. After doing some extensive reading on this transitional time and learning about some new natural remedies, I found my happiness: olive oil.
My relief came through natural oils. Many products use oil as a base before adding all those nasty synthetics we can’t even pronounce, so I went back to my naturopath to discuss the safety of using oil for relief, and he told me it was perfectly fine to use grape seed, olive, and almond oils (if you aren’t allergic to nuts) as sex lubricants. He didn’t see why it wouldn’t work to combat the ongoing irritation I was experiencing.
Ah, I had found comfort. I applied where necessary and escaped the pharmaceutical route as well as the expense of trial and error. Good old Mother Nature came to the rescue. I filled a clean container with some pure extra-virgin olive oil from my kitchen for personal use.
Another thing that helped ease my discomfort was getting away from using commercial soaps. I’m particularly fond of emu oil or goats’ milk soap with no additives or perfumes. I also began using natural laundry detergent to wash my undergarments. Everything I changed eventually led to less irritation, but make sure to check with your doctor before taking steps to conquer your symptoms. Everybody is different, and it’s always best to ask.