Health

Can a winter vagina affect your sex life? Experts weigh in

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Yes, there is something called the winter vagina that can leave your genitalia high and dry. But does it really affect your sex life?

Winter is definitely the time of the year, when we can’t wait to keep warm inside our blankets and sip on hot chocolate. But this season also brings with it so many woes, namely chapped lips, dry skin and… any guesses? A ‘winter’ vagina. You may wonder what this really is, but let’s just say your vagina enters into drought mode due to excessive dryness.

In a chat with HealthShots, Anamika Sinha, a New-Delhi based gynecologist says, “The cold weather is harsh and can also affect female genitalia. This leads to a rise in vaginal dryness. The lack of moisture in the air is to blame.”

Moreover, certain habits can exacerbate this condition. From taking long and hot showers, to wearing uncomfortable clothes, or even sitting close to the heater almost all the time can disturb the vaginal microbiome.

But can this impact sex life?

It definitely can, says Sinha. The glands present in the cervix keeps the vagina naturally lubricated. During arousal, the Bartholin’s glands that are present at the entrance of the vagina produce more moisture that helps in smooth sexual intercourse. However, there are several women who face vaginal dryness. And for others, the winter season brings in this drought.

“Although it does impact sex life, there are ways of dealing with the condition. You could buy a lubricant or a vaginal moisturiser and in case it gets out of hand, make sure to visit a specialist without any delay,” says Sinha.

winter vagina
Lubricants help enhance sexual pleasure and reduce pain during sex. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are some reasons that could impact vaginal dryness?

1. Estrogen deficiency or hormonal deficiency

One of the most common causes of vaginal dryness is a decrease in estrogen levels. But why does it happen? Dr Aruna Kalra, director, obstetrics and gynaecology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, tells HealthShots, “It can happen post-delivery, during breastfeeding. It can also happen to somebody who underwent radiotherapy or chemotherapy for some kind of cancer. Also, in those who are postmenopausal and menopausal after ovaries are removed surgically. Those are some causes behind hormonal deficiencies.

2. Hormonal birth control pills

Vaginal dryness can be a consequence of using certain birth control methods such as hormonal birth control pills that contain the hormones estrogen or progesterone. It happens because birth control pills lower women’s testosterone levels produced by ovaries, which leads to vaginal dryness.

3. Use of certain drugs

“Some kinds of drugs also cause vaginal dryness. If you are taking anti-estrogen cream for uterine fibroids, for endometriosis, or if you are on anti-allergic drugs for a cold, you can experience vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness can also be caused by many other drugs like antidepressants,” says Dr Kalra.

winter vagina
The discharge during foreplay can act as a natural lubricant. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here’s how women can deal with a winter vagina:

  • Try enough foreplay
  • Use a water-based vaginal moisturiser
  • An estrogen cream could work too
  • Avoid douching
  • Avoid strong perfumed soaps or lotions down there

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