Vitamins that May Help with Vaginal Dryness
However, itâ€™s especially prevalent during menopause and is often caused by decreased estrogen levels.
Stress, anxiety, decreased blood flow, and dehydration are a few other factors that may contribute to decreased lubrication (1).
Fortunately, several supplements have been shown to help prevent vaginal dryness and enhance lubrication.
Here are 6 vitamins and supplements that may help increase female lubrication.
1. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that doubles as a disease-fighting antioxidant (2).
Some research suggests that it could also be beneficial for increasing lubrication and reducing vaginal dryness.
According to one study in 52 women, using a vitamin E suppository for 12 weeks was found to improve symptoms of vaginal atrophy, which is a condition characterized by the thinning and dryness of the vaginal walls (3, 4).
Other studies have found that suppositories containing vitamin E, along with other ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin D, could improve symptoms of vaginal atrophy in women undergoing cancer treatments (5, 6).
Despite these promising results, more research is needed to evaluate how vitamin E taken as an oral supplement rather than a suppository may affect female lubrication.
Vitamin E suppositories have been shown to improve vaginal lubrication and improve symptoms of vaginal atrophy. However, more research is needed about the effects of taking vitamin E as an oral supplement.
2. Vitamin D
Sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced in the skin cells as a result of sun exposure (7).
Although vitamin D is most well known for its role in bone health, studies show that it could also help increase female lubrication.
In fact, one review of six studies concluded that both oral vitamin D supplements and suppositories could decrease dryness and improve vaginal health during menopause (8).
Another study in 44 postmenopausal women found that using a vitamin D suppository daily for 8 weeks significantly decreased vaginal dryness, compared with a control group (9).
Whatâ€™s more, a study in 200 older women also showed that increased vitamin D levels in the blood were associated with improvements in vaginal moisture and consistency (10).
Vitamin D oral supplements and suppositories may decrease vaginal dryness. Higher levels of vitamin D may also be tied to improvements in vaginal moisture and consistency.
3. Sea buckthorn oil
Sea buckthorn oil is a natural supplement derived from the leaves, seeds, and berries of the sea buckthorn plant.
Itâ€™s rich in essential fatty acids like linolic acid, which can strengthen the barrier of the skin and protect against water loss (11).
In one study in 116 postmenopausal women with vaginal dryness, consuming 3 grams of sea buckthorn oil daily for 3 months was linked to significant improvements in vaginal tissue integrity (12).
Women who used sea buckthorn oil also experienced improvements in vaginal elasticity and moisture than those who used a placebo, although this was not statistically significant (12).
Sea buckthorn oil also plays a key role in other aspects of skin health. It may help enhance wound healing, stimulate tissue regeneration, and increase the making of collagen â€” a structural protein that gives skin strength and elasticity (11).
Sea buckthorn oil is rich in essential fatty acids that are important for skin health. One study found that it improved vaginal tissue integrity and was tied to nonsignificant improvements in vaginal elasticity and moisture.
4. Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule produced by the body and is known for its role in skin health and aging (13).
Although itâ€™s most commonly used in cosmetics, hyaluronic acid is also available over the counter in supplement form.
According to one older study, taking 5 mg of hyaluronic acid sodium salt for 8 weeks improved symptoms in 42 postmenopausal women with vaginal atrophy (14).
Another 2-month study in 28 young women showed a supplement containing a combination of hyaluronic acid and other ingredients like glucosamine sulfate, alpha-lipoic acid, and vitamins A, C, and E improved vaginal dryness (15).
Topical gels and suppositories containing hyaluronic acid have also been shown to increase vaginal lubrication when used alone or combined with other ingredients like vitamin A and vitamin E (5, 16).
However, more research is needed to determine how oral supplementation with hyaluronic acid alone may affect female lubrication.
Although more studies are needed, hyaluronic acid may improve female lubrication when used in supplement, suppository, or gel form.
5. Fish oil
Fish oil is a supplement often used to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of heart-healthy fat found primarily in fatty fish (17).
Some research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could be beneficial for increasing female lubrication, especially during menopause.
One older study among 52 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors showed that taking 3.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acid daily for 6 months improved self-reported vaginal dryness (18).
Other studies have found that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids may increase estrogen levels, which may also help prevent vaginal dryness (4, 19, 20).
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to increase skin hydration and reduce dryness in human and animal studies (21, 22).
Still, further studies are needed to determine how fish oil may affect female lubrication specifically.
Fish oil may increase levels of estrogen and improve vaginal dryness, but more research is needed.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a type of steroid hormone involved in estrogen production (23).
Because DHEA production naturally declines as you get older, itâ€™s sometimes used as a supplement to help balance hormone levels and alleviate symptoms associated with menopause (23).
Multiple studies have also found that vaginal administration of DHEA could significantly improve female lubrication, reduce dryness, and increase levels of estrogen in postmenopausal women (24, 25, 26).
While research on the effectiveness of oral DHEA supplements is still minimal, some older studies have found that it could increase estrogen levels and enhance sexual function (27, 28).
DHEA may increase estrogen levels and increase lubrication, especially when administered vaginally.
The bottom line
Vaginal dryness can affect women at any age, but it is especially common during menopause.
Studies suggest that supplements like vitamin E, vitamin D, sea buckthorn oil, hyaluronic acid, fish oil, and DHEA could help increase vaginal lubrication.
That said, be sure to talk with your healthcare professional before adding any supplements to your routine, especially if you have any other underlying conditions or are taking medications.
Read more on: vitamin