Let’s not beat about the bush…The big VD is not about any terrible venereal disease…but about VAGINAL DRYNESS! And the cold fish syndrome? That’s about women who fail to light up in the bedroom when their men are flaming! One of my cousins reminds me of such women whenever our extended family has to meet to resolve a dispute between her and her husband. He’d say, accusingly, he could count, on his fingertips, the number of times she yielded in 10 years to make four children with him! The peace meeting would roar in laughter as she asks him: “is it food?”

The idea of vaginal dryness, a possible cause of frigidity, as “The Big VD” comes from Judy Lindberg McFarland, in her book AGING WITHOUT GROWING OLD. In one of her television appearances for nutritional medicine advocacy, she was interviewed by Jim McClellan, the host. The subject was The Symptoms of Menopause. At the end of the first episode, Jim cracked a joke that “when we come back, we would talk about The Big VD”. Then, he whispered to the audience: “Vaginal Dryness”.

Everyone laughed. But that was not the end of the story. Judy afterwards received a letter from an elderly woman who requested: “You tell Jim that Vaginal dryness is not funny. I have it and it hurts”.

Judy McFarland replies in her book that “it hurts, indeed”. Apart from being a source of psychological stress to many women who reluctantly yield in the bedroom like “logs of wood”, friction against the unlubricated vaginal wall may cause bruises or breaks which may cause pain and, when infected, inflammation and unrelenting pain.

As Judy McFarland describes it:

“Reduced estrogen levels may cause the mucus membranes of the vaginal to change. The vaginal walls begin to lose their elasticity and become drier and thinner. The vaginal secretions and secretions from the cervix become less acidic, and the risk of vaginal infection increases. The vaginal itself shrinks, becoming shorter and narrower. This can cause increased frequency of urination and may result in increased urinary tract infections, and leaking of urine upon coughing, laughing or sneezing. These changes may result in discomfort during intercourse for some women. It could be specially important to use the progesterone cream on the vaginal area since proper lubrication is essential. You should also buy a good Vitamin E oil and apply to the area everyday. In chapter 5, I discussed Vitamin E and Vitamin A mixed in Jojoba oil, which would also help you. When used externally, Vitamin E is excellent on for dry skin, burns, wounds, cuts et.c.”

Understanding VD

Many women do not know how the vagina is lubricated by Mother Nature. There are glands in the vagina and the cervix which produce some of the lubricants. Other lubricants come from droplets in the bloodstream as the blood circulates in this region. Lubricants dropping from the circulation are rich in Potassium, Calcium, Sodium, other electrolytes and proteins which seep from the vaginal wall into the vaginal vault. Equally important for vaginal hydration are Omega-3 fatty acids which may be obtained from fish-oil food supplements, Vitamin A and Flax seed oil. The water soluble Vitamin A or solubilized Vitamin A, a special proprietary formula, is more effective than the fat-soluble variety because it is easier to absorb and use. It has been of help to people who suffer from such dehydration challenges as dry eyes, dry skin and even dry lung tissue, and offers hope in dry vagina as well. It should not be forgotten that the vaginals mucus membrane, like mucus membranes throughout the body, do well on feeds of Vitamin A and Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Aloe vera gel, whether the natural leaf or a proprietary blend, is also a good hydrator. In some cases, Aloe vera gel and Slippery elm have been mixed and used as a rehydrating gel. Coconut oil and Olive oil, too, have had roles to play in the health of the vagina in this regard, being rehydrating and anti-microbial.

Dietary deficiencies are not the only causes of vaginal dryness, which may strike at a woman of any age, although menopausal and post menopausal women are more at risk. A leading major cause of this problem is hormonal imbalance in which estrogen levels drop in the ratios with progesterone, the counterbalancing female hormone. Estrogen makes a woman a woman, gives her those fascinating mammary glands and curves which make her alluring to the opposite gender. Dietary deficiencies may affect a woman’s estrogen production in the right proportions. Stress can also cause an imbalance of the hormones. So do surgical removal of the ovaries or subnormal functioning ovaries, as it is in the ovaries that most of the estrogen needs of a woman is produced. When a woman arrives at menopausal age, the ovaries are already tired or so they seem, and begin to produce less estrogen. The function goes to the adrenal glands or to the fat cells in her body, which is a likely reason for the acquisition of more fats in the abdomen and hips at this time. In fact, it is said that if a woman is abnormally big from the hips and the thighs downwards, it suggests that her ovaries are not working well.

On the other hand, it is believed that if a woman is abnormally big upstream (arms and breasts) it suggests that her thyroid gland is not working well. Downstream weight problems can be caused by stress. When a woman is under more stress than she can bear, the adrenal glands, which protect the body against stress, can be overworked, fatigued and even burnt out.

In this case the adrenal glands cease to produce adequate levels of stress hormones to protect the body against stress. The brain overcomes this lapse by instructing that other hormones not needed in emergency services, especially sex hormones, be converted to stress hormones to prevent the body from capitulating to stress and breaking down. When sex hormones are converted to stress hormones, libido or interest in sex declines because estrogen output has also declines. As estrogen output declines, vaginal lubrication also declines. The vaginal wall rapidly grows older, weak, thin and tired. Any penile friction against it may easily bruise the tissue and expose nerves and blood vessels which lie beneath it like conduit work. When the nerves are pinched, the affected woman expresses pain. When the blood vessels are broken, blood may leak into the vaginal and infections may occur. A woman in this situation cannot but become a “cold fish” in the bedroom, irresponsive to the warmth or heat and advances of her spouse. Many men do not understand this and, so, do not treat with compassion women who recoil from sex on this account.

To offset the loss of estrogen output from the ovaries, estrogen containing herbs are often suggested for inclusion in the diet. Actually a Nigerian network company solds product called PHYTOESTROGEN about a decade ago. Other herbs with estrogenic activity include Black Cohosh, Vitex, Dong quai, Siberian Ginseng, Licorice and Soya for its isoflavones.

Judy McFarland says: “Years ago, we were taught the KEGEL exercises which we used in high school to prevent menstrual cramps. This set of exercises is now used to help increase vaginal blood flow and improve muscle tone. Dr. Kegel, a gynecologist who developed this exercise, states they can be done anytime. All you do is imagine you need to stop urinating, which tightens muscles around the anus, uterus, and vagina. All for a few seconds, then relax, repeated often, this helps strengthen the whole vaginal area.

“Remember that anti-histamine, diuretics, and cold pills designed to dry up the nasal tissues can also dry other tissues.”

Men also benefit from kegel exercise which can improve their staying power and prevent premature ejaculation.

Irene Simpson, a neuropathic practitioner in Arlington, Washington sums it up in THE DOCTORS BOOK OF HOME REMEDIES:

“You can strengthen your anal, vaginal, and urinary muscles with a special exercise called kegel. Stronger muscles can help you relax and use these muscles with less pain and more pleasure during intercourse. They are also good for preventing urinary incontinence, a problem for some menopausal women. Here’s how to do it.

“Imagine you want to stop urine in midstream. Squeeze the muscles in your vaginal area firmly. Hold to the count of three, then relax. Practice with a rapid alternation between tightening and letting go. You can practice this exercise anywhere, anytime.”