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Tips from a Female Dryness Expert [Closed]

SylkSylk Posts: 5 Female Dryness Expert
edited August 2020 in Ask a Healthcare Professional

Have a question about vaginal dryness and vaginal health? Learn to feel more comfortable. 

[Discussion is now closed]

About Sylk

Sylk is a small, family-owned business that was born out of a passion for wellbeing and women’s health. Discovered on a trip to New Zealand in the 1990’s, at a time when there were no other natural, pH friendly personal lubricants on the market in the UK, we could tell there was a need for a kinder, plant based solution to vaginal dryness in the UK.

We quickly gained the support of leading Health Professionals and organisations such as The British Menopause Society, The National Federation of Gynae and Oncology Nurses and CORST who saw the positive effects it was having on patients.  In 1997 the product was approved by the NHS to be listed on prescription and sold over the counter.

One of the key challenges facing us has always been the taboo that surrounds menopause and vaginal health.  We know that 80% of menopausal women will suffer with vaginal dryness, yet only 1/3 seek medical help. Many are too embarrassed or think “it will just go away”. Left untreated, this condition can have a massive impact on our self-confidence and relationships.  We may stop wanting to have sex because it’s painful. Our partners may think we are rejecting them which can lead to relationships breaking down.

The onset of menopausal symptoms, like vaginal dryness, can often be subtle and can start even before our periods have stopped.  This is peri-menopause and is often a time when symptoms can be at their worst as our hormones fluctuate. It is only recently that peri-menopause is being recognised and that women should receive support and treatment, even if their periods haven’t stopped.

We are now forecast to live much longer because of better healthcare.  Whilst this is brilliant it does mean we could now be spending a third of our life post-menopause.  As vaginal dryness is the one symptom that doesn’t ‘go away’ it is vital that we make sure we know how to manage it so we can continue to have fulfilling sex lives and feel comfortable day to day.

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  • KNA67KNA67 Posts: 3


    I’ve been using sylk for some time now and found it very helpful. I do suffer dreadfully from from lack of vaginal elasticity which causes painful sex which is causing frustration for both and my husband. Do you have any advice? I am unable to use HRT as I have Lupus. Thank you


  • SylkSylk Posts: 5 Female Dryness Expert

    Hi Karen

    Thanks for your email. I'm sorry you are still finding sex painful and whilst I understand you can't take HRT, have you discussed whether you could have topical oestrogen like Vagifem or something similar? This is localised to the vaginal area and applied topically so may be okay for you to use. I would talk to your GP or even go to a Menopause Specialist - here is is a list that the British Menopause Society have on their website and contains both private and NHS clinics. https://thebms.org.uk/find-a-menopause-specialist/.

    There is no limit on the amount of lubricant you can use and you can also put it on your partners' penis too which may help as well.

    Let me know how you get on with and if you need any further help,

    Nicky Gaylor

  • Av222Av222 Posts: 4

    I am feeling dry and sore tingly feeling down below. Also have not had period for 2 and a half years. Still have alot of dischare whitish . Could i be pregnant do i still have oestrogen ? I have pessary ring in as i have prolapsed womb.

  • HayHay Posts: 5

    Hello, I’ve not had a period for 2 years and am on a combined HRT that has stopped working I have horrendous vaginal atrophy have tried sea buckthorn oil, ky jelly.yes and also vagifem nothing seems to help any suggestions? Thankyou

  • MenopauseorjustmeMenopauseorjustme Posts: 433 Menopause Nurse Practitioner

    @Hay @MonicaM thank you for including me in your post.

    Hay, Please read the information above but do DM me about this too.

    Some lubricants you can buy over the counter can make vaginal dryness worse...

    Are you still using Vagifem?

    I will look forward to hearing from you and hopefully we can address this issues.

    Best wishes

    Diane Porterfield Bourne.

  • HayHay Posts: 5

    Hello Diane

    i had 2 weeks of vagifem in a box I had from last year so I finished the last one 2 nights ago. My doctor would not let me have them as well as Indivina, She said if my symptoms didn’t get better I could have the merino coil and patches, will. This help with atrophy? Thankyou

  • MenopauseorjustmeMenopauseorjustme Posts: 433 Menopause Nurse Practitioner


    Thank you for getting back to me. Indivina is the name of a combined HRT tablet. When you have HRT in a patch, tablet or gel it is referred to as systemic HRT. Meaning has an effect all over your body, makes your brain work, stops the hot flushes and can control anxiety plus much more....

    Some women find this is all they need to improve their vaginal dryness/itch/soreness etc as there symptoms are so mild. However for the majority of women they will need systemic HRT AND vaginal oestrogen too. You can have them together as the vaginal oestrogen is absorbed into the vagina/vulva/pelvic floor and used there. Such small amounts are absorbed in the blood stream

    ( systemically) that its barely noticeable. Oestrogen taken vaginally is known as localised HRT.

    You can have systemic and localised HRT together, in fact I prescribed this in my clinic yesterday.

    I do suggest going back to your GP and discussing this, as some women have such bad dryness they are unable to have smears or sex.....this obviously has a major impact on quality of life, relationships and potentially putting them at risk from not having smears.

    Please keep in touch and let me know how it goes. Write to me anytime.

    Best wishes

    Diane Porterfield Bourne.

  • HayHay Posts: 5

    hi Diane

    had a telephone appointment with my doctor today explained that my itching had got worse and much vagina atrophy was not good explained that I thought I needed more oestrogen from my tablet as a lot of my symptoms had come back not sleeping peeing in the night a lot. She said that she would not up my dose of indivina to the next level because it wasn’t safe and that I should think about coming off HRT couldn’t prescribe me patches because we can’t get them anymore wouldn’t put me on Estogel and a progesterone tablet and all she offered me was silk moisturiser and antihistamines for the itching!! Is this right? Thankyou

  • MenopauseorjustmeMenopauseorjustme Posts: 433 Menopause Nurse Practitioner


    Thank you for getting back in touch.

    Your GP may have prescribed you a higher Oestrogen tablet and therefore you can't take any more. However; I think by your symptoms you can discuss vaginal oestrogen again with your GP. As this is not absorbed around your body and can safely take this with HRT.

    Personally I do not prescribe tablet Oestrogen, only patches and gels. The patches remain a bit of a problem getting but the gel seems in stock.

    Coming off HRT is something I often hear women tell me, their GP wants them to stop.

    The guidelines suggest as long as benefits of HRT outweigh risks then it can be continued but this is a discussion between you and your GP. Maybe your GP has reasons why they want you to stop but I often suggest asking your GP on what grounds do they want you stop HRT? Ask them to show evidence, research, guidelines etc. If nothing else to put your mind at rest.

    It is important to talk it all through with your GP and if you are still not happy with it you can ask to see a GP with a special interest in menopause or look elsewhere.

    Please write back in and let us know how you are doing, progress etc.

    Best wishes

    Diane Porterfield Bourne.

  • HayHay Posts: 5

    Hi Diane , there is one dose higher on the indivina. I’m on the lower dose, when I first went to my doctor she said she would only temporary put me on the tablet form as they were having trouble getting patches but now I’ve been on it for over a year .please can you tell me why you do not prescribe tablet oestrogen only gels and patches. I really want to go on the oestrogeL but my doctor won’t put me on it for some reason and I believe it is to do with the expense!! When I mentioned Going on Oestrogel and utrogestan she said she had never heard of utrogestan as a progesterone ? Many thanks Hsy

  • MenopauseorjustmeMenopauseorjustme Posts: 433 Menopause Nurse Practitioner


    Thank you for explaining more, I will see if I can advise you.

    There have been issues with the supply of some patches for months...I, like your pharmacist/GP will get regular updates of what is available and what isn't. But when the patches are back in supply they go very quickly. It is really difficult.

    Oestrogen absorbed via the skin as in a patch or gel is safer because when we take medications in tablets our livers produce enzymes to help break in down and this process can alter the medication and produce other physiological changes in the body...its very complex.

    Some women especially younger women can be prescribed HRT tablets and this works for many but I really only prescribe Oestrogen in patches or gel as when Oestrogen is absorbed into the blood via the skin the liver DOES NOT alter it. In fact as this occurs the physiological changes that occur can help thin the blood and dilate blood vessels plus so much more. It is a huge subject!! And an area I love learning about.

    I obviously can't say why you haven't been prescribed Oestrogen in gel or Utrogestan as they are both in stock and cost wise, there is very little difference between gel and tablets. Except that it is 2 products and not 1. If you are worried about costs of prescriptions you may consider the Mirena coil for your progesterone? Just a suggestion.

    Utrogestan is not widely known and unfortunately I have heard this many times... But in the world of HRT and menopause it is well publicised and researched.

    I hope I have helped answer your questions. Please let me know how you get on and if you would like to chat more please contact me again.

    Best wishes

    Diane Porterfield Bourne.

  • MenopauseorjustmeMenopauseorjustme Posts: 433 Menopause Nurse Practitioner


    I have just seen your post, so sorry for the late reply.

    Vaginal dryness is something most often caused by lack of Oestrogen. There are other causes but this is most often reason. The ring is for your prolapse. Have you discussed all your symptoms with your GP?

    You haven't had a period for many years you are post menopausal, therefore I would probable assume you are low in Oestrogen. Are you taking HRT? Vaginal Oestrogen? Vaginal moisturisers? like SYLK ( see above post). Pregnancy would be extremely unlikely but I would see about having your discharged checked out. Your practice nurse can take a look, swab and advise treatment if you need antibiotics/fungal medication. However often women can have a discharge and still be dry.

    Good luck with your GP and I hope you get sorted soon.

    Best wishes

    Diane Porterfield Bourne.

This discussion has been closed.