Today’s “why don’t more people talk about this” topic is post partum vaginal/vulvar dryness.
A high percentage of people post partum experience vaginal/vulvar dryness. Whether you had a vaginal birth or a cesarean it can really impact how these sensitive tissues feel.
Estrogen is an essential hormone of pregnancy and at the end of pregnancy it is at very high levels. However, after giving birth, estrogen levels decline significantly. The production of breastmilk in the post partum period increases a hormone called prolactin, which also suppresses the production of estrogen even further.
Low estrogen and high prolactin is a recipe for desert dry conditions of the vulva.
Why is this so relevant to me, as a pelvic floor physical therapist you ask?
Well, have you ever had a really bad sunburn on your shoulders?
Do you remember how your muscles underneath that sunburn felt?
They were probably tight and tense and afraid to move.
Now imagine you are trying to heal from a birth. Whether it was a vaginal or cesarean birth, the pelvic floor muscles ability to feel “safe” moving though their full range of motion is essential for that early healing. They have already been through a lot and have a tendency to hold some tension.
Now add painful, red irritated skin into the mix from vaginal dryness and it can really impact the ability of the pelvic floor to heal post-partum.
Topical estrogen has been shown to be safe and effective in the postpartum period, not impacting milk supply and can be very effective to treat this dryness. However, many of my clients are not interested in using a hormonal option so I have been looking into different types of non-hormonal external vulvar moisturizing products.
The first is the VMAGIC Vulvar Balm by Medicine Mama’s Apothecary. This vulvar moisturizer is all organic and GMO free. Ingredients really matter to me and this product does not disappoint. It’s main ingredients are organic olive oil and beeswax, followed by organic avocado oil, organic honey and sea buckthorn oil. It also includes a propriety honey and propolis blend.
High quality oils, beeswax honey and propolis are all very helpful in healing. I especially love the honey in this product as is has been shown to have anti bacterial, antifungal and inflammatory properties which are so very helpful in this post-partum healing time.
There are no fragrances/odor to this product. As someone who is very sensitive to smells and has very sensitive skin this product has been great for me. I even tried it on a small patch of eczema I have and it was very calming and soothing.
The texture of this product is lovely. It’s thick, but non-greasy and absorbs quickly, but a small amount goes a long way. I have no, cons with this product! I really love it!
I often make a post-partum care package for friends and family who have just had babies and this balm will be going into my packages from now on!
Next up is the Enchanted Rose Balm by Intimate Rose (Code HAYLEY for 5$ off) . This product would be on the top of my list had I not just received the Vmagic in the mail the week earlier.
Truly prior to last week this was the product I would share with newly post-partum friends.
It’s probably why It’s so hard for Intimate Rose to keep in stock.
Ingredient wise organic oils and beeswax and the main ingredients. Sunflower oil being the primary oil. After doing some research on sunflower oil, those with nut allergies or ragweed allergies may have more difficulty with it topically, although that risk is quite low.
There are some additional essential oils used in this product and so it does have some fragrance to it. The essential oils used include: Rosewood, Black Spruce, Blue Tansey, Elemi, Calendula essential oils. I did a quick search of these oils and they all seemed to have positive healing impacts on the skin. However, due to the fragrance and the diversity of the essential oils added I think patch testing first would be likely a safer recommended with this product prior to using directly on the vulva if you do tend to be very sensitive to fragrances and essential oils like I am.
Despite the essential oils and fragrance I do tolerate this product and found it very helpful in my own post-partum journeys 5 and 2 years ago. The texture is slightly thinner than the V-magic, but is definitely non-greasy and absorbs quickly. I find I need to use a bit more of the intimate rose in order to get the same “coverage” as the vmagic however.
While I now lean slightly towards they vmagic balm over the enchanted rose balm, Overall these are two great hormone free alternatives to fight against post-partum vulvar dryness and help support your post-partum pelvic floor healing journey!