What Does Breast Cancer Have to Do with Feminine Dryness?

By Susan Goldsberry, Ina Labs’ Co-Founder & CEO

I recently had a conversation with a friend who confessed that when we launched Ina, she wasn’t sure if she needed the products; she had never used intimate skincare before. A year or so later, after she had been treated for breast cancer and was placed on a 5-year estrogen blocker program, everything changed. Her vulvovaginal area felt “as dry as the Sahara desert” with life-interrupting bouts of irritation. Now she says she’s a true believer in Ina's intimate skincare routine.

As a cosmetic chemist, I knew that estrogen levels play a significant role in vulvar skin health, yet I had not connected the dots to other reasons for lower levels outside of the expected and much talked about topics of aging and menopause. A conversation with my OB/GYN Co-Founder, Dr. Ridgeway, confirmed that other factors can contribute to lower levels of estrogen in the body, and to corresponding vulvar/vaginal dryness.

43% of US Women are on the Menopausal Journey

After and around the time of menopause, a women’s body naturally makes less estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone that helps maintain the vagina's lubrication, elasticity, and thickness. Low levels of estrogen can cause thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls, which can lead to irritation and painful sex. Estrogen levels can also fall after childbirth with breastfeeding, during cancer treatment or with anti-estrogen drugs. There are also non-hormonal factors, such as cold and allergy medications and some antidepressants that can dry out vaginal tissue.

As a result, painful sex due to vaginal dryness can occur at any age. It is reported that around 17% of women ages 18-50 experience problems with vaginal dryness during sex, even before menopause. Many women may experience vaginal dryness during sex because they are not sexually aroused – which is often caused by insufficient foreplay or psychological reasons such as stress. A Harvard study estimated that vaginal dryness affects about half of postmenopausal women — most of whom, possibly as many as 90%, don't seek treatment for their symptoms, which include not only dryness, but also irritation and painful sex.

Ina to the Intimate Skin Rescue

Ina currently has two moisturizers to help with vulvar skin dryness* — Hydrating Serum and Nourishing Oil Elixir. Our Balancing Cleanser also helps to leave skin feeling moisturized after cleansing. A regular regimen of cleansing and moisturizing will help to keep vulvar skin hydrated, nourished, and protected. The ultimate Ina intimate skincare routine includes cleansing with Balancing Cleanser, moisturizing with Hydrating Serum, followed by Nourishing Oil Elixir to lock in moisture.

Thank you to all of our customers who have shared their private Ina stories with us. They help to confirm that we’re on the right track. At Ina, we’re proud to put women’s intimate skin needs first to help with their body's changing needs through all stages of life.

 

*Note: there’s something new and very exciting in the works at Ina for vaginal dryness. Look for it in Fall 2024.

Do you have an Ina story you’d like to share with us? Email us at hello@inalabs.com for an opportunity to be featured on this blog.

 

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