Sea Buckthorn Oil May Ease Vaginal Dryness in Postmenopausal Women
Vaginal dryness is caused by the drying and thinning of mucous membranes and increases the risk of urinary tract infections. A recent study suggests that sea buckthorn oil supplements may offer relief from vaginal dryness.
Vaginal dryness affects approximately 40% of postmenopausal women and can also affect women who are using hormonal birth control or are breast-feeding. Estrogen based medications are often prescribed to treat vaginal dryness, but use of these may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Participants in the study included 116 postmenopausal women with symptoms of vaginal dryness. Over the course of three months, the women took either 3 grams of sea buckthorn oil or a placebo daily.
The researchers assessed the epithelial integrity of the vaginal mucosa through a gynecological examination and also measured perceived vaginal dryness by administering questionnaires.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the sea buckthorn oil improved vaginal dryness when compared with the placebo. They believe this is due to the essential fatty acids, vitamin E and carotenoids found in sea buckthorn oil, which aid in the normal function of mucous membranes.
Researchers from Aromtech and the University of Turkhu conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 21, 2014, in Maturitas: The European Menopause Journal.
Sea buckthorn is a shrub that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It is purported to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbiological properties, and has been used for the treatment of skin diseases and digestive tract issues.
Previous studies have suggested that sea buckthorn may be effective in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, regulating blood sugar and reducing the risk of diabetes and possibly even some cancers.