The Female Ecosystem

The Female Ecosystem: What happens to your vagina as you age?

At Mellow Road CBD, we are not just about the highest quality CBD products—we’re about empowering women’s health journeys. As a women-owned business, we understand the importance of addressing the unique needs and challenges women face, especially during significant life stages like menopause.

This Women’s Month, we’re celebrating the resilience, strength, and wisdom of women everywhere by shedding light on an essential yet often overlooked topic: the changes that occur in the female body as we age.

Understanding The Female Ecosystem

when it comes to the female ecosystem we must remember the vagina is an internal organ with a complex ecosystem, influenced by circulating hormone levels that change during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.

Around and after menopause, there are normal changes in the growth and function of vaginal cells, as well as the vagina’s microbiome (naturally occurring bacteria living in the vagina). Many women won’t notice these changes. They don’t usually cause symptoms or concern, but if they do, symptoms can usually be managed.

Here’s what happens to your vagina as you age, whether you notice or not.

Let’s clear up the terminology

We’re focusing on the vagina, the muscular tube that goes from the external genitalia (the vulva), past the cervix, to the womb (uterus). Sometimes the word “vagina” is used to include the external genitalia. However, these are different organs and play different roles in women’s health.

What happens to the vagina as you age?

Like many other organs in the body, the vagina is sensitive to female sex steroid hormones (hormones) that change around puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. 

Menopause is associated with a drop in circulating estrogen concentrations and the hormone progesterone is no longer produced. The changes in hormones affect the vagina and its ecosystem. Effects may include less vaginal secretions, potentially leading to dryness, less growth of vagina surface cells resulting in a thinned lining, alteration to the support structure (connective tissue) around the vagina leading to less elasticity and more narrowing, fewer blood vessels around the vagina, which may explain less blood flow after menopause, a shift in the type and balance of bacteria, which can change vaginal acidity, from more acidic to more alkaline. 

What symptoms can I expect?

Many women do not notice any bothersome vaginal changes as they age. There’s also little evidence many of these changes cause vaginal symptoms. For example, there is no direct evidence these changes cause vaginal infection or bleeding in menopausal women. 

Some women notice vaginal dryness after menopause, which may be linked to less vaginal secretions. This may lead to pain and discomfort during sex. But it’s not clear how much of this dryness is due to menopause, as younger women also commonly report it. Almost half of sexually active postmenopausal women reported vaginal dryness, as did around one in five premenopausal women.

Other organs close to the vagina, such as the bladder and urethra, are also affected by the change in hormone levels after menopause. Some women experience recurrent urinary tract infections, which may cause pain (including pain to the side of the body) and irritation. So their symptoms are in fact not coming from the vagina itself but relate to changes in the urinary tract. 

Not everyone has the same experience

Women vary in whether they notice vaginal changes and whether they are bothered by these to the same extent. For example, women with vaginal dryness who are not sexually active may not notice the change in vaginal secretions after menopause. However, some women notice severe dryness that affects their daily function and activities.

In fact, researchers are taking more notice of women’s experiences of menopause to inform future research. This includes prioritizing symptoms that matter to women the most, such as vaginal dryness, discomfort, irritation and pain during sex.

If symptoms bother you

Symptoms such as dryness, irritation, or pain during sex can usually be effectively managed. Lubricants may reduce pain during sex. Vaginal moisturizers may reduce dryness. Both are available over the counter at your local pharmacy. 

While there are many small clinical trials of individual products, these studies lack the power to demonstrate if they are really effective in improving vaginal symptoms. 

In contrast, there is robust evidence that vaginal estrogen is effective in treating vaginal dryness and reducing pain during sex. It also reduces your chance of recurrent urinary tract infections. You can talk to your doctor about a prescription. 

Vaginal estrogen is usually inserted using an applicator, two to three times a week. Very little is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is generally considered safe but longer-term trials are required to confirm safety in long-term use beyond a year. 

Women with a history of breast cancer should see their oncologist to discuss using estrogen as it may not be suitable for them.

Are there other treatments?

New treatments for vaginal dryness are under investigation. One avenue relates to our growing understanding of how the vaginal microbiome adapts and modifies around changes in circulating and local concentrations of hormones.

Combining vaginal probiotics with low-dose vaginal estrogen can improve vaginal symptoms. But more evidence is needed before this is recommended.

As we enter March this year, and in celebration of International Women’s Health Month during March:


“You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else, in fact, you have to be there all the time and see that they do not show you under if you are really going to get your reform realized.”

Who said it? Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928), pioneer of women’s rights and leader of the British suffragette movement

“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

Who said it? Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013), first female prime minister of the United Kingdom

“Women are like teabags – you don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water”

Who said it? Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), American first lady and United Nations diplomat

“The greatest problem in the world today is intolerance. Everyone is so intolerant of each other.”

Who said it? Princess Diana (1961–97), social activist, mother, and former wife of Prince Charles

“If you don’t like my ocean don’t fish in my sea. Stay out of my valley and let my mountain be.”

Who said it? Ma Rainey (c1886–1939), one of the first recorded blues musicians

“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”

Who said it? Amelia Earhart (1897–1937), the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic

Let’s tie in a link to the vaginal/rectal suppositories and calls to action, allure too, and aging serum for cross-sell maybe or …

Exploring Mellow Road CBD’s Women’s Wellness Options

Be sure to explore our range of premium CBD items, that are crafted to support your journey towards holistic health and vitality. Indulge in our exclusive CBD for Women’s line, including the Allure Broad Spectrum CBD Intimacy Oil, designed with 1000 MG of Broad Spectrum CBD and organic botanical extracts to potentially enhance stimulation and pleasure. You may also choose to unwind with our CBD Massage Oil, formulated to provide relief from muscle soreness and promote relaxation, or experience targeted relief with our Full-Spectrum CBD Suppositories!