14566 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Sexual Lubricants: Relieving Vaginal Dryness

    Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort during sex, and itching and burning sensations. Some causes of vaginal dryness are:
    • Lower estrogen levels after menopause
    • Hormonal due to childbirth or breastfeeding
    • Smoking
    • Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy , radiation , and hormone therapy
    • Use of certain medicines, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, cold medicines
    • Sjogren’s syndrome
    • Douching
    image Your doctor may choose to do a pelvic exam to make sure that no other conditions are responsible for your vaginal dryness. During the exam you may be tested for infections or other conditions and may be asked to undergo a urine test. The good news is that you do not have to live with vaginal dryness. Sexual lubricants can bring back the pleasure.

    About Lubricants

    Lubricants are substances designed to ease dryness, prevent friction, and make sexual intercourse more comfortable and enjoyable for both partners. There are many over-the-counter products available including:
    • Aqua Lube
    • AstroGlide
    • K-Y Jelly
    • Liquid Silk
    • Moist Again
    • Surgilube

    What They Are Used For

      To treat vaginal dryness, often associated with:
      • Menopause
      • Post-partum period, due to the hormonal changes following childbirth and breastfeeding
      • Some medicines, including leuprolide , danazol , tamoxifen , antihistamines, ulcer medicines, antidepressants, blood pressure medicines
      • Strenuous exercise
      • Use of oral contraceptives
    • To enhance sexual pleasure
    • To make condom use more enjoyable

    How They Work

    Lubricants provide moisture to reduce friction during intercourse and can increase sensation and comfort for both partners.

    Precautions

    Not all lubricants are created equal. Do not use any of the following as lubricants:
    • Petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline, mineral oil, and baby oil can cause the latex in condoms to break down, increasing the risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and pregnancy.
    • Moisture creams and lotions can interfere with the body's pH levels and cause irritation or infection.
    • Food can cause a yeast infection.
    • Industrial lubricants, such as WD-40 are not made for human use, and may be dangerous.

    RESOURCES

    American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org/

    OBGYN.net: The Universe of Women's Health http://www.obgyn.net/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org/index%5Fe.asp

    Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca/

    References

    Vaginal dryness. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaginal-dryness/DS00550. Updated July 1, 2010. Accessed December 6, 2011.

    Revision Information

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