Vaginal lubricants are available in a variety of products containing various ingredients. It’s important to read the label of a lube and buy only water-based vaginal lubricants. Silicon or petroleum-based lubes can harbor bacteria in the vagina and lead to infection, as well as cause damage to latex condoms making them useless against STDs and unplanned pregnancy. Also avoid lubricants that contain glycerin because it may promote or exacerbate vaginal yeast infections in persons who are susceptible.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
Many women believe that vaginal lubricants and moisturizers are only for women going through menopause and experiencing vaginal dryness; however normal estrogen fluctuations often cause vaginal dryness creating the need for additional vaginal lubrication. Vaginal dryness often occurs during:
- The menstrual cycle
- When using a condom
- Times of emotional stress
Do Medications Interfere With Vaginal Lubrication?
Several medications can cause a lack of vaginal lubrication including:
- Depo Provera
- Calcium channel blockers
- Prescribed and OTC cold and allergy pills
This list is incomplete and various other drugs or substances may cause your symptoms.
What Type of Vaginal Lubricant Is Best?
There are several different types of vaginal lubricants. Most of them are available over the counter at any drugstore, but any creams whose base is estrogen are generally only administered with a prescription.
Vaginal lubricants come in bottles, tubes, and as vaginal suppositories, but which one works best for you is merely a matter of personal preference, or of your intended use for the lubricant.
Some of the most well-known brands, K-Y Jelly, Replens, Astroglide, Juicy Lub and Carrageenan are water-based lubricants and are safe to use with condoms. Additional lubricant can be used as needed during intercourse.
There’s no right or wrong way to use lubes. Experiment with what works best for you. Applying lubricant can even be a part of foreplay. Remember, though, that lubricants are not spermicides, and therefore do not help prevent pregnancy.
Don’t be shy about getting started with vaginal lubricants for overcoming the vaginal dryness that causes painful intercourse. You can buy lubricant on the web if you find it more convenient — they are often less expensive online.