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Sexual Lubricants: Relieving Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort during sex, as well as itching and burning sensations. Some causes of vaginal dryness are:
- Lower estrogen levels after menopause
- Hormonal changes due to childbirth or breastfeeding
- Some medications, including leuprolide, danazol, tamoxifen, antihistamines, ulcer medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, oral contraceptives, and cold medications
- Strenuous exercise
- Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy
- Sjogren syndrome
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. You may also 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.
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:
- K-Y Jelly
- Liquid Silk
Not all lubricants are created equal. Lubricants that can be used with condoms may be water-based, with or without glycerine, or silicon based.
Do not use any of the following as lubricants:
- Oil-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.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
A doctor's take on lubricants for female pleasure and comfort. Safer Sex 4 Seniors website. Available at: http://safersex4seniors.org/assets/SS4S%5FChoosing%5Fand%5FUsing%5FLubricants.pdf. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Atrophic vaginitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115096/Atrophic-vaginitis. Updated January 26, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Vaginal and vulvar comfort: lubricants, moisturizers, and low-dose vaginal estrogen. The North American Menopause Society website. Available at: http://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/effective-treatments-for-sexual-problems/vaginal-and-vulvar-comfort-lubricants-moisturizers-and-low-dose-vaginal-estrogen. Accessed October 2, 2017.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2017
- Update Date: 10/15/2015