Vaginal dryness is extremely common for women and often gets shoved under the mat as a topic of conversation, or has negative connotations. Dryness in the vaginal region can make for uncomfortable sex and can cause further complications if not addressed early enough. The most common vaginal symptom in post-menopausal women is vaginal dryness, according to this report. However, vaginal dryness and associated symptoms can occur to women of any age and must be discussed more openly due to its high-occurrence in a majority of the population. Interestingly, it is recommended that the first line of treatment should be a hormone-free vaginal moisturizer cream, rather than a vaginal lubricant which is commonly mistaken as a long-term treatment option.
What is the difference between a vaginal moisturizer and vaginal lubricant?
There are so many products out there that it’s easy to get confused. There’s lubricants, creams, gels, moisturizers, dissolving insertables etc. However, vaginal lubricants and vaginal moisturizers are two different things, each used for different purposes.
A vaginal moisturizer is the best option for women experiencing ongoing discomfort which could be caused by dryness, burning sensations, itching, pain, and sensitivity during intercourse. A vaginal moisturizer will restore moisture to the area, assisting in reducing discomfort and allowing for more enjoyable sex. Whilst ongoing vaginal dryness is often experienced by postmenopausal women, other factors including hormonal changes, including those induced by pregnancy and menstrual disruptions, contraceptive pills, and certain cancer treatments can induce symptoms.
Like any topical lotion, a vaginal moisturizer can be applied to the area on a regular basis and is a healthier, hormone-free solution. It is recommended that your preferred vaginal moisturizer be applied at least 2 hours before intercourse to experience the best results. Vaginal moisturizers can prevent issues caused by multiple sessions of intercourse with vaginal dryness. These issues can include bleeding, urinary discomfort, and potential bladder infection, rashes and atrophic vaginitis.
A vaginal lubricant is applied right before intercourse, unlike the vaginal moisturizer which needs to be applied in advance. Vaginal lubricants can be reapplied throughout sex to increase pleasure. It allows for easier penetration, foreplay, and potentially longer-lasting, enjoyable sex. There are a few different types of vaginal lubricants on the market. If you are using a condom, dental dam, or diaphragm during intercourse, make sure to use a water-based lubricant as to not break down the latex materials of your contraceptives. Silicone lubricants are best used if you have allergies or skin sensitivities due to its hypoallergenic nature. However, for the most part a water-based lubricant is best due to its compatibility with contraceptives and various sex toys.
Can you put a lotion on your private area?
You should only put certified vaginal lotion products on your vaginal region. This is because the vaginal region is an extremely sensitive area because the mucous membranes which keep the region naturally lubricated can easily dry out. The wrong lotion could cause further discomfort. To provide some examples, bath soaps, certain clothes washing powders, and tampons that remain inserted for too long can all throw off the natural moisture balance of the vagina. Interestingly, stress and certain substances can also affect vaginal moisture levels. This could be emotional, traumatic, and physical/exercise-induced stress, and excess use of caffeine, cigarettes, and alcohol.
You should make sure you choose a vaginal lubricant that is non-irritating, preservative-free and is compatible with your choice of contraceptive if you are choosing to use one.
For vaginal moisturizers, if you can find one that contains bio-adhesive ingredients, this is your best bet. Bio-adhesive ingredients work better for longer lasting moisture as it attaches to the affected dry cells until they replenish with higher moisture content, naturally. Your choice of moisturizer should ideally also be estrogen and fragrance-free as to not irritate the vaginal region.
What do you moisturize your vagina with?
Using a vaginal moisturizer is your best bet to effectively and safely moisturize your vaginal region. The great thing about vaginal moisturizers is they can last up to 3 days, unlike a vaginal lubricant that is applied directly before and throughout sex.
If you are simply looking to increase pleasure during intercourse, a vaginal lubricant is the best choice. A lubricant is a simple water-based product that removes friction temporarily and therefore increases enjoyment during intercourse. However, if you are experiencing ongoing discomfort and dryness, a vaginal moisturizer is essential to prevent further complications and assist your vaginal region in replenishing the natural moisture levels.
The recommended application for vaginal moisturizer is every second day during your first week of use, and then twice a week every week after that until symptoms are resolved.
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Things Not to Use as Vaginal Moisturizer
Vaginal moisturizers and vaginal lubricants are completely safe to use. There are however a few things to take into consideration based on personal circumstances. For example, if you are trying to get pregnant, vaginal lubricants aren’t the best idea. This is because the ingredients to preserve the lubricant inside the tube most often kill bacteria, including sperm. If pregnancy is on the cards, you are best to use a vaginal moisturizer. A vaginal moisturizer works with your own skin surface cells in the vaginal region (known as epithelial cells) to regenerate moisture in the area.
Ignoring vaginal pain and dryness is not recommended and is very affordable to treat. Whilst some women experience these symptoms on and off throughout their lives, the solutions available are efficient and can restore pleasure to intercourse, foreplay, and day-to-day life.