Women's Health | July 7, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Personal lubricants are often thought of as private products which are directly related to sexual health. However, there are many different uses of natural based lubricants such as easing razor burn and aiding in vaginal dryness and irritation. Most women experience vaginal dryness at some point in their life and this can be due to menopause, breastfeeding, certain medications, skin conditions and even stress. There are a number of natural things you can use to reduce any discomfort you get in the ‘downstairs area’.
The symptoms of vaginal dryness can vary for each person and may lead to:
The condition can also increase your likelihood of getting a bacterial or yeast infection. If vaginal dryness impacts your sex life it may affect your relationship with your partner.
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There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ amount of bodily lubrication and each woman will have varying needs. Vaginal dryness occurs when the tissues of the vagina are not well lubricated and healthy. It can occur at any age but is more common in older women. Factors which can lead to dryness and increase the need for natural lubrication include:
The process of sex usually triggers the release of fluids in the vaginal area—but this is not the case for everyone. Applying a personal lubricant during foreplay and sex can prevent irritation and discomfort to make the experience more enjoyable.
Other women who experience daily vaginal dryness may wish to apply a product more often if the issue is ongoing. This is a common occurrence in women during or post menopause as the drop-in oestrogen can lead to thinner, dryer skin in the vagina.
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If you have trouble using items such as tampons, menstrual cups, pelvic trainers and sex toys—using personal lubrication can make these things easier to insert.
Women can have delicate skin on their lady parts due to an underlying skin condition, chaffing or irritation from shaving. Because the skin in this area is ultra-sensitive, using a personal lubricant designed for use in this area can make a difference.
Many over the counter products available that can be applied daily or during sex to reduce vaginal dryness and discomfort. It is important to select a product that is specifically intended for vaginal use and is free from harmful chemicals and fragrances. Here are some suggestions of personal lubricants that are naturally derived.
Kiwifruit vine extract is a natural by-product of the New Zealand kiwifruit harvest. When used as a water-based personal lubricant, kiwifruit vine extract is pH balanced to be neutral in the sensitive vaginal environment to alleviate vaginal dryness. Being a water-based formula, it is safe for use with condoms and for everyday dryness.
Aloe vera is a featured ingredient in some natural water-based lubricant products. This type of lubricant is safe to use with condoms and provides a think coating of hydration to the vaginal area to prevent irritation. Aloe vera has cooling, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and skin healing qualities which make it ideal for use in many different circumstances.
100% pure unrefined coconut oil makes an ideal lubricant that contains a natural tropical scent. It provides long lasting hydration and as a bonus contains anti-fungal properties to help reduce yeast infections. The only issue with using coconut oil as a natural lubricant is that it is not suitable for use with condoms.
As a potent skin hydrator vitamin E can be applied to the vagina for extreme dryness and irritation. In addition to this, vitamin E helps with tissue repair and combats free radicals which can contribute to infection, disease and inflammation. When selecting a product look for a natural vitamin E without any other additives and apply as often as needed. You will sometimes find the ingredient in some of the oil-based natural lubricants which are now widely available on the Australian market. As with coconut oil, vitamin E is an oil and is therefore unsuitable for use with condoms.
Apart from trying a personal lubricant there are some other things you can try to combat vaginal dryness and irritation. Some condoms contain nonoyxnol-9, or N-9, a chemical which may cause vaginal dryness.
Consider your vagina to be like a pyrolytic oven—it self cleans and requires little maintenance. Using certain soaps, lotions, perfumes and douching can all disrupt the natural balance in your vagina which contributes to excessive dryness. When bathing, use a small amount of very mild soap and apply one of the suggested personal lubricants if necessary.
If you experience abnormal discharge, itching, irritation and redness you should discuss these symptoms with your doctor. These are all signs that there might be an underlying condition or infection which is contributing to your dryness.
The berries and seeds of the sea buckthorn plant are gently processed to extract their oil content. It may be the only plant in the world to contain all four omegas’—that is omega 3,6,7 and 9 which hydrate and protect the delicate skin in the vaginal area.
Sea buckthorn oil is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and carotenoids. One study conducted in 116 post-menopausal women found that sea buckthorn oil had a beneficial effect on vaginal health by improving mucosal integrity and decreasing dryness.
Parnan Emamverdikhan A, et al. A survey of the therapeutic effects of Vitamin E suppositories on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2016 Sep-Oct;21(5):475-481https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27904630
Larmo PS, et al. Effects of sea buckthorn oil intake on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Maturitas. 2014 Nov;79(3):316-21https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25104582