Lubrication during sex plays an important role in sexual pleasure and comfort. Several different conditions or life changes can affect natural production of vaginal lubrication. This includes hormone changes, breastfeeding, stress, menopause, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, or diabetes. Poor vaginal lubrication can negatively impact your sex life. Not having enough lubrication is a common cause of painful intercourse (dyspareunia).
So what can I do if my body does not produce enough lubrication? Some women can benefit from hormone therapy if changes in estrogen levels is the cause of increased vaginal dryness. However, if you are not a candidate for hormone therapy or you just want to find a way to improve lubrication without use of hormones then consider a vaginal lubricant.
Lubricants vs. Vaginal Moisturizers
If you head to your local drugstore, on the shelf you can find personal lubricants and vaginal moisturizers. Lubricants are intended for short-term relief of dryness associated with sex. Vaginal moisturizers target the dry tissue and work to rehydrate it and are used more frequently (not necessarily during sex).
Lubricants can be water-based, silicone-based, mineral oil-based, or plant oil-based. Water or silicone-based lubricants can improve sexual pleasure. Water-based lubricants sometimes have substances added to the make-up to help with preservation or moisture-retention. These substances can affect the pH and concentration of the lubricant. Vaginal moisturizers are primarily water-based, but also have ingredients added to improve its chemistry. These additional ingredients can also alter pH and concentration.
Osmolality and pH
Why does osmolality (concentration) and pH matter? Greater osmolality (concentration) of a vaginal lubricant is associated with more potential to cause irritation. High osmolality is associated with toxicity in the cells too. Also, normal vaginal pH is 3.8-4.5. When pH rises above 5, the vagina is less acidic and the chances of bad bacteria growing increases.
Watch out for these ingredients in your lubricant:
-warming agents, and parabens
These ingredients have been shown to have adverse side effects such as inflammation, irritation, changing pH to less acidic, or decreasing sperm motility.
If you have more questions regarding use of personal lubricant or pain associated with sex, schedule a free Discovery Call with Katy at The Fit Pelvis.