When it comes to women’s health, not only reproductive wellbeing is vital for fertility, pregnancy and overall fitness, but also sexual wellness equally important. Of course, a major issue that the adult female population come across is that of sexually transmitted diseases or STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, HIV-AIDS, herpes, for which personal hygiene of both partners and safe sex practices are essential, to prevent their occurrence. However, there exists yet another very common problem encountered by scores of women worldwide in this regard - that of vaginal dryness.

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Vaginal lubricants

What Is Vaginal Dryness?

Vaginal Dryness, medically referred to as atrophic vaginitis, is a widely prevalent condition in adult women wherein the vaginal tissues lose their sturdy structure, becoming thinner as well as extremely sensitive and delicate. And contrary to the widely publicised notion that this issue occurs mostly only in women who have attained menopause, that is actually not the case. Vaginal dryness is caused due to lowering of estrogen levels in the body, which although is a prominent sign of menopausal and breastfeeding women, also happens in young adult females owing to hormonal fluctuations. It can also arise due to side effects of other medications, smoking tobacco/consuming nicotine products and excessive intake of alcohol.

Also Read: Estrogen: Structure, Crucial Functions, Adverse Effects

Vaginal dryness can negatively impact the sex life of womenfolk, since it invariably prompts uneasy symptoms of vaginal itching and discomfort, burning sensation in the groin area, intense pain and even bleeding during and post intercourse. If other ailments – for example urinary tract infection, or perimenopause phases are giving rise to vaginal dryness, they must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. But thankfully, the occurrence of this condition solely while engaging in sexual activity has a rather simple and easily available solution in the form of vaginal lubricants.

So, What Exactly Are Vaginal Lubricants?

In times of intimacy and arousal, the vagina normally secretes fluids that lubricate the area, thus reducing pain, tissue damage during penetration and making sexual activity more stimulating and pleasurable. However, some women develop vaginal dryness and in these cases, smoothening of the tissues can be achieved by using vaginal lubricants. These useful products are meant for topical application on the vagina and surrounding regions, which help in lubrication during sexual activity, thereby resolving vaginal dryness and preventing tearing of tissues, lowering pain during intercourse. Moreover, vaginal lubricants can also be used by women who do not suffer from vaginal dryness for elevating excitement during sexual activity.

Also Read: Female Hygiene: 10 Simple And Effective Ways To Maintain Vaginal Health

Types Of Vaginal Lubricants:

Countless vaginal lubricant products are available in stores and pharmacies made with varying textures, ingredients and consistencies. Here we provide a beginner’s guide to the different types of vaginal lubricants or “lubes” as they are colloquially called.

Water-Based Lubricants

These emollients are quite fluid and thin in consistency being composed of a water/aqua base and come in two variants – with glycerin and without glycerin.

While both kinds are safe for use, glycerin-free lubricants have one advantage in that they do not induce vaginal irritation.

Oil-Based Lubricants

Oil-based lubricants have a greasy texture and come in two forms – natural - formulated with coconut oil, olive oil etc. and synthetic i.e. prepared utilising vaseline petroleum jelly, mineral oils.

Both categories of products are safe for external use but can sometimes be rather sticky and pose problems in washing/removing them easily.

Silicone-Based Lubricants

Silicone-based lubricants are composed of polymer oils that are usually odourless - devoid of any fragrance, with a slimy smooth texture and last longer than water-based and oil-based products.

These lubricants are hypoallergenic i.e., do not produce any sensitive allergic skin reactions but are difficult to cleanse off and need to be gently scrubbed with a mild soap or body wash.

Uses And Benefits Of Vaginal Lubricants:

Vaginal lubricants confer amazing benefits for the sexual wellness of women, including:

  • Decreasing pain and discomfort during penetration in sexual intercourse
  • Soothing persistent irritation and itching in the private parts
  • Preventing tearing and injury of thin, fragile vaginal tissues in instances of vaginal dryness
  • Uplifting sensual pleasure and satisfaction for women during sexual activity
  • Easily available in many varieties, being a simple, cost-effective solution to tackle vaginal dryness and augment sexual wellbeing

Side Effects Of Vaginal Lubricants:

The majority of vaginal lubricants are safe for external use, being widely sold in stores and pharmacies. Nevertheless, some women may be allergic to certain ingredients in the products and may develop rashes, hives and itching as a result of frequent use of lubes. It is hence recommended to opt for a vaginal lubricant that is suitable for the individual’s personal needs and does not contain any allergy-inducing components, for ensuring optimal sexual wellness in women.