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Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause. A person may experience vaginal dryness due to hormonal changes during menopause. Lubricants can help a person relieve some of the discomfort caused by vaginal dryness by increasing the moisture in the area and soothing dry skin.

A 2020 review found that 50% of postmenopausal women experience vaginal dryness. This can be an uncomfortable symptom that can affect a person’s everyday life, causing discomfort during physical activity, burning, irritation, itching, and painful sex, resulting in vaginal tearing or bleeding.

Although vaginal lubricants cannot treat the underlying cause of vaginal dryness, such as lower estrogen levels caused by menopause, they can relieve some of the discomfort caused by the dryness.

This article discusses a range of lubricants a person can try to combat menopausal dryness. It explores the types of lubricants available, provides a list of products, and lists some alternative treatments.

There are three main types of lubricants a person can consider.

Water-based lubricant

This is a common type of lubricant. Some water-based products will contain glycerin, while others are specifically glycerin-free. Water-based lubricants can also contain other ingredients, such as preservatives and antimicrobials.

Glycerin keeps the lubricant from evaporating too quickly. However, glycerin can draw moisture out of cells in the vagina, which can cause cell damage and irritation. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that water-based lubricants with high osmolality — which is common in water-based lubricants — can cause irritation and cell damage.

Additionally, the glycerin in some personal lubricants can increase a person’s risk of developing bacterial vaginosis, according to a 2016 review. This is because glycerin is a byproduct of sugar, which can encourage yeast infections to occur.

If a person wants to use a water-based lubricant during the day to prevent dryness, they may need to reapply it more regularly than other types of lubricant.

Water-based lubricants are suitable for use during sex. This includes penetrative vaginal sex, masturbation, and for use on sex toys. A person can also use water-based lubricants with condoms.

Silicone-based lubricant

Silicone-based lubricants are hypoallergenic, so may be the most suitable for people with sensitive skin. This type of lubricant is long lasting, so a person may not need to apply it as often as water-based lubricants if they intend to use it to relieve vaginal dryness during the day.

A person can also use silicone-based lubricants with condoms. However, this type of lubricant is not suitable for use with sex toys, as it can degrade them over time.

A person may also find silicone lubricants more difficult to clean than other types because they are long lasting.

A 2016 study compared silicone-based lube with water-based lube in people experiencing sexual discomfort after breast cancer. The authors found that silicone-based lube was more effective in reducing sexual discomfort than water-based lube. However, 88% of participants continued to experience sexually related distress.

Oil-based lubricants

Oil-based lubricants provide a slippery feel and last a long time.

As with silicone-based lube, a person may find that oil-based lubricants stain fabrics and are difficult to clean up.

An older 2013 study found that a person may be at a higher risk of developing a yeast infection if they use oils inside the vagina. As such, oil-based lubricants may not be suitable for people susceptible to yeast infections.

Individuals should not use oil-based products with latex condoms or other latex-based products, as they are associated with a higher risk of condom breakage.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Gennev Intimate Moisture

This product is made specifically for vaginal dryness caused by menopause. It is an all-in-one water-based lubricant and moisturizer.

The manufacturer claims it does not contain parabens, fragrances, flavors, or hormones. Additionally, Gennev states that the product is pH-balanced.

A 2 fluid ounce (fl oz) bottle costs $17.95.

LOLA Personal Lubricant

This lubricant is hypoallergenic, water-based, and created with natural ingredients. The company claims that it does not contain parabens, glycerin, flavors, colors, or fragrances.

The bottle features a one-handed pump system to reduce mess. The formula is pH-balanced for vaginal health, and the company claims that the product has approval from gynecologists.

A 1.7 fl oz bottle costs $14.

Sliquid Organics Natural Gel

This product is a thick, organic aloe vera-based lubricant. Sliquid states that it is vegan-friendly, nontoxic, hypoallergenic, and free from gluten, parabens, and sulfates. There is also no flavor or scent.

Made from recyclable packaging, this product is all-natural and the online product description states that it has a similar consistency to silicone-based products.

The Sliquid Organics Natural Gel comes in four sizes and costs between $10–23.

Pink Silicone Lubricant

This silicone-based lubricant is available in three sizes or a single-use packet. The manufacturer says it is hypoallergenic and free from glycerin and parabens. Pink Sensuals also states that this lubricant is safe to use with latex condoms and non-porous sex toys.

According to the online product description, the formula contains aloe vera and vitamin E for their restorative and healing properties.

The cost for a single-use packet is $1.50.

Bottles of Pink Silicone Lubricant come in sizes ranging from 2.8–4.7 ounces (oz), and cost between $16.25–24.95.

Astroglide X Silicone Gel

This silicone-based lubricant is hypoallergenic and does not contain parabens or glycerin.

The manufacturer claims the formula is long lasting and non-drip for mess-free application. The company also says it is safe to use with condoms made from natural rubber latex, polyurethane, and polyisoprene.

As well as silicone, this lubricant also includes coconut oil. It does not contain scents or flavors.

A 3 oz bottle costs $10.47.

Foria Wellness Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD

This oil-based product comprises 400 milligrams (mg) broad-spectrum cannabidiol (CBD) and coconut oil. The company claims CBD can increase blood flow, relax muscles, and promote comfortable sex.

The product is free from delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so it will not cause the high feeling associated with cannabis.

The company claims it does not test its products on animals, and it does not contain alcohol, petroleum ingredients, glycerin, parabens, or artificial colors or flavors.

A 112 milliliter (ml) bottle of lubricant costs $44.

The following are common questions and answers about using lubricants for vaginal dryness due to menopause:

What causes dryness during menopause?

Vaginal dryness during menopause is due to hormonal changes, such as a reduction in estrogen, which can cause the vaginal walls to become thinner. When this happens, there are fewer moisture-producing cells in the vaginal walls, which can cause dryness and make the skin more fragile and reduce the vagina’s elasticity. This is called vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis.

What can you use if you do not have lubricant?

A person may wish to try natural oils such as olive, virgin coconut, peanut, and vitamin E as alternatives to lubricants. Oils are not suitable for use with latex condoms or other latex birth control methods.

Additionally, oils can clog the pores in the skin and cause skin irritation and infections, or change the pH balance inside the vagina. However, the lubricating effect of oils can last longer than water-based lubricants.

A person may also wish to try aloe vera. Aloe vera is known for its moisturizing properties. However, some aloe vera products may contain alcohol, which is not suitable for use inside the vagina. Aloe may also cause some side effects, such as:

A person should check the ingredients of any lubricant they choose to make sure they do not use a product that may cause an allergic reaction.

To help with vaginal dryness due to menopause, a person may also consider the following:

  • using vaginal moisturizers
  • washing with non-perfumed soaps
  • engaging in foreplay before intercourse
  • trying vaginal estrogen products, such as a ring, tablet, or cream
  • refraining from bubble baths and scented products in and around the vaginal area
  • avoiding certain antihistamines, which can reduce vaginal lubrication
  • trying phytoestrogen supplements, which can reduce vaginal dryness

People with a history of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer should consult their doctor about whether phytoestrogen supplements are safe for them. Additionally, these supplements may include soy, nuts, seeds, and tofu and may not be suitable for individuals with allergies to these ingredients.

Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause. It can be an uncomfortable symptom, affecting a person’s everyday life and making sex painful.

However, lubricants may help a person relieve the discomfort caused by vaginal dryness as they can moisturize the vagina and make sex more pleasurable. However, not all lubricants will be suitable for everyone, and a person should check the ingredients before making a purchase. Additionally, a person should check that a lubricant will not reduce the effectiveness of condoms or other forms of barrier birth control, or degrade sex toys.

If a person does not want to use lubricant, they may wish to consider alternatives such as vaginal moisturizers, creams, estrogen products, and supplements.