Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of menopause due to the hormonal changes that take place. Lubricants can help relieve some discomfort that vaginal dryness causes, as they increase moisture in the area and soothe dry skin.

A quick look at the best lubricants for menopausal dryness

Type of lubricants

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. It can cause 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 dryness.

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.

Pros

  • suitable for use during sex, including penetrative vaginal sex, masturbation, and for use with sex toys
  • suitable for use with condoms
  • readily available online and in local pharmacies

Cons

  • water-based lubricants with high osmolality — common in water-based lubricants — can cause irritation and cell damage
  • glycerin in some personal lubricants can increase a person’s risk of developing bacterial vaginosis, as glycerine is a byproduct of sugar
  • may need to apply it more regularly than other types of lubricant
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Silicone-based lubricant

Silicone-based lubricants are also common and tend to last longer than water-based products.

Pros

  • hypoallergenic, so may be the most suitable for people with sensitive skin
  • long lasting, so may not need to apply it as often as water-based lubricants if they use it to relieve vaginal dryness during the day
  • suitable for use with condoms
  • may be more effective in reducing sexual discomfort than water-based lube

Cons

  • not suitable for use with some sex toys, as it can degrade them over time
  • may be more difficult to clean than other types as silicone is long lasting
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Oil-based lubricants

Oil-based lubricants provide a slippery feel and are longer lasting.

Pros

  • last longer than water-based products
  • may be more effective at relieving general vaginal dryness than water-based products as they have a more slippery feel

Cons

  • may stain fabrics and be difficult to clean up
  • people may be at a higher risk of developing a yeast infection if they use oils inside the vagina
  • a higher risk of condom breakage if used alongside latex condoms
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How we chose

Medical News Today chooses personal lubricants that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT selects lubricants that have skin-safe ingredients suitable for prolonged exposure to the genitals, as well as for topical or oral use, ingestion, and inhalation.
  • Use: MNT chooses lubricants that are suitable for use to relieve vaginal dryness and during sex to prevent discomfort.
  • Safety: MNT selects lubricants that are hypoallergenic or that clearly state which allergens they contain.
  • Price: MNT chooses lubricants that are available in a range of budgets.

Medical News Today reviewed nine lubricants and selected six that passed our rigorous vetting process. The products we did not include did not have clear ingredient lists or were not in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Establishment Registration & Device Listing.

MNT follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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Best lubricants for menopause dryness

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.

Lubricants for dryness comparison

The following table compares the lubricants in this article.

Type of lubricantSizeCustomer ratingPrice
Gennevwater-based2 fl oz4.5 out of 5$17.95
LOLAwater-based1.7 fl oz4 out of 5$14
Astroglidesilicone-based3 oz4.3 out of 5around $11
Stripesoil-based3.3 fl oz3.7 out of 5$40
K-Ywater-based3 fl oz3.7 out of 5around $25
AH! YES!plant oil-based1.4 and 4.7 fl oz4.4 out of 5around $23

Alternative treatments

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

  • using vaginal moisturizers
  • washing with nonperfumed 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 a 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.

Frequently asked questions

The following are common questions and answers about 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 thin. When this happens, there are fewer moisture-producing cells in the vaginal walls, which can lead to dryness, making the skin more fragile and reducing 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. The lubricating effect of oils can last longer than water-based lubricants.

However, 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.

An alternative to oil is aloe vera. This plant is known for its moisturizing properties. However, some aloe vera products may contain alcohol, which is not suitable for use inside the vagina. It 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.

Can a woman lubricate after menopause? 

After menopause, the ovaries stop producing eggs, leading to decreased estrogen levels. This can cause the skin and tissue of the vulva and vagina to become less elastic, and people may experience vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness affects around 50% of people who have gone through menopause. Some people may still experience adequate lubrication to avoid discomfort. However, others may need to purchase personal lubrication products.

How can I increase my lubrication during perimenopause?

People can help increase vaginal lubrication by:

  • applying water-based lubricants before sex
  • using vaginal moisturizers that are suitable for internal use
  • washing with fragrance-free products
  • engaging in other sexual acts, such as clitoral stimulation and oral sex, before vaginal penetration

Summary

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

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

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