Are you troubled by vaginal irritation, discomfort or repeat infection? Maybe you’re not using the best lubricant for your pelvic floor health! You may be surprised to learn that some ingredients commonly used in personal lubricants damage the cells lining the vagina and the rectum.
Damaging these cells can cause pelvic pain, inflammation, chronic infection and increase your risk of some diseases.
Benefits of using a personal lubricant
Personal lubricant is used to reduce friction between moving surfaces. This includes your own tissues rubbing together as you move.
Using the best lubricant for your needs can help:
Unfortunately you can’t assume that your lubricant is safe for your pelvic floor. Regulating bodies such as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) don’t currently require lubricant testing on humans. The research into lubricant safety is currently lacking despite its widespread use.
Some of the pelvic floor problems caused by some commonly used lubricant ingredients and additives include:
How to choose the best lubricant for your pelvic floor
With so many different lubricants on the market, how do you choose the best lubricant to avoid tissue damage, infection and allergy?
It’s important to read the label to know the ingredients, additives and preservatives, especially if you are prone to vaginal irritation and if you regularly use lubricant.
There is definitely no one ideal lubricant for everyone – women have different needs and different pelvic floor health issues.
Lubricant ingredients to consider when choosing the best lubricant for your needs are:
1. Lubricant additives and preservatives requiring caution
There are numerous additives and preservatives used in formulating lubricants. Some are harmless, others require caution.
Additives are used in lubricants for many reasons; often to heighten sensation and add a special ‘benefit’ to the product.
If you are prone to vaginal irritation or infection these are some of the additives used in lubricants to be aware of:
Tips for avoiding unsafe additives and preservatives:
Read your labels and choose plain natural lubricants without the added bells and whistles (i.e. scents, flavouring, antiseptics). Plant-based additives can have the potential to cause vaginal irritation.
2. Safety of lubricant based ingredients
Water-based lubricants have generally been considered one of the safer choices of lubricant. They usually consist of water with the addition of glycerin, polymer and antibacterial agents.
Benefits of water-based lubricant:
Tips for using water-based lubricants:
Silicone-based lubricants are formulated from a small number of ingredients and don’t contain water. They usually contain Dimethicone (silicone oil).
Benefits of silicone-based lubricant:
Tips for using silicone-based lubricants:
Petroleum-based lubricants are thick, man-made substances derived from petroleum e.g. Vaseline (petroleum jelly), KY Jelly. Petroleum-based lubricants can increase the risk of vaginal irritation or infection.
Problems associated with petroleum-based lubricants:
Oil-based lubricants include oils derived from natural materials (e.g. palm or coconut oil, olive oil) and synthesised materials (e.g. baby oil).
Problems associated with oil-based lubricants:
Research into personal lubricant safety is lacking but women can benefit from using an appropriate personal lubricant with the tips provided above. Some ingredients in personal lubricants can cause damage and erosion of surface cells lining the vagina and anus. There is no one best lubricant for all women so find out what works best for you and your needs.
Do you suffer from vaginal dryness? What lubricant do you use and what works for you? Share your tips with the community bel0w.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.