Lubricants and Moisturizers

Content written by Irwin Goldstein MD

The liberal use of local non-medicated, non-hormonal vaginal moisturizers (eg: Replens, Me Again, Feminease, KY Liquibeads ® or vitamin E suppositories) can provide relief for the symptoms of vaginal atrophy. These agents are recommended for use two or three times weekly. Women should wear a light pad when using vitamin E suppositories, because it may stain undergarments. They help improve the vaginal lining or mucosa and help maintain the ridges and folds within the vaginal tissues. They should be used independently of sexual intercourse.

As the number one health care provider- recommended product, Replens® has been leading the way to increase the visibility of vaginal moisturizers among women seeking alternatives to hormone therapy. In a controlled trial, published by The New England Journal of Medicine, over the counter Replens was as effective at relieving vaginal dryness (for up to 72 hrs) as prescription hormones.

Vaginal lubricants can be placed within the vagina before sexual activity to help create a sense of moisture or artificial lubrication, at the vulvar introitus . Women should be educated about the use of commercially available lubricants and moisturizers to maintain a moist environment so that intercourse is not painful. The use of water-based vaginal lubricants with intercourse is also encouraged when vaginal dryness and atrophy are diagnosed. Not all lubricants are equally effective. Vaginal lubricants that contain spermicides, bactericides, perfumes, coloration, and flavors may also irritate a sensitive vaginal lining. Warming additives and fruit flavors may contain chemical irritants as well. These additives can be problematic especially in the menopausal woman. Common offenders include: glycerin and parabens. Excellent lubricants, which are glycerin free, include Astroglide, Slippery Stuff and Good Clean Love ®. Lubricants can be purchased on line in discretely and many are available in a local pharmacy. Lubricants may be water- or silicone-based and come in a variety of different textures and viscosities. Some brands of other water-based lubricants include: Astroglide ®(Biofilm) , Liquid Silk®, GV Slip Inside®, Hydra-smooth®, Sensua Organic®, Probe®, and KY jelly ® (Johnson and Johnson) . Silicone-based lubricants are Wet Platinum® and Eros Women®.

Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers are widely used by women without sexual health concerns to improve sexual satisfaction. Vaginal lubricants can also be used to enhance other sexual activities including masturbation with or without a vibrator, mutual masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex.