Lubricants, whether vaginal or rectal are used to balance dryness and to reduce pain and discomfort with penetration. With huge variety of lubricants on the market, most of them marketed with the goal of increased pleasure, leaves people with pain or sensitivity in a cloud of confusion and wanting for more cleaner products. There are many blogs and resources talking about various oils and the safe and best lubricant, and the lubricant companies have geared their marketing of products as the next best natural and clean one.
I get asked by almost every patient about what lubricant I suggest. I am not affliated with any of the companies and I wanted to give fact based information to help you choose the right one. There is a lot of information and I wanted to make it more concise for people to make a decision without searching for right resources and reading an hour's worth information.
So how should you choose a lubricant?
Lubricants are Water based, oil based and silicone based. Water based are more preferable for dryness, pain, sensitivity issues.
Based on pH
A healthy vaginal pH is 3.8-4.5. Anything over is can lead to risk of bacterial vaginosis.
A Rectal pH is ard 7.0, which is more closer to neutral
Based of Osmolality
Higher than normal vaginal secretion osmolality can break down mucous membrane and cause irritation and increase the risk of STI.
Osmolality below 1200 mOSm/kg is best for a lubricant
If you don't know what is the pH and Osmolality of the lubricant, reach out to the company and ask them.
List of Harmful chemicals to look to for in a Lubricant
Parabens(commonly methylparaben and/or propylparaben) can lead to fertility problems, genital rashes, or endocrine disruption
Cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane and cyclotetrasiloxane - linked to cancer
Undisclosed flavors or fragrance- can have carcinogens, reproductive toxins and allergens
Glycerin (glycerol), a common base for personal lubricants—can damage or irritate vaginaland rectal epithelial cells, potentially increasing the transmission of STIs such as herpes and human immunodeficiency virus.
Avoid lubricants with colors, fun flavors or heating/cooling/tingling features
What about Coconut / Olive and Other Oils?
Oil based lubricants might lead to breakage of condoms, increasing the risk of STI or chances of pregnancy. It also has to be made sure, that there are no additives in the oil and it is in pure form. Another thing to keep in mind is, oil might alter vaginal pH and increase chances of yeast infection if you are prone to those.
Yes,Yes,Yes WB lubricant; Good Clean Love organic WB, Sliquid, Uberlube, Intimate Rose
Lubricant is different from moisturizer
Brands for Vaginal moisturizers
Julva, Good Clean Love, VMagic, Desert Harvest, Intimate Rose, Enchanted Rose, Rosebud Woman, Yes
Household products that should not be used with latex condoms ( This excerpt is from WHO advisory notes)
Baby oil Burn ointment Dairy butter Palm or coconut oil Cooking oil
Suntan oil Haemorrhoid cream
Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
Below is List of Lubricants and their pH, Osmolality and ingredients
Steiner, M., Piedrahita, C., Glover, L., Joanis, C., Spruyt, A., & Foldesy, R. (1994). The Impact of Lubricants on Latex Condoms during Vaginal Intercourse.International Journal of STD & AIDS,5(1), 29–36.