Is your sex life slip sliding……..away?
Would you rather clean your bathroom than go to bed? Have your afternoon delights turned into trips to the local ice cream shop? Has your sex life taken a nosedive?
When you are in perimenopause and menopause and your estrogen levels begin to drop, you may find that your vagina has suddenly moved to the desert and I don’t mean Vegas. It becomes dry (aka vaginal dryness), and sex hurts! No worries, help is on the way. You do not have to live the rest of your life without the big O. Orgasms are still in your future!
You may need a tune up! Yep a good old-fashioned lube job!
Share your sexual challenges with your partner so that he/she does not personalize these sexual challenges! Be sure you are going to a menopause specialist, so that you can talk this over with a doctor who understands your situation and is up on the latest information and treatments. Many women find that systemic hormone therapy (often referred to as HT) is the best answer for them. Systemic hormone therapy allows estrogen to circulate throughout the bloodstream and to all parts of the body. Available in many forms: a pill, injection, patch, gel, cream and spray. Others find that local estrogen therapy (LET) which is applied directly to vaginal tissues works magic for them. LET goes directly to the affected area, with minimal absorption of estrogen into the bloodstream. There are several different kinds of LET, including creams, a ring, and a tablet. Some women need a combination of of both HT and LET to really tackle the problem.
For those who would prefer not to use hormone therapy (and even if you do), here is the wet and wild info on lubrication. Non-hormonal vaginal lubricants can help decrease friction and discomfort during intercourse. Vaginal moisturizers (similar to moisturizing your face – most women find these helpful to use every day – unlike a lubricant that is used only during intercourse) can help relieve dryness and re-balance the acidity of the vagina. Both lubricants and moisturizers provide temporary relief of symptoms. There are three basic categories of lube:
Water Based lubes can contain a number of plant based ingredients (in addition to water), such as aloe (aloe barbadensis), guar gum (Cyamopsis tetragonolobus), flax seed extract (Linum usitatissimum), and locust bean gum (Ceratonia siliqua). They are often combined with preservatives – some natural, such as tocopherols (vitamin E) and citric acid, and in other cases synthetic preservatives, such as potassium sorbate, parabens and propylene glycol. They can also contain glycerin, xylitol and phenoxyethanol. They tend to dry out much faster than oil or silicone base lubes and can become tacky (heaven knows we don’t want to wear anything tacky) and sticky. However, they clean up easily, do not stain the bed sheets and get along just fine with latex condoms and toys! Some new lubricants contain carrageenan (a seaweed product) which serves to moisturize the lubricant to minimize the tackiness or stickiness associated with water based lubes.
Oil Based lubricants, which cannot be used with latex condoms or latex toys, can either be pure natural oils, a mix of natural and petrochemical oil, or pure petrochemical oil. If condoms are required, either Polyurethane or Polyisprene condoms can be used. As natural oils, some people use Organic 100% Sweet Almond Oil (this contains oleic and linoleic essential fatty acids, which helps your muscles relax) or Organic 100% Virgin Coconut Oil (this can help prevent yeast and bladder infections) as a lubricant. Add a little balsamic vinegar, lettuce and maybe you can make a salad at the same time! These oils will not burn or inflame the vagina or the penis! Good to know. One night, my husband and I got carried away with some massage oil, which almost landed us in the ER! We were hot…burning hot…who knew that some massage oils were only for the back and arms!
Silicone Based lubricants are, well, you guessed it, silicone based. (I tried rubbing this stuff on my boobs, and no, it did not make them bigger.) Dimethicone (Polydimethysiloxane or PDMS) is the form of silicone used in the better silicone lubricants. It does not dry out as some water based lubricants do, has a thick lush feeling, and is generally considered to be non-toxic and non-irritating (this, of course, can depend on the individual user). It does cause damage to silicone toys (so don’t use it with your favorite silicone vibrator!), is difficult to wash off, and can stain bed sheets. If you live in a cold wintery climate with snow, as an added benefit, silicone based lube is great for putting on the bottom of a sled or toboggand and for fast downhill fun!
Test all the lubricants on your skin first for potential irritation. Try the inside of your elbow, or another spot where the skin is delicate.
I wish I could tell you chocolate syrup is the best product, but sadly it stains sheets, provides no lubrication at all, and looks horrible on your hips! Damn! Instead, truly natural products, either plant sourced water-based lubricants, or plant sourced oil-based lubricants are the healthiest to use, but pure dimethicone lube, or dimethicone mixed with water-based products may make you and your partner the happiest!
Don’t let your sex life slip away –with a little lube and/or systemic hormone therapy (HT), and/or LET (Local Estrogen Therapy), and/ or a combo of all of these treatments, you and your partner can slip back IN, in no time!
I surveyed the sisterhood and here are their favorites: (BTW, I have not received any compensation from the manufacturers or distributors of these products.)
Albolene Face Cream (I know, this one is a bit of a curveball, but hey if it’s safe and it works for you, go for it!)
Gun Oil – comes water based and silicone based
What lube works for you?
Remember: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!!
25 thoughts on “Vaginal Dryness, Pain During Sex -Time for a Lube Job!”
I wish that someone would talk about the anxiety you get with perimenopause. I have read a lot about other women having anxiety during this time, but Dr’s just want to send you to a counselor. What if it is a hormonal embalance? How do we get answers?
Sarah, I agree with you. There are so many symptoms that no one seems to talk about. Anxiety is one! If you haven’t had any anxiety issues before perimenopause and menopause I would do these simple steps first before starting on anti-anxiety drugs: Download my Menopause Symptom Chart and start charting your symptoms. Find a good menopause specialist! Your specialist will take the proper tests (here is a list) and review your filled out Menopause Symptom Chart and know exactly how to help you. If you don’t have a good menopause specialist you can find some tips on how to find one in this Dear Ellen. Good Luck and keep me posted!
What a great overview of the options. You’ve done a public service with this post, el.
Great resource list! Will have to hold onto that for future use!
Good idea! One never knows when these symptoms will pop up – so to speak!
I’d rather stay away from the hormones, so this is fabulously helpful information. Which is what you always provide! Thank you!
So happy you found it helpful, Lisa!
Thanks for the awesome info. It’s a sad fact that so many of us are affected by menopause. I know someone else who would love to read this too. thanks much!
Wow, who knew all this?! Guess we all need a little maintenance! Thanks for all the great info.
Sometimes, we just grab a product – not knowing what is really in it. I thought it might be helpful to understand how they are different. All I know, is when it comes to the vagina – moist and plump is IN!
Yes lubricant!!! An organic product from the UK is the only thing I’ve found that doesn’t cause issues for my PH sensitive system. And I’ve tried gallons of others – astroglide, KY, Firefly organic, gunoil, coconut oil, almond oil, replens, pink, liquid silk – my bedside drawer is a smorgasbord. I can “use” an applicator of water-based Yes hours before it’s “used” and not be uncomfortable or feel like I need to call time out to “use” more or even mention that I’ve “used” anything. It’s maybe a little pricey, but absolutely worth it to me. (It takes A LOT for me to post anything online -I’m so sure someone else out there can benefit from this I’m willing to go public.)
Thank you so much for taking the time to post! When we share our experiences we help each other.
thankyou so much for sharing that. i’ve just ordered my first multi pack to try out.
Thanks for this helpful information. I’ve tried (all at the same time) Replens, a vitamin E suppository, Albolene, and Pjur…and I got a terrible bladder infection. Very scary. Also, my body can’t tolerate hormone replacement therapies. So I’m interested in what you say, above, about coconut oil to help during intercourse, since it also helps prevent bladder infections. I realize nothing is 100% guarantee, but is there fairly solid medical information to support this? Thank you so much. I find your newsletters very helpful.
Sue, I am so sorry you are going through so much. I wish I could give you an opinion on coconut oil, but sadly I am not familiar with this being used during intercourse. Did you try LET (local estrogen therapy)? This is different than systemic estrogen therapy, as it is localized in the vagina. Talk to your healthcare provider about it.
Ellen, thank you for responding! Yes, I tried LET, but it causes me to bleed a bit, so that’s a little scary. About the coconut oil, this is the quote from your blog post to which I refer: “…or Organic 100% Virgin Coconut Oil (this can help prevent yeast and bladder infections) as a lubricant…” That’s what I was asking about — this section from your blog post, above. But maybe I am not understanding! Thank you so much!!
OMG, Sue, forgive my menopausal brain! I did the research for this blog awhile ago. I forgot about the coconut oil! Yes, of course………….run it by your gyn first….but give it a whirl! It is antibacterial and antifungal, so it can be lubricating and prevent yeast infections at the same time! Please circle back with me and lmk how it goes!
Ellen, not to worry! Thank you so much for the additional feedback. Yes, I will discuss with my gyn and will report back if I find that it works. Thank you so very much! I truly am appreciative. Sue
Good luck, Sue!
Sue, I just came from my doctors office today and she suggested that I use coconut oil as a lubricant to help with my vaginal dryness in the hopes that my pain during intercourse will go away I did not want to go on estrogen because I did not want to put myself at risk for a variety of side effects but I needed to try something to ease the pain. It was just unbearable and intercourse was not on the table anymore. So I am off to the store tomorrow to buy some and check it out. I did do some research on line and read lots of post by couples who have used the coconut oil with success. It’s might be worth a try. My doctor suggested inserting it with an applicator and also using it on my husband as well. Hope this helps you. I know what you are going through.
I miss that “ooooh” “ahhha” wet and horny feeling I used to get years ago, and now that I am 57 years old, and my husband and I are no longer together, even my arousal is dead, gone, and want it to come back. I want to get hot watching a guy or sexy movie but am too dry-to-try, or get into the mood. I am not afraid to use my toy either.
I have used a products like H2O, and KY’s (Hot and Cool), but again, my sense of arousal seems to have left.
What can I do to get it back because I love sex,with a man and someday want to have it again, and not just with my toys either.
Deborah, I think you should ask your menopause specialist to check your testosterone levels. Crashing testosterone levels might be the issue. Also, be sure to be checked for vaginal atrophy. You may need some help in that department, too! This Dear Ellen has some great tips! Take a minute and read my Menopause Mondays:Loss of Libido, Memory Loss —Is Low Testosterone The Problem?
Nothing could be better than this. Your ideas are just mind blowing. I heard the lubes which contain parabens and glycerin are harmful for the ladies. Dear Ellen, what’s your opinion on this issue. I heard those not only cause east infection but also breast cancer.
I would definitely ask a health practitioner about that!