We all know that things can get a little dry down under once we reach perimenopause. Vaginal dryness can be exceptionally uncomfortable, and make intercourse nearly impossible. Sometimes, your skin can get so dry even walking can cause discomfort. Coconut, in all of its forms, has become popular for its health benefits. And yes, many women have used it to help soothe and smooth their vulva and vagina.
Can you use coconut oil as lube?
Many women are turning towards coconut oil as a lubricant. Coconut oil tends to appeal to women because it is natural and free of certain chemicals that may be found in other products. Similarly, the product goes on smooth, does not clump, and tends to get more moist with body heat. While it seems like a no brainer, there are some drawbacks to using coconut oil for sex.
- There have been no scientific studies examining coconut oil as lube. All of the information available at this point is anecdotal and based on personal experiences. Therefore, coconut oil has not been scientifically proven to be safe and effective in treating vaginal dryness.
- Coconut oil can break down latex condoms. Therefore, if you are using latex condoms for STD or pregnancy prevention, it is important to use a water-based or silicone-based lubricant instead.
- You may be at greater risk for a vaginal infection. Coconut oil has a higher pH than your vagina. Your vagina is quite acidic, whereas coconut oil is more alkaline. This difference in pH can disrupt the normal pH of your vagina, putting you at greater risk for bacterial and yeast infections. Similarly, if you use too much coconut oil, it can create a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast to replicate and thrive.
- Although rare, coconut can cause an allergic reaction. If you have a known coconut allergy, avoid using coconut oil entirely. If you are unsure if you are allergic, apply a small patch of coconut on your arm or thigh and wait 24-48 hours to see if you have a reaction on your skin.
Will coconut oil help vaginal dryness in menopause?
The vagina tends to atrophy and dry once estrogen levels decline in menopause. Some women do apply coconut oil to their vulvas and vaginas to moisturize as opposed to using a vaginal moisturizer or even low-dose vaginal estrogen creams, tablets, and rings. However, if you choose to use coconut oil to keep things moist, remember there is little evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of this product.
How often, and how much, should I apply?
If you choose to try coconut oil as a lube, start using it in small quantities. This will allow you to experiment with it and will also minimize disruption in your vaginal pH. If you are using coconut oil just to moisturize, consider applying a small amount once-daily in the beginning. Some women find using coconut oil in the bathtub or shower is an alternative to soap and has the added benefit of moisturizing, even in the nether regions.
On a final note, if you do choose to use coconut oil as a personal lubricant or moisturizer, be aware that the oil may stain your sheets and clothing. Applying baking soda for at least an hour can help lift the stain.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.