Vaginal Dryness Relief: Discover The Must-Know Solutions

September 27, 2023.

medically reviewed by Dr. Alyssa Dweck

Vaginal dryness is very common during perimenopause and menopause. In fact, about half of all women experience vaginal dryness during menopause. It’s generally caused by a condition known as vaginal atrophy, in which the tissues of the vagina become thinner when estrogen levels are lower. This can be very uncomfortable, and can detract from a woman’s enjoyment of sex. 

Many women are seeking a way to get relief from vaginal dryness. If you’re looking for a solution to this issue, you may already have found that there are quite a few different options available, including:

  • Vaginal estrogen (ingested or topical)
  • Lubricants
  • Moisturizers

What should you look for in a product for vaginal dryness relief? How can you choose between all of the options?

Vaginal estrogen

One option is to use estrogen. Because vaginal atrophy is caused by a lack of estrogen, adding estrogen helps to address this issue. Using systemic hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is delivered to the whole body through a pill or ring, may help to some degree. However, inserting estrogen directly into the vagina via a cream, gel, or suppository is actually more effective for relieving vaginal dryness. You do need a prescription for any type of hormone therapy, including vaginal estrogen.

Studies have shown that the rise in blood estrogen levels from topical estrogen creams or suppositories is small. However, there are some women who prefer to avoid using hormones to cope with the symptoms of menopause. For those who want a hormone-free option, there are a few to choose from.

Understanding Vaginal Lubricants and Moisturizers 

In the realm of sexual wellness and care, two products often stand out – vaginal lubricants and vaginal moisturizers. However, while the two might seem similar, they serve distinct roles and can have unique benefits and considerations. Let’s break them down: 

What is a Vaginal Lubricant? 

A lubricant, commonly known as “lube,” is used to reduce friction. Lube is typically inserted into the vagina just before having sex. This is also used to enhance pleasure in the absence of dryness/pain. Lubricants can be water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based. Many of them contain fragrances and other chemicals that can be irritating, especially in women experiencing vaginal atrophy. You may want to look for a product that doesn’t contain chemicals like these, and watch out for irritation after using the product.

Lube is primarily useful for those whose symptoms only occur during sex. It only provides short-lasting relief, so it won’t be helpful for those who have symptoms throughout the day, or looking to treat the underlying issue of vaginal atrophy.

What is a Vagina Moisturizer? 

On the other hand, vaginal moisturizers are products designed for more long-term use. They’re intended to maintain or restore the natural moisture of the vagina, especially in conditions like vaginal dryness often linked to menopause or certain medical treatments. Unlike lubricants, moisturizers are usually applied regularly – not just during sexual activity – to help keep the vagina moisturized and healthy.

They are inserted into the vagina to help rehydrate and repair thin and damaged vaginal tissue. In essence, it’s a form of lotion, but it’s used inside the vagina. Unlike with a lubricant, a vaginal moisturizer is intended to be used regularly (usually daily or every other day), and can provide longer-lasting relief. A vaginal moisturizer might be more helpful for women whose discomfort doesn’t occur only during sex, but also at other times.

There are a number of different types of vaginal moisturizers available. They often contain plant-based or synthetic substances that help to hold moisture in the tissues. The product usually works best if it’s rubbed into the tissues with your finger, which means that the application of a vaginal moisturizer can be a messy process. Most moisturizers in gel/cream form need to be inserted via an applicator, which can be uncomfortable and cumbersome to many women. It’s also important to watch out for irritation, which could result from the moisturizer itself or from added chemicals like fragrances. In addition, moisturizers in gel & cream form can change the pH of the vagina (how acidic it is), which can increase the risk of issues like yeast infections.

Related: Talk with other women in the same stage of life about vaginal relief remedies

Differences in Purpose and Application 

It’s possible you’re starting to grasp the core difference between these two products now. But let’s make it clearer: 

  • Vaginal lubricants are primarily sex-centric, used during sexual activity to enhance comfort.
  • Vaginal moisturizers, conversely, are meant for regular use, often daily, to help manage ongoing vaginal dryness irrespective of sexual activity.
Vaginal Lubes vs. Vaginal Moisturizers – Explanation by Dr. Alyssa Dweck

Vaginal Moisturizer as an insert

A newer option of a vaginal moisturizer is a vaginal insert. It acts like a molecular sponge, helping to hold water in the tissues. When hyaluronic acid is placed into the vagina, it dissolves into the tissues, where it acts to hold water and keep them hydrated.

A vaginal insert is placed into the vagina with one finger, and then it gradually dissolves. Because of this, the application process is much less messy than with a gel or cream. The insert needs to be used every two to three days in order to maintain good hydration in the tissues.

Bonafide’s Revaree® is a doctor-recommended, hormone-free vaginal insert that renews your body’s moisture for everyday comfort and intimacy. It is made of hyaluronic acid, a natural substance made throughout the body that acts like a molecular sponge, helping to hold water in the tissues. When hyaluronic acid is placed into the vagina, it dissolves into the tissues, where it acts to hold water and keep them hydrated.

Revaree is easy-to-use and applicator-free. One insert is simply placed into the vagina with one finger when lying down, and then it gradually dissolves. Because of this, the application process is much less messy than with a gel or cream. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about washing or wasting plastic on reusable applicators. The insert needs to be used every two to three days in order to maintain good hydration in the tissues.

Multiple studies have shown that when used vaginally, hyaluronic acid is effective in relieving vaginal dryness. In fact, they’ve been found to be just as effective as vaginal estrogen. That is why Revaree is formulated with a clinically effective dose of hyaluronic acid and leaves out additional ingredients that can cause irritation. For those who are looking for a mess and hormone-free option with only pure, clinically-validated ingredients, Revaree is the right choice for you. It has been reviewed by members of our perry community – find all reviews here.

Options for vaginal dryness

Overall, if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, you have a few different options. Traditionally, vaginal estrogen has been considered to be the most effective. A newer, hormone-free option is hyaluronic acid vaginal inserts such as clinically proven Revaree® by Bonafide, which have been shown to be just as effective as vaginal estrogen. You can also choose to use a lubricant at the time of sex, or to use a moisturizer on a regular basis. Ultimately, the choice of which option to use is up to you.

Sources

Bleibel B, Nguyen H. Vaginal Atrophy. StatPearls (National Library of Medicine). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559297/. Accessed 26 June 2023.

Naumova I, Castelo-Branco C. Current treatment options for postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. Int J Womens Health. 2018; 10: 387–395. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S158913

Santin RJ, Mirkin S, et al. Systemic estradiol levels with low-dose vaginal estrogens. Menopause. 2020 Mar; 27(3): 361–370. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001463


Edwards D, Panay N. Treating vulvovaginal atrophy/genitourinary syndrome of menopause: how important is vaginal lubricant and moisturizer composition? Climacteric. 2016 Mar 3; 19(2): 151–161. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2015.1124259
Dos Santos CCM, Uggioni MLR, et al. Hyaluronic Acid in Postmenopause Vaginal Atrophy: A Systematic Review. J Sex Med. 2021 Jan;18(1):156-166. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.10.016

Disclaimer: This is no medical advice

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