Originally published June 22 2013
Is using an oil-based personal lubricant a mistake for women?
by Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
(NaturalNews) When it comes to sexual stimulation or even treating vaginal dryness and irritation, most women have used a personal lubricant at one time in their life. Lubricants can help make things feel more pleasurable and even offer healing. When looking for a healthy lubricant, women often find themselves having to read through a variety of chemicals in an attempt to ensure that what they are using will not negatively impact their health. For example, many lubricants sold at your local grocery or drugstore contain parabens which are known toxins.
As women become more educated about parabens and attempt to avoid them, some are turning to using oils for lubricants. A popular one to use is coconut oil as it is very soothing to the skin, natural, nontoxic and a lighter oil that has little to no scent.
Coconut oil is the best oil to use if you opt to use one vaginally and it is actually a great way to treat yeast infections as it contains caprylic acid. Specifically, it has been shown to be quite effective in combating Candida strains. However, it may not be something you want to use as a personal lubricant based on incompatibility with some birth control methods and interactions with sexual products.
Is using oil safe for vaginal use?There are several factors that should be considered if you decide to use oil as a lubricant.
The pH and bacteria levels of the vagina are very sensitive and it is important to choose products that will not disrupt that. In particular, women are susceptible to bacteria getting introduced into the urethra (which is where urine comes out) from small amounts of fecal matter located near the anus. This can easily be done by accident as they are so close in proximity. Any movement from the lower vaginal opening can transfer the bacteria into the vaginal opening and up toward the urethra. This can happen from sexual activity with a partner, a sex toy and even wiping after urination incorrectly (from back to front which instead should be done from front to back).
In addition, harmful bacteria can be transferred from other forms of sexual activity from bacteria found on fingers or in the mouth and other sources. Using an oil lubricant can make it harder to clean off the bacteria and can actually hold it there, making the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) higher.
Another concern is that using an oil lubricant can break down condoms, diaphragms and some sex toys depending on the materials that they are made out of which can lead to accidental pregnancy, STD or STI transmission or a chemical melting of a sex toy.
Silicone lubricants are less likely to harbor harmful bacteria, and are typically safe for use with condoms; however, they do chemically melt certain materials in sex toys so it is important to research what your sexual product is made from first or simply avoid silicone lubricants when using them.
What type of lubricant is healthiest?The best lubricants for women are water-based as they wash off easily, making removal of any harmful bacteria more effective and they do not chemically interact with either condoms or sex toys.
It is also recommended that you only use a nontoxic, paraben free water-based lubricant. To check if it is paraben free, simply look through the ingredients of your personal lubricant for words ending in paraben. Commonly used parabens include methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben.
Why is checking for parabens important?There are many reasons why one should avoid parabens in their product, however, personal lubricants in particular are very important as they are directly absorbed into the bloodstream when used. Examples of health issues that have been linked to Parabens:
• They may alter hormones in women, specifically estrogen, and have been linked to breast cancer and skin cancer.
• They may cause or heighten allergic reactions such as rosacea and dermatitis.
• They have been shown to decrease sperm count in men.
• Parabens have been shown to contribute to problems in fetal development for pregnant women.
The list of potential health risks from parabens goes on and more and more countries are looking at banning them from being used. However, currently they are approved by the FDA.
What is the best lubricant to use?There are several manufacturers that specialize in paraben free water-based lubricants, however, there are also those that use only organic ingredients that are healthy and in some cases healing such as aloe, vitamin E, sea kelp and guava bark. When purchasing a personal lubricant make sure to be educated about the ingredients as even all natural ones can cause allergic reactions in those sensitive to certain plants.
Sources for this article include:
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