This article is taken from: https://astroglide.com/blog/9-causes-of-vaginal-dryness
At some point in their lives, the majority of women will experience vaginal dryness. And even though it may be common, a dry vagina feels uncomfortable and can make sex painful.
- * Symptoms
- * Itching
- * Burning
A feeling of Pressure
Pain or light bleeding with sex Some symptoms such as vaginal itching, burning or irritation and pain, whether constant or intercourse-related, should be brought to the attention of your physician or medical care giver, and may be treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
The causes can be anything from low estrogen levels to outside factors such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, tampons, condoms or diaphragms. Taking antihistamines or decongestants will interfere with your vaginal moisture, as will washing with certain soaps.
For most women, however, vaginal dryness is a direct result of lowered estrogen levels. This occurs during pregnancy or following childbirth, and when a woman enters perimenopause or menopause. Nursing, menstrual cycle changes, contraceptives, infertility drugs, hysterectomy or related surgeries, fatigue, stress and rigorous exercise also may contribute to reduced levels of estrogen.
Treating Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness may also be alleviated by increasing your water intake or with Kegel exercises to increase circulation to the pelvic area and help boost production of vaginal moisture. Using a personal lubricant in conjunction with any of the foregoing is recommended. In addition, increasing the frequency of sexual intercourse can naturally produce more vaginal lubrication.
Always use a personal lubricant that's water-based and water-soluble, and slightly acidic (pH balanced) to match normal body fluids. This slight acidity inhibits the growth of certain harmful microorganisms, particularly yeast. Never use a petroleum-based product, petroleum jelly, mineral oil or edible oil in place of a good personal lubricant. These home remedies can adhere to the vaginal walls where they mask infections and provide a place for harmful organisms to multiply. They can also damage latex condoms and diaphragms, rendering them ineffective for safe sex or birth control
This article is taken from: http://www.astroglide.com/GoodtoKnow/SaferSex.aspx
Practicing safer sex has become a chore for many. It often represents a too clinical approach to sex. But safer sex can also be "fun sex." When condoms are used correctly and with proper lubrication, both partners will have increased pleasure and sensitivity. It can often add to intimacy between partners and assist in better communication in the bedroom.
The condom is the most commonly used method for safer sex. Prelubricated condoms are available but they can be gritty and long term storage may cause the lubricant to weaken the condom. Some people resort to the use of "natural skins," derived from animal tissue, or sheer latex in order to enhance sensitivity. However, your safety is compromised by these choices. Sheer latex condoms are easily torn while the "natural skins" do not block the AIDS and herpes viruses.
To find the condom right for you, experiment with the length, thickness and features of the condom. Some come with ribbing or ridges that act to increase stimulation for the receiving partner.
Personal Lubricants and Condoms
Adding a few drops of a personal lubricant to the inside surface of the tip of the condom before it is unrolled will provide the wearer with greater sensitivity. The personal lubricant should also be applied to the outer surface of the latex condom and may be applied to the partner's genitals during foreplay. This will eliminate the possibility of discomfort or irritation of delicate tissues. Lubrication prior to penetration will enhance your partner's enjoyment and decrease the possibility of the condom tearing. The condom is best applied by you or your partner before there is any contact. The reason for this is to prevent exposure to the small amount of semen that is sometimes released at arousal, even before sex is actually initiated and ejaculation has occurred.
The choice of a personal lubricant is extremely important. It should be water-based and water-soluble. Petroleum based products will break down the latex and damage the condom as well as adhere to delicate tissues and provide a good breeding ground for harmful microorganisms to grow and multiply. Choosing a lubricant that is slightly acidic will inhibit these unfriendly organisms.
The lubricant of choice should be convenient to apply, easy to remove with water and basically, mimic the characteristics of the body's own lubricating fluids.
Astroglide's unique formula is water-based, water-soluble and designed to mimic the body's natural fluids. Astroglide makes condom use more enjoyable and makes safer sex a reality
This article is taken from: http://www.sexualecstasy.org/facts-myths.php
Advantages of an Oil-based Lubricant
With any prolonged sexual experience, an oil-based lubricant can play a pivotal role. In Dr. Alan Brauer's national bestseller ESOTM (Extended Sexual Orgasm), he states:
"One supply you'll need is a good lubricant. It must be oil-based, not water-based. You will need a lubricant for ESO because you'll be stroking delicate tissues for long periods of time. Natural lubrication, even from women who naturally lubricate extensively during sex, isn't adequate. Neither is saliva. Neither are lotions, creams, jellies, nor any other water-based substances." Dr. Brauer is a psychiatrist and a graduate of the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, and the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He interned at New York University's Bellevue Hospital in New York City and in 1976 completed his psychiatric residency at Stanford University in California. The founder and first director of the Stanford Medical Center Biofeedback and Stress Reduction Clinic, he now serves as clinical assistant professor in the Stanford Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Brauer is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He founded and directs the Brauer Stress and Pain Control Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. His work has been published in scientific journals and he has appeared on television and radio throughout the United States.
Occasionally, women develop a bladder infection called cystitis when they first begin to stimulate the G-spot. This condition is easily treated with an antibiotic like bactrim and usually does not happen again. Like "honeymoon cystitis," it may occur once or twice in some brides and in women who begin sexual activity again after inactivity. It can be bothersome, but is not dangerous. Cystitis may accompany the use of a lubricant which can lead a woman to believe the lubricant was at fault when such is not the case.
Some women claim they received infections from mineral oil or petroleum based lubricants. This story continues to spread and becomes more distorted with every passing. It is a myth that suggests lubricants containing mineral oil or petrolatum cause yeast and bladder infections. Most women perpetuating this myth have forgotten they were raised as a baby having mineral oil and petrolatum rubbed daily on their behinds -- with only beneficial results.
There is no scientific evidence or literature supporting these myths and they are at best anecdotal. "The Mineral Oil Myth," an article written by Barry Skiba, B.S., R.M.T., and published in the July/August 1993 edition of Massage magazine, reported studies of mineral oil that suggest the continued use of mineral oil on the skin does not pose any problems.*
The risk factors for vaginal yeast infection include things such as:
- * the use of antibiotics
- * problems with the immune system
- * clothing that holds in warmth and moisture
chemicals that enter the vagina (from douching and using feminine hygiene sprays, talcs, or perfumes) The American Academy of Family Physicians website at familydoctor.org, WebMD, and womenshealth.gov make no mention of oil based lubricants or mineral oil being involved in yeast infection. NativeRemedies.com, a website dedicated to natural remedies, recommends using mineral oil for lubrication during intercourse as a home remedy against yeast infection. Care should be taken when using vegetable oils and water-based lubricants as they can go rancid and can provide a medium for bacterial growth. Bacteria can grow in water and vegetable oils, but they cannot grow in mineral oil. The emphasis is on proper personal hygiene. With good hygiene, the use of a petroleum based lubricant is not just safe, but healthy as well. *
With regards to the degradation of Vitamins A, D, and E by mineral oil, Mr. Skiba indicates the effects are so minimal that if we were to study the use of water or alcohol on the skin, the results would be similar in removing amounts of electrolytes and cutaneous fat. Yet who has ever worried that everytime we take a shower, we risk losing valuable nutrients normally found in the skin.
Can condoms be safely used with an oil-based lubricant? The answer used to be no since all condoms were made out of latex, and oil-based lubricants can weaken latex causing the condom to tear and break. However, new condoms have been developed which are safe to use with an oil-based lubricant. These condoms (such as Avanti or Trojan Supra) are made out of plastic (polyurethane) and can stand up to an oil-based lubricant. They are stronger and thinner than latex, and are non-porous and non-permeable to viruses including HIV*. They warm to the body's temperature unlike latex and are hypoallergenic (important if you are allergic to latex). *
No condom, latex or plastic, guarantees 100% protection from viruses. Nevertheless, using a condom can minimize the risk of contracting STDs (Sexually Transmitted Disease).