No need to hide when shopping for vaginal care products

Empower yourself with the facts.

With the FDA approval of Flibanserin/Addyi® in August 2015, women have slowly inched closer to sexual equality. That’s because it’s the first and only medication approved to help women with lowered sexual interest. Still, there are other sexual milestones to meet— including a more widespread use (and social acceptance) of vaginal moisturizers and lubricants, not only for personal comfort but also for sexual pleasure.

Sadly, what I have heard time and again from many of my patients is that they use such products with shame and secrecy. One patient’s story was so emotionally moving that it remains ingrained in my memory. She put on a grey full-length trench coat and drove five miles to an adjacent neighborhood at sunset to an out-of-the way pharmacy. She did not want to be spotted in a pharmacy choosing a sexual product. Her concern is that she would be branded as a sex fiend! She entered the pharmacy under the cover of night, walking slowly and carefully to the feminine products aisle. She did not stop to look at the wide array of products, nor did she read the labels or prices. She simply grabbed the first bottle that was eye level. She put it under several other random products in her basket, hopeful that there was no price check at the cash register.

This scene is not unusual or infrequent. This inequality will stop once women are educated and empowered. I encourage all of my patients to own their full sexuality and to take full charge of their health and their bodies. This means reading all feminine product labels carefully. Many products that are marketed as “natural” actually have additives, chemicals, warming compounds, bactericides or spermicides that can damage the vaginal lining.

Remember, not all creams are created equal.

Educate yourself on the difference between a vaginal moisturizer and lubricant. Understanding when to use each specific product is also essential: Moisturizers are for maintenance and are used to hydrate the vaginal lining independent of intercourse. Lubricants are for lovemaking; they help with lubrication by decreasing friction. Women may also choose a moisturizer or lubricant for the treatment of vaginal dryness or irritation, as well as to heighten sexual pleasure and enjoyment.

Read labels to identify potential irritants and caustic additives. Some additives to be concerned about include parabens, which are common preservatives that are often added to cosmetics including moisturizers and lubricants. They are known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Some important scientific data about parabens includes an article in the 2004 Journal of Applied Toxicology, in which five different parabens were found in nineteen out of twenty breast cancers; and that parabens in breast tissue were unaltered by the woman’s body. A 2002 report by the Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health identified parabens in high concentrations in the blood stream of men who had lowered or reduced sperm counts.

While the 2005 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statement indicated that parabens in the concentrations found in cosmetics and other dermatologic products posed no logical or carcinogenic health risk to the consumer, the American Cancer Society issued the statement a few years later which indicated that larger studies were needed to support that claim. While research continues, more and more women are opting for pure, natural products without parabens. Maybe women’s intuition is ahead of science in this case?

Glycerin is another common additive that may be considered an anti-drying agent but some women feel that this additive may predispose them to candida or yeast infections.

Some women have even opted to head to their kitchen pantries for a product to help eliminate their dryness. Coconut oil, peanut oil or extra virgin olive oil may help in an acute vagina irritation but there have been multiple case reports of severe infections, rancid odors and allergic reactions to these products when used in such an intimate area.

Women who have vulvar and vaginal irritation often need daily relief, and they need to embrace a healthy hygiene habit to eliminate the discomfort and to prevent sensitivity, irritation and dryness. Enter Lubrigyn Cream®, the optimal product for women. It does not contain sodium lauryl sulfates, parabens, hormones, lanolin, or hydrocarbons. It is pH balanced, has natural ingredients and the additional benefit of providing a hydrophilic film that nurtures and protects the mucosal lining.

Lubrigyn Cream’s active principles make it an effective daily product for all women. The added benefit of an airless pump is helpful since this mechanism protects the contents from oxidation . Unlike many feminine products on the market today, Lubrigyn Cream stays fresh and effective with a very long expiration period.

Women today do not have to hide underneath a trench coat when shopping the intimacy aisle. They have options to enhance their sexual experience with approved medication, therapy or a variety of other behavioral techniques. More than ever before, woman have the knowledge to care for their vaginal health and sexual well being. With so many products available, it can be confusing; yet there is one line of products that is not only doctor recommended, but is also the natural choice: Lubrigyn. Try it out and share your thoughts.