Many people use vaginal moisturizers or lubricants to help ease vaginal discomfort and to make intercourse more comfortable. A 2014 study involving 1,021 women found that 66 percent of participants reported having used a personal lubricant.
Although there are several vaginal lubricants available in the personal health aisle, some people prefer a more natural approach.
People using latex-based contraceptive devices should avoid coconut oil as a lubricant, however. This is because the oil can break down the latex in these devices, making them less effective.
In this article, we explore whether coconut oil works as a vaginal lubricant, how to use it safely, and risks and considerations.
We also cover other benefits of using coconut oil on the skin, and some alternative options for vaginal dryness.
Does it work?
Coconut oil is popular home remedy for a number of health conditions. Many people also use it to moisturize their hair and skin. The oil is also gaining popularity as a natural lubricant for vaginal dryness.
However, evidence for the effectiveness of coconut oil as a vaginal lubricant is so far largely anecdotal.
Some studies suggest that coconut oil is safe to use on the skin and can help relieve dryness. For example, a 2013 study investigated the topical use of coconut oil for treating mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in children.
The team concluded that coconut oil was more effective than mineral oil at treating symptoms of atopic dermatitis, such as skin dryness. None of the children in the study experienced adverse reactions to the coconut oil.
The researchers also found that coconut oil:
- coated the skin to reduce water loss
- helped strengthen the skin barrier
- had emollient properties, meaning that it may help soothe and hydrate the skin
How to use safely
Scientists have conducted no research into the safety or effectiveness of coconut oil as a personal lubricant. However, several studies suggest that coconut oil is generally safe to use on the skin.
Anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to coconut or coconut oil should avoid using such products on the skin or as a personal lubricant.
Before using coconut oil, it can be helpful to perform a patch test. To do this, rub a small amount of the coconut oil on the inner skin of the forearm and wait for 24 hours to see whether there is a reaction.
Stop using coconut oil on the skin or as personal lubricant if it causes:
- irritation or discomfort
To use coconut oil as a personal lubricant, apply it around the opening of the vagina and on the vulva. Also apply the oil to any objects that will enter the vagina, such as the penis, fingers, or sex toys.
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