Last month I co-hosted a tremendous ed event for health care providers on lube, yes lube! Smitten Kitten educator Dale Mueller provided us with many eye openers about the pitfalls of common lubricants. With a wicked grip on the science of the private bits, she led us down the slippery slope of options.
What your provider may not know
During medical training, most clinicians are not educated about how various products made for genital use can significantly affect health. This is crucial information when people with present with concerns such as itching, lack of lubrication, irritation, odor, or burning. If clinicians simply provide a prescription to treat the symptoms, we may miss the root cause of the problem. Additionally, there are profound differences between water, silicone, and plant oil-based lubes.
BYOL (bring your own lube)
Did you know that lubricant stocked in most clinics for pelvic exams is not very healthy for your vagina? It contains ingredients which can cause yeast overgrowth, kill healthy lactobacillus, and trigger a bacterial infection or allergic sensitivity. While most people with healthy genitals do not have these problems, we could be triggering others who have frequent exposure (infertility clients) or chronic infections. Hint: bring your own healthy lube to your next pelvic exam, or ask them to just use water to moisten the speculum.
Tailor your lube to you
Are you in a low estrogen state (lactating without a period, menopausal)? Prone to yeast infections? Trying to keep anal play safe? And interested in minimizing your risk for an STI? Go to the Smitten Kitten link https://badvibes.org/2015/12/04/new-lube-resources/ to find out which lubes and vaginal moisturizers are best for your circumstances and health. If you are a science geek, you will enjoy tidbits on how lube can affect the pH and osmolality of the vagina and anus. And you just may find that the products you have been using are contributing to chronic or recurrent irritation or infection. Our favorite lubes at Thrive Midwives are Good Clean Love Almost Naked (sold at Target) and Überlube.
If you want to talk more about lube choices and how you can optimize their use and your health, schedule an in-person or telehealth visit with us at Thrive Midwives http://thrivemidwives.com/contact/