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Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012

Body-Safe Vaginal Moisturizers

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I read your article "Why Not KY?"  I would like to know your opinion on using Replens vaginal moisturizer.

Vaginal moisturizers can be a great help to people who are experiencing vaginal dryness. Moisturizers are different than lubricants because they are meant to be applied regularly (usually a few times a week) as part of a regular self-care routine, like facial moisturizers or body lotion, rather than prior to or during sex.

Vaginal dryness is most often associated with menopause, when a drop in the body’s production of estrogen causes the production of vaginal lubrication to decrease. Other causes of dryness can be childbirth, breastfeeding, a hysterectomy that includes removal of the ovaries, cancer treatments, and medication for uterine fibroids and endometriosis. A lack of vaginal lubrication can, of course, have a huge impact on sex, but it can also cause itching and burning while going about your normal daily activities. Using a vaginal moisturizer in addition to a lubricant during sex can help to relieve this irritation.

My guidelines for choosing vaginal moisturizers are similar to those for choosing lubricants, which includes looking out for ingredients that might cause irritation or infection in some people. You ask specifically about the vaginal moisturizer Replens. Replens contains glycerin, which can cause yeast infections in some women; for other women, this particular ingredient might not be irritating at all. If you are looking for a moisturizer without glycerin, parabens or other chemical ingredients, Sliquid Satin might be a good choice. Another option is organic aloe-based lubricants, such as Aloe Cadabra and Good Clean Love, since aloe is very moisturizing.

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.