Do you moisturise your vulva and vagina?

Do you moisturise your vulva and vagina?

Do you have a daily skin care regime? Moisturise your body after a bath or shower? Really care about what you eat? How about your vulva and vagina?

Plenty of people have just laughed when I ask if they moisturise their vulva and vagina! Personally having had many sexual health issues I cannot understand why people don’t look after their intimate health or care about the products they use in this incredibly delicate and sensitive part of your body.

Many people really care about the products they use on their skin, face, body and hair and the food they eat, dilgently checking the ingredients and where they are sourced from yet few think about looking after their vulva and vagina health or think about the products they use intimately.

Our vaginas are self cleaning so we don’t need to wash them, scrub, scour, bleach or perfume them, all this do is disrupt the delicate pH of the vagina which leads to irritation and infection. However we do need to look after them.

The tissues of your vulva and vagina need TLC to keep them happy and healthy so you can keep enjoying great sex, whatever your age but especially during perimenopause, menopause and post menopause.

Known as Genitourinary symptoms of Menopause (GSM) the delicate tissues of the vulva and vagina can feel less well lubricated and dry, they can shrink leading to vaginal tightness, making any penetrative sex play, smear tests and pelvic examinations uncomfortable or painful. They can become irritated, itchy, sore and you may experience infections such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis. You may also experience bladder and urethral irritation, needing to pee frequently, urgency in needing to pee or notice a burning or stinging sensation when you pee. This is due to the depleting oestrogen inside the vagina and bladder. Oestrogen keeps our vaginas, vulvas, urethra and bladder happy and healthy so when it starts to decline during perimenopause and menopause, this is often when people notice symptoms.

Just wash with water

No one needs a perfumed vulva and vagina so stay away from those intimate washes and bath bombs please! So many people who experience vulva and vaginal irritation buy feminine hygiene products, vaginal moisturisers, washes, douches, creams, lotions and potions to try to ease symptoms yet the vast majority of these products are all manufactured with irritating ingredients that do more harm than good, exacerbate or are ineffective in easing symptoms. Often people reach for completely unsuitable products in their kitchen or bathroom cupboards never created for intimate use. Just because it’s slippery or you can eat it doesn’t mean you can use it for sex or as a moisturiser!

If you feel you need to wash with a product a gentle emollient will be suitable.

Local oestrogen can transform your sex life

Using local oestrogen can be a game changer when it comes to enjoying pleasurable sex and preventing genitourinary issues. Many people only start using local oestrogen when they have issues yet it can prevent many issues from happening. Local oestrogen which comes in pessaries, cream and ring pessaries is absorbed in the vagina, vulva and bladder replacing the depleting oestrogen to keep the tissues flexible, promote lubrication and prevent infections and irritation. The vast majority of people with a vulva and vagina can use local oestrogen so speak to your GP or a menopause expert. Some people choose not to use it, others don’t know what it is and some people may not be able to use it. For clinical evidenced based information take a look at the NICE Menopause guidelines and the excellent menopause medical and healthcare professionals and resources listed below.

I personally use pessaries that I pop inside my vagina x 3 weekly and I have to say it has transformed my vagina and bladder health in addition to making sex feel even more pleasurable.

So what should you use to moisturise your vulva and vagina?

Firstly please don’t grab the cheapest product from the shelf in the supermarket or pharmacy. You can ask a pharmacist for advice but many have no idea abut why ingredients really matter, they’ll just sell you their most popular well known brands, the vast majority of which contain many irritating ingredients. Ingredients really matter when it comes to your intimate health, you need to avoid irritating ingredients widely used in some very well known vaginal moisturisers, even on prescription and high street own brands which include glycerin, glycols, parabens, perfumes, dyes, alcohol and petroleum jelly.

I personally have a regime for my vagina and vulva that I recommend to customers which includes using YESVM x 2 weekly, local eostrogen x 3 weekly, Sutil Luxe or Rich or YES oil based lube for any sex play, I only wash this area with water, I never use shower gels, bath bombs, intimate washes, wipes or sprays. You can also use Sutil Luxe and Rich as a vaginal moisturiser too.

If you spend £££ on your skin care or body care regime think about the products you buy and use for intimate health and sex play. Grabbing the cheapest product from the shelf or taking that celebrity /influencer recommendation may leave you with irritation or even an infection. If your GP prescribes or recommends a vaginal moisturiser, ask them what the ingredients are, just because it’s on prescription doesn’t always mean it’s good for your intimate health!

So become an ingredients detective, check the label and moisturise your vulva and vagina for good intimate health and pleasurable sex.

Helpful Resources

We work with many of these amazing people, charities and support groups.

Dr Louise Newson
Newson Health
The Menopause Charity
Dr Hannah Short
The Daisy Network – charity for premature ovarian insufficiency
British Menopause Society
Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Menopause Support
Menopause Support for LGBTQIA
Trekstock
IAPMD
Mpowered Women
Latte Lounge
College of Sex and Relationship Therapists :https://www.cosrt.org.uk/
Womb Cancer Support: www.wombcancersupportuk.weebly.com
Eve Appeal: www.eveappeal.org.uk
Shine Cancer: www.shinecancersupport.org
Clic Sargeant: www.clicsargent.org.uk
Macmillan: www.macmillan.org.uk
GRACE (Gynae-Oncology Clinical Research and Excellence): www.grace-charity.org.uk
Pelvic Roar
Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecology Physiotherapy

Image credit Charlotte Wilcox @vagina_museum