What’s the difference between a lubricant and a moisturizer?

Can I use both? My lady parts are painfully dry but I’m not willing to throw in the towel on intimacy!

Good for you! Yes, you can use both, and I encourage women to do so. The real difference between a lubricant and a moisturizer is how long they last. Lubricants coat the vagina to ease penetration, so intercourse feels more comfortable—maybe a bit more like it felt when you were in your thirties. But the benefit doesn’t last. It’s a single-use kind of thing (unless it’s a lubricant specifically designed to moisturize, too).

Moisturizers last longer. They replenish and help maintain water content in the vagina, clinging to the vaginal walls so they are effective for several days. Mineral- and vegetable-oil-based moisturizers are not recommended because they can cause irritation, providing a habitat for abnormal bacteria. Vitamin E oil, on the other hand, can be a helpful ingredient. (Here are some some options from a reputable source)

Some women prefer to moisturize every few days; others need it a little less often to stay comfortable. You choose what works best for you!

2 thoughts on “What’s the difference between a lubricant and a moisturizer?”

  1. Question ( if I could… although I have asked in the past without a reply I will endeavor to try again). I was wondering about the Diva laser procedure. My GYN thinks it could benefit. I would love your thoughts. Dryness has put me in a place of severe pain. Lube is somewhat helpful, but it has it’s lasting (oiliness), to any nearby cotton and leaves stains. Water based is too short lived and when using I am left with vaginal ripping and bleeding. Looking for best solution and thought you might lend your professional thoughts.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Cindy, The Diva laser (and others) has been used to treat vaginal atrophy as a cause of painful sex. The laser is FDA approved, but not approved for that indication. This has been a big debate in the women’s healthcare arena as we presently lack good long term safety and effectiveness clinical trials. It is not without potential risks and complications but it’s difficult to accurately inform women on that because the trials haven’t been done yet to receive wide acceptance/application. A few of my patients have had it done (I personally don’t perform laser therapy for vaginal atrophy), some with benefit, some with no benefit. I’d say this is a ‘buyer beware’ status right now. Have you trialed any of the prescription therapies (localized estrogen, or non-estrogen options)? The vast majority of my postmenopausal patients use a silicone lubricant like Uberlube or Pink, it is the most effective lubricant option for most postmenopausal women.

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