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There are quite a few non-hormonal options to treat vaginal dryness. In terms of what’s available over the counter (OTC), there are vaginal moisturizers and vaginal lubricants. Both products are effective at relieving discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse for people with vaginas, according to Jacobson.

She says that they reduce the amount of friction associated with genital tissue.

Short-term relief from vaginal dryness and related pain can be provided by applying lubrications just before or during sex.

Vaginal moisturizers rehydrate dry tissue and are absorbed into it. They can be applied anytime and are meant to be used on a consistent basis over a longer period of time.

They mimic natural vaginal secretions by adhering to the vaginal lining.

There are four main types of vaginal moisturizers.

  • The first two are creams and gels, which are usually applied with an applicator or your finger directly into the vagina.
  • There are also suppositories, which are pills and capsules that you place inside your vagina.
  • Lastly, natural oils can also work as vaginal moisturizers. Sometimes, oils come in capsule form, like vitamin E liquid capsules. Coconut oil and almond oil may also be good options.

Though natural oils can be used on their own, they’re also often included as an ingredient in creams and gels. Aloe is another common natural ingredient, notes Rebecca Brightman, MD, a board certified OB-GYN and menopause specialist.

Another key ingredient is hyaluronic acid — just like what you see in skin care products that promise deep hydration by binding to water, explains Alicia Jackson, PhD, the CEO and founder of Evernow.

Jackson says that this makes the vagina more elastic.

A common class of vaginal moisturizers has bioadhesives.

The vagina can absorb more goodbacteria for a healthier environment, thanks to these.

We considered what we wanted the best vaginal moisturizers to be.

  • pH and osmolality. Choosing products with the right pH and osmolality helps maintain optimal vaginal pH balance, and they will be physiologically most similar to natural vaginal secretions, Jacobson says. A normal vaginal pH balance is between 3.8 and 4.5. According to Jacobson, anything under 1200 mOsm/kg is generally acceptable. “Unfortunately, a number of vaginal lubricants and moisturizers do not include pH and mOsm/kg values in their ingredients,” Jacobson notes. But where possible, we’ve chosen products that fit these standards.
  • High quality ingredients. The best vaginal moisturizers use expert approved ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, bioadhesives, and natural oils and extracts.
  • Fragrance. It’s important to choose products that are fragrance-free and flavoring-free, Brightman says. “While these products may be tempting, they may be more likely to cause irritation.”
  • Positive customer reviews. We considered real experiences with each product — and the company that makes it.
  • Under $25. Vaginal moisturizers don’t need to be expensive to be effective. There are plenty of options under this price point, with many on the lower end of the spectrum.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $15
  • $$ = over $15

Best overall

AH! YES VM Vaginal Moisturizing Gel

  • Price: $
  • Pros: application options, affordable price, and pH and osmolality to mimic vaginal secretions
  • Cons: Some users reported difficulty applying the product without the applicator.
  • Who it’s best for: moisturizing both the vaginal and vulvar

This vaginal cream is long lasting. It is both neutral in pH and has the right level of osmolality to mimic vaginal secretions. It was one of the top picks for both reasons.

The product comes in a bottle and can be applied with your fingers, but it also comes in pre-filled tubes that can be emptied directly into the vagina.

Many customers prefer the option to apply the product with their fingers because it is more expensive.

Reviewers love that they notice a difference in their intercourse immediately after using this product, and in many cases, this product was recommended by their doctor.

Best capsule

K-Y Liquibeads Vaginal Moisturizer

  • Price: $
  • Pros: minimal mess, easy to insert
  • Cons: only available in packs of six
  • Who it’s best for: people wanting an easy to insert product with minimal mess

“Those who don’t want a mess or a mess after using a vaginal moisturizer can use capsule. The product is in packs of six and needs to be applied every 2 days.”

If you use the product regularly, you will be looking at about $30 a month, which is a little pricey.

Reviewers love how easy these are to use, and they provide long lasting lubrication. Many people with vaginas trust K-Y. Their lubricants are popular and well-regarded.

Best drugstore pick

Replens Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer

  • Price: $$
  • Pros: lasts up to 3 days, easy to find
  • Cons: not pH balanced
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for an easy-to-find in-store option

Replens is available at most major drugstores and retailers. It has been around for a while.

It was even studied in several older trials in comparison to estrogen treatment for vaginal dryness, and it’s been shown to be an effective alternative to estrogen vaginal cream.

“Some customers say that Replens didn’t have an ideal pH balance, which led to yeast infections, and that it could be a downside. It does contain an important bioadhesive, which is what makes it so effective, and many other reviewers have used it for years without problems.”

“Replens is supposed to be used every 3 days. It’s budget-friendly if one package lasts a month or more.”

Best oil-only option

Carlson Key-E Suppositories

  • Price: $$
  • Pros: all-natural ingredients, can be used as frequently as needed
  • Cons: cannot be used with condoms
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for an oil-based product

“The vitamins E capsule will fit the bill for those who want an all-natural pick. They don’t contain any medication, so they can be used as often as you want. Each box has 24 inserts.”

The product cannot be used with condoms because of the oil content. This is not the best choice if you need protection.

“Reviewers love that this product is hormone-free and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, fragrances or extra filler ingredients. It can be used before intercourse for extra lubrication.”

Best lubricant moisturizer combo

Satin by Sliquid Natural Intimate Moisturizer

  • Price: $$
  • Pros: pH balanced, easy to travel with
  • Cons: Some reviewers reported that the product burned when applied to irritated skin.
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a product to double as a vaginal moisturizer and lubricant for intercourse

This is a pH neutral, fragrance-free moisturizer that comes in a variety of sizes. It can be used as a vaginal moisturizer and a lubricant before and after intercourse.

Reviewers like that you can get this product in single-use pouches, which are useful for travel.

The key ingredients are vitamins E and carrageenan. It is vegan and sliquid is free of Parabens.

Price Pros Cons Who it’s best for
AH! Yes VM Vaginal Moisturizing Gel $ pH and osmolality to mimic vaginal secretions
multiple application options
affordable price
Some users found it difficult to apply without the applicator. long lasting moisture for both the vagina and vulvar
K-Y Liquibeads Vaginal Moisturizer $ minimal mess, easy to use only available in packs of 6 people who want an easy-to-insert product with minimal mess
Replens Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer $$ lasts up to 3 days, easy to find not pH balanced people looking for options that are easy to pick up in-store
Carlson Key-E Suppositories $$ all-natural ingredients, can be used as often as needed cannot be used with condoms people looking for an oil-based product
Satin by Sliquid Natural Intimate Moisturizer $$ pH balanced, easy to travel with Some reviewers experienced burning when applying the product to irritated skin. people looking for a product to use as both a vaginal moisturizer and lubricant for intercourse

If you use a vaginal lubricant, apply it before or during sex.

A vaginal moisturizer is needed for the best results.

“Jackson says to build a habit of using it a few times a week. It’s best to apply it to the walls of the vagina.”

If you use a prescription vaginal product, you can keep using vaginal moisturizers and lubricants. You want to be careful about your timing with the moisturizers.

On certain days, I recommend applying prescription vaginal products.

Vaginal dryness, a symptom of vaginal atrophy, is more common than you might expect. Signs of vaginal dryness include:

  • burning
  • Sex interest has been lost.
  • There is pain with sex.
  • Light bleeding after intercourse.
  • There is some soreness.
  • “Urinary tract infections that don’t go away or recur are what we call urinary tract infections.”
  • It can be vaginal itching or stinging.

During perimenopause and menopause, people with vaginas experience vaginal dryness.

“Fluctuation of hormones, specifically a drop in estrogen levels, can lead to vaginal dryness,” explains Mary Jacobson, MD, an OB-GYN and the chief medical officer of Alpha Medical. “Less estrogen means less natural vaginal moisture and elasticity.”

The vaginal walls are thin because of the drop in estrogen.

Outside of menopause, vaginal dryness happens. In people who are breastfeeding, prolactin levels are high.

Estrogen levels usually return to normal once breastfeeding stops.

Other possible causes of low estrogen and vaginal dryness include:

  • The ovaries are removed.
  • chemotherapy or radiation therapy of the pelvis to treat cancer
  • secondary amenorrhea (which is when you don’t have a period for more than 3 months) caused by medical conditions or lifestyle factors such as:
    • Eating disorders can be related to eating disorders.
    • Over-exercising.
    • Poor diet.
    • extreme stress
    • Chronic illness.
  • medications that suppress estrogen during the menstrual cycle, including hormonal contraceptives, like:
    • Medroxyprogesterone is also known as the shot.
    • Progestin-only devices for women.
  • hormonal therapies used to treat breast cancer, like tamoxifen.
  • leuprolide, a medication used to treat endometriosis or shrink fibroids

“If you don’t know which vaginal moisturizer is right for you, you should ask your doctor for a recommendation.”

“If OTC options don’t relieve your symptoms, it’s worth checking with an OB- GYN.”

People with mild symptoms can use vaginal moisturizers and lubricants. Jackson says that hormonal medications and other treatments may be better options in these cases.

It is better to get help sooner rather than later because vaginal dryness will continue to progress without intervention.

Can you use lotion for vaginal dryness?

The list of products you should not use in your vagina includes lotion.

“It is possible to change the vagina’s pH and increase your chance of getting an infection with products like Vaseline.”

Can you use a vaginal moisturizer with a condom?

Yes, generally.

If you have doubts, check the directions for the product. Oil-based products are one exception.

Oil breaks down latex in condoms, and a damaged condom may not protect you from an STD or an unwanted pregnancy.

What are the options if OTC moisturizers aren’t working?

Estradiol is used directly in the vagina.

These include:

  • Estrace and Premarin are some of the creams that are used.
  • vaginal rings are similar to Estring and Femring.
  • Vagifem and IMVEXXY are vaginal tablets.

Doctors can prescribe a vaginal insert with dehydroepiandrosterone for moderate to severe painful sex.

Osphena tablets are a once-daily non-hormonal treatment for vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.

How common are problems with vaginal dryness?

Very common.

Many people come to my office thinking they are having a problem with their reproductive system. These symptoms are common, but often under- treated.

Knowing what to ask for and the help888-607-3166 is half the battle for people who are experiencing vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness is more common during perimenopause and menopause than it may seem.

There are a few non-hormonal options to treat vaginal dryness. Both products are effective at easing sexual intercourse pain.

“If you don’t know which vaginal moisturizer is right for you, or if they don’t relieve your symptoms, reach out to a doctor.”

Julia Malacoff is a writer and editor who covers health and wellbeing. She is a certified personal trainer. She is walking her two cocker spaniels when she is not writing.