Do you have a question you’ve been dying to ask, but didn’t know who to turn to? Well, now you do. The National Women’s Health Network has established a weekly Q & A column where you can ask questions on a variety of topics. Those topics include contraception, abortion, sexual health, menopause & menopause hormone therapy, osteoporosis, obesity, and some aspects of heart disease. Each week we will feature a new question. Submit your question today.

The answer to your question might have already been answered, to view past questions click here.

What we are able to provide:

  • A feminist perspective on current issues in women’s health
  • Evidence-based research on the risks and benefits of certain drugs and procedures
  • Information on available treatment options

What we are not able to provide:

  • Give medical advice
  • Physician referrals
  • Financial assistance in paying for health care
  • Information on general health topics

Please note: Questions submitted will not be answered personally, and not all questions submitted will be answered. If your question is selected, you will be notified via email. Before you submit your question, search our website to see if you find the answer to your question. Your answer might be found in a fact sheet, newsletter article or on one of our advocacy pages. NWHN can provide you with accessible and accurate health information; however, we are not medically licensed professionals and thus cannot provide medical diagnostic or treatment advice.

 


Weekly Question – Is coconut oil an acceptable lubricant? I am 78 and experiencing regular dryness.

 

Coconut oil is an oil extracted from mature coconuts. It is used for a variety of reasons, some of which may seem unconventional, but primarily used for cooking and beauty purposes. A simple internet search will reveal that in addition to these more common uses, some people are turning to coconut oil as a personal lubricant.

One study found that 65 percent of women have used personal lubricant products. It’s important that women are aware of the ingredients in their lubricant because some ingredients may be untested, and their safety is unknown. Natural products could also have untested ingredients.

In the past few years, coconut oil has become a popular choice for a wide variety of beauty uses, and even as a personal lubricant. The safety and effectiveness of coconut oil as a lubricant for sex is unknown because the studies have not been done. Some people might assume that just because a product is natural that it’s also safe, but that is not always the case. Coconut oil is also a chemical that could have potential side effects when used inside the body.

For instance, coconut oil could alter the natural pH of your vagina, which could cause yeast infections. Coconut oil can also degrade latex and lead to unplanned pregnancies and/or STIs, so it’s also very important to note that any oil based lubricant should not be used with latex condoms.

There is currently no scientific evidence that coconut oil is safe to use as a personal lubricant because the studies have not been done. When choosing a personal lubricant, always check the ingredients so that you are aware of what you’re putting inside your body. If you are experiencing vaginal dryness due to menopause, you could try once-a-day products or estrogen vaginal creams in addition to personal lubricants. Before using coconut oil as a personal lubricant, we encourage you to consult with your healthcare provider.

For more information on personal lubricants, see these sources:

Information on sex after menopause – https://www.nwhn.org/menopause-sexuality-2/

Lubricant fact sheet – http://www.womensvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/lubricants_factsheet_final.pdf

List of concerning chemicals found in personal lubricants –

http://www.womensvoices.org/ingredients-of-lubricants-chemicals-of-concern/

Study on women’s lubricant use – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24521034

Discussion on coconut oil as lubricant – http://www.self.com/story/coconut-oil-lube