Finally, we’re bringing you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, OB/GYN and nationally known women’s health expert Dr. Jessica Shepherd wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. As the founder of Her Viewpoint, an online women’s health forum, she uses this outlet to focus on addressing taboo topics in a comfortable setting.
Q: Can using lube cause a yeast infection or bacterial infection in my vagina?
A: The issue here really is to pinpoint what might be causing a reaction because it could be one of three things.
One thing causing a reaction could be the condoms. Is there latex sensitivity? Not necessarily an allergy but a sensitivity that might be causing your body to respond in a ceratin way.
Then the other thing is if you’re not using condoms, could it be a reaction to the actual semen? Some people have, and it’s not like it’s a bad reaction but what it causes is a change in the vaginal environment. There’s a pH which is usually 4.5. But that’s like if you were to say the atmosphere in which the vagina likes to live is in that range. Anything that sets that off, whether it’s the condoms with the irritation or the sensitivity or the semen, can change that pH in the vaginal area and therefore cause an yeast infection or a bacterial infection like that bacterial vaginosis.
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The third thing could very well be the lubricant. Sometimes lubricants have additives that could be disruptive to the vagina. Or if they have alcohol content it’s like they draw out all the moisture and therefore cause a disruption in that as well. If it’s a lubricant issue, try other lubricants like organic lubricants. There’s one that’s called Blossom Organics and it’s a natural lubricant. It really is made without all the additives that you would find in some of the other, more of the mainstream ones on the shelf. Lubricants can be water-based but there are some that are silicone-based. Those might be better for people who have a vaginal dryness issue such as post-menopausal people, or women rather.
What I would recommend for any particular patient, is if she’s using condoms, maybe try sheepskin condoms which are not as sensitive because they do not have as much latex. Also they do have non-latex condoms other than sheepskin that could be an option.
Always see a doctor about it. If you’re experiencing excessive vaginal yeast infections or bacterial infections, there are regiments that a gynecologist can prescibe that can help sort out your vaginal flora or your atmosphere in terms of the pH. But seeing your doctor when you are experiencing any changes to your body frequently, especially to the point that you become alarmed, is something that every woman should do.
Have a question for Dr. Shepherd? Email us now.