A sexual health educator, Dr. Opeyemi Adeyemi, says lubricants that contain glycerin may lead to yeast infection.
According to Adeyemi, if a water-based lubricant is left in the vagina, it can change the potential of hydrogen in the vagina; and if the pH level is changed, it gives room for organisms to grow in the vagina.
A pH level is a number that measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is on a scale of zero to 14.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, Adeyemi said it was important to keep the safety and comfort of the vagina in mind when choosing a lubricant.
“The pH of the vagina has to be preserved in order to prevent infections. pH is how acidic or alkaline something is and the vagina has to be acidic. The pH level is between 3.8 and 4.5.
“When you are sexually aroused, the vagina normally self-lubricates, which makes the overall experience so much fun.
“However, your body may produce less lubricant as a result of hormonal changes, menopause, ageing or medication.
“So, that’s where artificial lubricant comes in and there is nothing to be ashamed about,” Adeyemi said.
She noted that the four types of artificial lubricants — natural-based, water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based — have their pros and cons.
“Natural lubricants are natural, organic, or vegan lubricants made of botanicals or other eco-friendly ingredients. It is free of paraben, a commonly used preservative with established health risks.
“It uses organic ingredients that are better for the environment and safe for the vagina but it has a shorter shelf life, costs more and not readily available.
“Water-based lubricants are the most common and comes in two varieties-with glycerin which has a slightly sweet taste and without glycerin.
“It is cost-effective, easy to find, safe to use with condoms, less likely to cause vagina irritation (glycerin free), it has a longer shelf life but lubricants with glycerin may cause a yeast infection.
“Glycerin-free lubricants can taste bitter, it may not be the best option if you like to switch things up and between oral and penetrative sex,” she said.
On silicone-based lubricant, the expert said it is odorless, tasteless, slippery, and smooth.
“It lasts the longest and doesn’t need to be reapplied as often as water-based lubricants. It is safe to use with latex condoms and it is hypoallergenic.
“However, it is hard to wash off. You will need to give the area a soapy scrub to remove any residue. It is not recommended for silicone sex toys because it can break them down, making them gummy and gross over time.” she said,
The expert added that oil-based lubricants are of two types-natural and synthetic.
“For the natural type, it has to do with coconut oil or butter while the synthetic type has to do with mineral oil or vaseline.
“Natural based oil lubricants like avocado, coconut, vegetable, and olive oils are great for genital massages and all types of sexual play. They are also safe for the vagina and safe to eat.
“Synthetic oil-based lubricants including body lotions and creams are good for external masturbation, but not internally.
“But, both natural and synthetic-based lubricants can destroy latex condoms, cause condom failure, stain fabrics.
“Synthetic products are harder to clear out of your body than their natural counterparts, may irritate the vagina and lead to a vaginal infection,” Adeyemi noted.