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Female Sexuality and Cancer

Moisturizers

Vaginal Moisturizers (Replens, Repagyn, Gynatrof, Zestica, Premeno)

If you have severe vaginal dryness, you might be uncomfortable with some types of physical and/o r sexual activities. If you don’t want to use replacement estrogen, a vaginal moisturizer is a good option. This is like using a moisturizing cream for dry skin on the face. Moisturizers help keep the lining of the vagina moist and healthy and they also help adjust the pH of the vagina.

Vaginal moisturizers come in gel or cream form and are put in the vagina using a tampon-shaped applicator. Others come in a solid capsule form that’s put in the vagina with a finger.

Use a vaginal moisturizer at least 3 times a week, or every other day. Put them in before bed, as they may leak out of the vagina if you’re standing, sitting, or walking. Make sure to also rub some into the external genitals (e.g. labia). Some women don’t like vaginal moisturizers because at first they can increase vaginal discharge. The amount of discharge often decreases after the first 2 weeks, so it’s important to give them a chance to start working. This means the wall of the vagina is shedding old tissue and it’s being replaced with healthier tissue. If you get a burning feeling from one product, try a different brand. A study was done of women in menopause that used Replens. After 12 weeks of regular use, their vaginas were like women who were taking estrogen. Replens made their vaginas moister, stretchier, and less acidic.

Things to Think About

  • It’s a good idea to try a vaginal moisturizer for at least 3 weeks before you decide to stop. You have to use it every day or every other day for it to work. Just using it once in a while won’t work.
  • You can buy vaginal moisturizers over the counter without a prescription. They cost about $20 to $30 a month.
  • Women who have severe vaginal dryness and discomfort may want to use a vaginal moisturizer regularly and a water-based lubricant for sex.
  • After 12 weeks of regular use of moisturizers, the vagina becomes more moist, less acidic, and has more stretch, much like women taking estrogen.
  • If you get a burning feeling from one product, try a different brand.
  • It takes up to 3 months to get the full effect of the product.​​

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