Silicona: El mejor lubricante para una salud vaginal óptima

Silicone: The best lubricant for optimal vaginal health

Penetrative sex is an experience in which lubrication plays a crucial role. Although the vagina can produce its own lubrication, adding an intimate lubricant can instantly enhance the experience and keep it going for as long as you want. However, the choice of lubricant not only affects its effectiveness and glide, but also its impact on vaginal health, given its contact with the vagina. And according to gynecologists, the type of lube most likely to maintain the vagina's healthy bacterial balance is one that might surprise you: silicone-based lube.

Summarizing the types of lubricants, silicone-based lubricant is one of three common categories, along with water- and oil-based lubricants. Although some people may prefer water- or oil-based options, such as choosing water-based lubricants for their compatibility with silicone sex toys or oil-based lubricants to take advantage of the calming qualities of certain types of oils, lubricants Silicone-based are considered safer for maintaining vaginal health, according to medical professionals, since they do not require preservatives.

The absence of water in silicone-based lubricants prevents the growth of bacteria in them. This means they do not need preservatives. While this is beneficial from a skin sensitivity standpoint, it is also beneficial for the vaginal microbiome and its balance.

A healthy vagina is pH balanced and slightly acidic, with a pH range of 3.8 to 4.5 (on the pH scale from 0, highly acidic, to 14, highly basic). When vaginal pH becomes unbalanced in either direction, it can negatively impact the vaginal microbiome, which in turn can allow the growth of unhealthy bacteria and infections. Additionally, disrupting the microbiome can cause an imbalance in pH, which can also lead to infections.

This is where the preservatives in lubricants come into play. Preservatives used in water-based lubricants can interfere with lactobacilli, the good bacteria that thrive in the vagina. Similarly, oil-based products, whether petroleum, coconut oil, or others, can kill these beneficial bacteria.

Because silicone-based lubricants do not contain water, they are pH neutral and do not interfere with vaginal pH.

Another advantage of silicone-based lubricants is that they are typically free of additives used to improve slip in water-based lubricants, such as glycerin, glycerol, and propylene glycol. These substances, as well as sweeteners and flavors, can increase something called osmolality, which is a measure of how much solvent is dissolved in a formula. If the osmolality of a lubricant is higher than that of the vaginal mucosa (above 380 mOsm/kg according to the World Health Organization), it can endanger vaginal cells. A lubricant with high osmolality could absorb moisture from vaginal cells, causing damage to epithelial tissue, irritation and increased susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections.

If you already have a water- or oil-based lubricant that you love and you don't experience vaginal dryness, recurring infections, or irritation, you may be fine to continue using it. However, it's important to make sure you don't leave the lubricant in the vagina or vulva after sex, to minimize any potential pH disruption. It's worth noting that different lubricants can work differently on different people, so it's not a bad idea to try a few until you find the one that works best for you.

In any type of lubricant, regardless of its base (water, oil or silicone), certain ingredients should be avoided to maintain vaginal health. It is advisable to avoid any products with fragrances, as they may contain allergens and alcohol, which can cause skin irritation and dryness. It is also important to avoid products that contain spermicides such as nonoxynol-9, which has been shown to destroy vaginal flora and increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis, as well as parabens, which can cause contact dermatitis in people with sensitive skin.

This article is not intended to offer medical advice and you should always consult a gynecologist or GP.

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