Your Favorite Lube Might Make You More Susceptible To STDs
Here at Galore, we believe that lube is the answer to all your problems. Got a guy with a big dick? Have some lube. Trying to have anal? Have some lube. Need something for your summer slip and slide? Have some lube!
Unfortunately, not all lubes are created equal. It turns out that some over the counter lubes may be fucking with your vagina’s pH and making you more susceptible to STDs, according to Wendy Strgar, founder of Good Clean Love. We talked to Wendy about how lube can be detrimental to your balance “down there,” how to fix it, and what type of lube is safe for all of your orgasmic endeavors.
You’ve said that many lubricants can cause genital tissue damage, what exactly does this mean? Does this apply to both men and women?
The vast majority of OTC personal lubricants are made with heavily concentrated petrochemicals, too concentrated for some of the most sensitive tissue in the body. The protective top layer of vaginal lining cells break down and slough off as the fluid in the cells are extracted. This condition is referred to as hyper-osmolal, and is strongly associated with other negative outcomes including the alkalization of the protective acidic pH of the vagina as well as a significant dilution of the lactobacilli which provides immune defense in the vagina. The effects are measurable in the vagina, although men have also reported irritation from the heavily concentrated petrochemicals.
You’ve also said that OTC lubricants can lead to bacterial vaginosis, is this similar to a UTI or yeast infection? If not, how is it different? Why does it make women more susceptible to STDs?
A single use of OTC heavily concentrated petrochemical lubricants has been associated in multiple studies with up to a 13 times increased risk of Bacterial Vaginosis. Women often confuse BV with yeast infections, although the prevalence of BV infection rates is much higher than candida. The difference between these infections is that Candida happens from an overgrowth of fungus, whereas BV is an overgrowth of bad bacteria. Whereas Candida often has tell tale symptoms of burning and itching, BV goes undiagnosed 84% of the time. Most often women can identify BV as an off, “fishy” odor in the vagina and sometimes has a grayish color discharge, but is often asymptomatic. Unfortunately, many women exacerbate BV by treating the unpleasant odor with more petrochemical washes or douches. Undiagnosed BV is like walking around with a bacteria party, not unlike when you have a low grade sore throat. Although in the vagina there aren’t the same nerve sensors to indicate something is off.
Women with BV infections have 60% higher risk of other more serious STD infections and HIV as well as a three times higher risk of infecting their partners. BV may also increase the risk of urinary tract infections, although the relationship between these infections has yet to be clarified.
If women do contract bacterial vaginosis, how will they know? How should they treat it?
Bacterial vaginosis is for many women episodic, in which their vaginal flora goes in and out of balance.
An elevated pH level is a sure sign of a BV flare up because an alkaline vaginal pH provides the ideal environment for bad bacteria to flourish. Physicians can diagnose BV and provide the standard course of antibiotic gel, but in over 75% of cases, the BV infection returns within 60 days, because the antibiotic kills not only the bad bacteria but also the protective lacto bacilli.
Restore gel provides a healthy alternative which bio matches the healthiest vaginal conditions by creating an environment where healthy lactobacilli can thrive. Regular use of Restore gel along with the sister product, Balance wash helps maintain the healthiest genital conditions, inside and out.
How does Good Clean Love work differently than typical OTC lubricants?
Good Clean Love’s organic personal lubricants are designed to work with your body, mimicking our natural lubricating response. There are many reasons throughout a woman’s life cycle that our natural lubricating response becomes compromised including childbearing, peri and post menopause, and even every day stress. Good Clean Love’s water based lubricants contain soothing aloe vera gel, a plant renowned for its healing qualities. Combined with natural tree gum and seaweed, Good Clean Love lubricant mimics the viscosity, glide and feel of the mucosal fluids women naturally produce. Our lubricant just feels like adding a little bit more of you.