Q. I stopped using estrogen last summer, but now I am suffering with vaginal dryness. This is causing me a lot of discomfort and is making relations with my husband difficult.
I remember reading in your column that one woman said she is using olive oil for this problem. Does she ingest it, or does she use it directly in her vagina?

A. She applied the olive oil directly as a personal lubricant. When she had a pelvic exam some months later her doctor thought she was taking hormones because of the difference olive oil made.
We can’t explain why olive oil would make such a difference to vaginal tissues, but others have shared a similar story:
Q. I read about olive oil improving a woman’s sex life. Vaginal dryness is the only symptom I have ever suffered due to menopause. My gynecologist has recommended almost everything, including the topical application of Vitamin E oil, but it left a distinctive residue after intercourse, which I found to be very undesirable.
I love olive oil and use it in my daily cooking. It has a distinctive smell, though, and I don’t care to smell like an antipasto salad for any length of time.
The vaginal dryness is playing havoc with our love life, because intercourse is painful. I try not to let my husband know that. I love sex, but it’s difficult to enjoy anything that hurts. I am willing to try olive oil, but just how do you get rid of the residue?

A. We’ve heard from several readers that olive oil can be a good natural lubricant. One woman reported that just five drops for her and five for her husband worked. Such a small quantity should not leave much “antipasto” residue.
Another couple found that almond oil was helpful. It has relatively little aroma.
Then there is this:
Q. I am a 63-year-old woman who had estrogen-positive breast cancer 10 years ago. I had bilateral mastectomies, no chemo or radiation.
Now I am extremely estrogen deprived and cannot have sex because of the pain from vaginal dryness. My doctor will not prescribe estrogen to help with this problem because it might increase my risk of cancer recurrence. Is there some other way to treat these atrophic changes?

A. Applying a lubricant such as olive oil or coconut oil daily may be helpful. For intercourse, you might want to consider a water-based lubricant such as Sylk. It contains kiwi-fruit vine extract and is available on the Web at www.sylkusa.com or by calling (866) 831-2920.
There are those who also sing the praises of coconut oil:
• Coconut Oil for Vaginal Dryness

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  1. margret k.
    Reply

    I am grateful and I’m willing to give it a try.

  2. karen s.
    Reply

    I use mineral oil works EVERYTIME!!!

  3. BB
    Reply

    I have been suffering from painful intercourse since menopause – I am 65. I am beginning to wonder if it is not the actual dryness that is bothering me thinking that perhaps the pain is caused by the pressure on the edge of the perineum where the stitches after childbirth were. Any one else have pain there? Any solutions? I am using coconut oil, and olive oil but not much change yet and frankly, the darn thing just won’t go in! Anyone think that castor oil might help? Thanks

  4. ljh
    Reply

    Replens does not work for me. I want to try olive oil and coconut oil but have 3 questions. How to apply, how much, and how often?
    Thank you!

  5. K.L.
    Reply

    To the person who wondered about getting breast cancer again if there has already been a double mastectomy. I’m currently undergoing breast cancer treatment. I had a lumpectomy but you can have a recurrence with a mastectomy in the chest wall.

  6. KJK
    Reply

    The thing that works for me is Replens long-lasting vaginal moisturizer. You apply it 3 or so times a week with an applicator (no mess) and you are good to go anytime. It’s made with mineral oil- (same as baby oil; check ingredients)- some of these moisturizers are made with a silicone-type chemical instead. A little Ky can be used with this at time of intimacy if needed.

  7. B
    Reply

    We have been using olive oil for lubrication for some time now and it is great. It is better than any off the shelve lube that we have tried and it lasts a long time unlike many of the other popular lubrications which tend to dry up after several minutes. The consistency is very close to the natural lubrication and as far as we know there are no side affects with using olive oil.

  8. JWM
    Reply

    My wife an I have found regular cooking oil, Mazola corn oil, to be a great lubricant, and never had a problem with it. I put it on me, not her, although either or both should be OK.

  9. ck
    Reply

    My gyn mentioned Crisco, olive oil and personal lubricants sold OTC at drugstores. Try one at a time; sooner or later you’ll find the one that works for you. Good luck.

  10. JEM
    Reply

    I have found Apricot Kernal oil to be very effective. It is very light and won’t stain. Although Apricot Kernal oil has no “aroma”, I will add a drop of lavendar extract sometimes. Also works great as a massage oil and moisturizer.

  11. JM
    Reply

    In search of an organic lubricant, I began using olive oil & highly recommend it. It’s nice that it’s ingestible, too.

  12. Fannie
    Reply

    I’m 65 years old and had to see my doctor for dryness and bleeding use olive oil and have no more dryness or bleeding.

  13. Cindy B.
    Reply

    I, too, had that exact same problem after the “Dreadful M” thing.. I started taking Hyaluronic Acid after reading how good it was for lubricating joints from the inside out (I have bad knees), and for moisturizing the skin. Hyaluronic acid is usually taken orally, in capsule form, but I think there are also topical preparations. I take it orally. The package directions say to take “2 to 4 capsules daily,” and I take the 4. Yes, it’s a bit pricey but not unreasonable.
    Well, not only has hyaluronic acid helped my knees a lot — it’s also given me much more vaginal moisture! That was a wonderful fringe benefit! You may still need some lubricant — but it does make a world of difference. At least it did for me.
    PS: RE the 63-yo lady who had breast CA but bilateral mastectomies: how could she get a recurrence of breast cancer with no breasts? Or does having had ANY cancer give you a greater chance of getting some other cancer, and THAT’s what her doctor was worried about? I’m just wondering…

  14. Jean S.
    Reply

    Did you not also recommend Corn Huskers hand lotion as a good lubricant?

  15. ark
    Reply

    This should help lots of couples for intimacy. Thanks.

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