Q. I am a 55-year-old female suffering from hot flashes, vaginal dryness and loss of libido. Sexual intercourse is uncomfortable. I used to look forward to making love with my husband, but it is hard to enjoy anything that hurts.

We have tried drugstore lubricants, but we are not satisfied with any of them. Any suggestions?

A. You will have to experiment with personal lubricants. What works for some couples is unacceptable for others.

One woman wrote to say that she suffered from dryness starting in her 40s:

“I tried numerous treatments, including expensive lubricants. Then I read about Corn Huskers Lotion. The results with this inexpensive hand moisturizer have been incredible.”

Others tell us that olive oil or the gel from an aloe plant can be used as vaginal lubricants. Sylk is another natural option. It contains kiwi-fruit vine extract and is available on the Web at www.sylkusa.com or by calling (866) 831-2920.

We are sending you our Guides to Female Sexuality, and to Drugs that Affect Sexuality for more information about your various concerns. You will learn about Estring, which contains small amounts of estrogen to help ease vaginal dryness.

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  1. CMM

    I’m 33 and had a partial hysterectomy at 27, and started a medication at 28 that affected libido as well as causing vaginal dryness. This is very hard, especially, at my age. My doctor recently recommended using Crisco shortening before intercourse.
    This really shocked me! I’m so embarrassed to ask this, but what products will help with the dryness & also not have a bad taste (if you catch my drift)?
    My doctor advised to not use KY, because something about it actually will cause more thinning of my vaginal walls and dryness to be worse (if that’s possible). Any advice would be most appreciated! Thanks!

  2. Lisa

    You are right in what you say about different solutions are better for different people. I tried all sorts to be honest and especially the big brands. It came down to my dryness being psychological more so than physical from a past bad experience. All is good now though and great to see you are giving great advice to women on this subject.

  3. ebm

    Check to see what the hot tub is made of, i.e. what kind of plastics, compounds, etc.
    Compare it to other hot tub mfrs. products. You may be reacting to those materials.
    Also, you can have an oxygen pool/hot tub. My friends in LA have never used chlorine, etc. and they use theirs every night before bedtime.

  4. EBC

    I am in my seventies and have suffered from vaginal dryness since a hysterectomy 15 years ago. I have used the Estring, which worked but would leave me with vaginitis. Commercial products were irritating. So far olive oil seems to be the best answer, though KY beads are helpful. Anything better?

  5. quinta

    I always have pains after intercourse due to the dryness of my vagina, i don’t know what to use. Please i need you to recommend any lubricant for me.

  6. Karen B

    Please tell us where you purchase the Oh My product.
    Also, is xoconut oil available in drug stores or groceries??

  7. LNB

    I’ve been using coconut oil for years. It melts at skin temperature. Works great, with no worries about harmful ingredients being absorbed through the tissues.

  8. JS

    Recently my husband and I got a hot tub, and due to a high level of bromine, got a chemical burn of my vaginal area. Also, even though the chemical levels are tested daily with test strips, and commercially at a local spa business, I have had a yeast infection and subsequent discharges. I used monostat-1, and after a week when the infection appeared cleared up, use of the hot tub seemed to precipitate a resurgence of the yeast infection. (The bromine level has been at a normal recommended level ever since my first usage.)
    I am not sure if the problem is the hot tub usage and many women’s intolerance to the hotter water and 10 to 15 minute soaking, or that coincidentally I had obtained the yeast infection shortly after I first started the hot tub usage. I do not have a history of yeast infections. I have used the YMCA pool and their hot tub/sauna on occasion without this problem. And my husband and I have for years soaked in our garden tub which is refilled with fresh water every time as hot as we can tolerate.
    Any comment?

  9. Sandy Hellrung

    I am interested in loss of libido and vaginal dryness. I have experienced these symptoms since my physician abruptly took me off of estrogen. My husband is patient with me. However, I also miss our sex life.

  10. S.H.

    I have found that Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream works very well for dryness during intercourse. In fact, I use it daily for dryness and the slight itching I experience vaginally.

  11. Bigi

    Oh how I used to plagued by this problem of vaginal dryness. Then I was introduced to Oh My, a water-based, sugar-free, fragrance-free, natural vaginal lubricant with hemp made originally in Canada. You need only the smallest amount and, if inserted the night before, you are still okay to go the next morning! Best of all it has no odor and feels as close to natural excretions as anything I have found.
    Contains: water, vegetable glycerin, hemp seed oil, guarana extract, ginseng extract, hydroxyethly-celluose, sodium benzoate, tetradsdium EDTA, grapefruit seed extract and damiana extract.

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