Suppose you’re a GoLover, and you follow our blog closely. In that case, you already know that some intimate lubes contain ingredients that most likely do not agree with your delicate vaginal environment. Recently we have talked about how these can affect your vagina’s natural acid pH and disrupt its microflora’s healthy balance. As a result, yeast thrives, and infections may occur.
Besides that, most vulva owners have an anatomic disadvantage: their urethra is shorter than those with penises, and it’s close to the vaginal opening and anus. This means that it is easier for bacteria to enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract, especially when you are having sex, where these are physically pushed into the genitourinary system.
Now, mix this anatomical predisposition, a non-vagina-friendly lubricant, and sexual activity. What you got is the perfect storm for a UTI. Research has shown that between 50% and 60% of adult women will have at least one UTI in their lives, and close to 10% of postmenopausal women indicate they had a UTI in the previous year . These numbers aren't great, right?
That being said, you might be wondering: Could your favorite lube be causing you a urinary infection? Let’s dig a little deeper into this question.
Can Certain Lubes Cause UTI?
For every occasion and purpose, there’s a different lubricant. These come in various base types such as water, silicone, oil, or hybrid. Not all are safe, and in fact, some of them are bigger triggers for UTI's.
If you’re curious about what’s actually in lubes, you’re not alone. Because lubricants aren’t FDA-regulated, there’s a lot of controversy about using ingredients that are actually irritating or may even affect your health. Some companies have designed lubricants without using truly body-safe ingredients.
Sadly, choosing the incorrect lube can turn your vagina into a favorable environment for pathogenic bacteria to thrive, such as E. coli, the causative agent of 90% of all UTIs. Join us as we take a closer look.
Can Water-based Lube Cause UTI?
Water-based lubes are the best ones for avoiding UTI. Since these mimic your natural lubrication, they keep your genitals in tip-top shape while keeping your vaginal flora intact.
Usually enhanced with natural ingredients, water-based lubes help prevent UTIs by soothing your skin and reducingfriction during intercourse.
Additionally, water-based lube is safe to use with sex toys and condoms, so you can feel free to experiment just how you like it. Not all water-based lubes are created equal, so be careful when choosing one as some contain glycerin, promoting vaginal yeast infections. Also, be sure to check that the label says pH balanced.
On the other hand, these kinds of lubes can dry out quicker than others, but just add a little bit of water to reactivate. You can also simply reapply, but we invite you to keep reading below if water-based isn't right for you.
Can Silicone Lube Cause UTI?
Perfect for extended, safe intercourse, Silicone-based lubes help you stay wet for longer periods so that you keep going and going. Since these form a long-lasting slippery barrier, they reduce friction against the skin,which can sometimes irritate the urethra and introduce bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.
Moreover, they are hypoallergenic and have an acidic pH, much like your vagina. But silicone-based lubes may not be the best choice for people using silicone sex toys, as they can break down the rubber over time.
Due to how silicone molecules react with other silicone products, these kinds of lubes can change the toy’s structure. They will degrade and deteriorate your silicone toy’s surface while harboring bacteria that can make their way into your urethra, possibly leading to infection.
Can Flavored Lube Cause UTI?
We know what you think. Introducing flavored lubes to your sex play is an to make oral sex taste better and enhance pleasure. However, some brands contain sugar (glucose), which is the primary food source for yeast cultures.
These kinds of lubes cause vaginal pH imbalance and upset your vagina’s microflora, disrupting its natural bacterial defenses. Therefore, it aggravates and irritates the vulvar and vaginal skin, promoting vaginal dryness, making you susceptible to developing UTI and thrush. Make sure you buy glycerin-free & sugar-free options if you choose to go the flavored lube route.
Can Expired Lube Cause UTI?
Suppose you purchased a bottle of lube some time ago, but it hasn't seen a lot of action lately. Before you reach for the bottle you've had tucked in your nightstand for months or perhaps years, did you check the expiration date?
Even though the risks of using expired lubrication have not been well studied, the chemicals in that lubricant you’ve been keeping for three years or more could potentially give you an allergic skin reaction, especially if it’s silicone or oil-based lube.
Unfortunately, it could cause itching and burning, which can most likely lead you to a UTI, Bacterial Vaginosis, or Vaginal Candidiasis. Besides, a lubricant that has already expired can tear your condoms, increasing the chances of getting an STI (sexually transmitted infection).
So, if the expiration date on the bottle has passed, or you notice a change in the smell or consistency, it's just best to toss it. Who knew stock piling lube was a bad idea, right? Next time buy a bottle size that you are likely to spend in a year or less.
Can Using Lotion as Lube Cause a UTI?
Lotions and creams are often thought of as an ideal lube alternative to spice things up in the bedroom, but just because it says moisturizing doesn’t mean it can be used as a lubricant. Many of us have been guilty of this, but lotions are not designed for internal use, and you should be aware of that.
They could affect the vagina’s pH and irritate, especially if they are scented products. If you’ve read this far, then you know that irritation means potential urinary tract infection, we've been shouting it from the rooftops. Moreover, some lotions and soaps contain preservatives, such as parabens, which can cause hormonal imbalance.
Please be careful before trying this out, even if the product is mild or perfume-free. It’s better to use lotions as they were intended to be and not for below-the-belt lubrication.
Can Coconut Oil as Lube Cause UTI?
Virgin coconut oil is highly known for containing anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties. Besides, the pleasant smell and taste of coconut make this natural oil a suitable lube alternative.
However, like oil-based lubes, it can deteriorate condoms, so avoid using it with latex barrier methods of contraception. Also be aware that the antibacterial qualities of coconut oil could upset the natural vaginal flora. It can also clog pores, which could cause skin irritation for some people.
Can Using Spit as Lube Cause UTI?
Caution here! You might think that because saliva plays a part in oral sex, it’s a good and safe lube alternative when trying to “get things wet”. However, the sad truth is saliva contains digestive enzymes that could be dangerous to the ecosystem of the sexual organ.
The bacteria in the saliva are different from those in the vagina. Its introduction to the reproductive organ could upset your vagina microbiome, leaving you susceptible to developing a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
Using spit as lube could put you at risk. Besides, itonly provides a thin barrier that could lead to painful sex due to inadequate lubrication, especially over long sessions, and anal sex. You could pass or receive a sexually transmitted infection like herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Anyone could transmit any active STI in the throat or mouth to someone’s genitals through saliva. This is the most common way genital herpes is contracted, even if a cold sore isn't visibly present.
Research that studied intercourse between males suggested that those who use saliva as a lubricant could spread gonorrhea . Additionally, a 2003 study, which looked for Candida transmission, also highlights that saliva might cause vaginal yeast infections.
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