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Coconut Oil for Vaginal Dryness : Benefits, Research, and Alternative Treatments

  1. Introduction

    1. What is Vaginal Dryness?

      Vaginal dryness is a condition in which the vagina lacks proper moisture and lubrication.

      Normally vaginal tissue is coated with a thin layer of clear fluid that helps in maintaining the health and elasticity of the vaginal walls. Natural lubrication is crucial for comfortable sexual activity and vaginal health. In some cases, insufficient vaginal moisture is produced leading to dryness.

      Vaginal dryness may lead to discomfort, irritation, and painful sexual intercourse. It is mostly experienced by females in menopause but can also occur due to other hormonal changes, certain medications, breastfeeding, stress, or a side effect of other treatments such as cancer treatment.

      Adequate lubrication is essential for maintaining the health and well-being of the vaginal tissues. This is why addressing vaginal dryness is important for both physical and emotional reasons.

    2. Prevalence and Potential Causes of Vaginal Dryness

      Vaginal dryness affects females of different ages. It most commonly is associated with menopause but can occur at any stage of a female’s life. It is estimated that 50% of menopausal women may experience vaginal dryness.(1)

      Potential causes of vaginal dryness include: 

      • Menopause: Hormonal change is the most commonly associated with menopause and vaginal dryness. Estrogen plays a role in maintaining the thickness and lubrication of the vaginal tissue.(5) As estrogen levels decrease during menopause vaginal dryness can occur.
      • Postpartum Period: Some females experience temporary vaginal dryness post-childbirth. This is due to hormonal fluctuation, particularly during breastfeeding. This can affect vaginal moisture levels.
      • Breastfeeding: During breastfeeding, estrogen levels can be lower leading to reduced vaginal lubrication.(6)
      • Medications: Certain medications including hormonal therapies, antidepressants, and some allergy medications can cause vaginal dryness.
      • Stress and Anxiety: Emotional stress and anxiety can affect the body’s hormonal balance, which can lead to vaginal dryness.
      • Medical Conditions: Conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and endometriosis may contribute to vaginal dryness.(7)
      • Hygiene Products and Irritant: Certain soaps, douches, or perfumed products if used in the genital area can disrupt the natural vaginal pH balance and cause dryness.
      • Lack of Arousal: Lack of sexual arousal or foreplay can lead to inadequate vaginal lubrication during intercourse.
    3. Coconut Oil and its Traditional Uses

      Coconut oil is a naturally derived oil that is versatile and widely used. It is a staple in traditional medicine, cuisine, and cosmetic products in various cultures.

      It is extracted through different methods, but the most common method includes cold-pressing or expeller-pressing the coconut meat to obtain the oil. 

      Traditional uses of coconut oil include:(8)

      • It is used for cooking and culinary purpose
      • It is used in traditional medicine for different types of ailments. It can be applied to the skin, massaged on hair, and can also be ingested for therapeutic purposes.
      • It is also a good option for a natural moisturizer for the skin. It can soothe dry and irritated skin, and help retain moisture.
      • Oil pulling is an ancient oral hygiene practice in which the person swishes coconut oil in the mouth to remove bacteria.
      • It is known to be useful for lubrication purposes.
      • It makes an excellent massage oil and can be used for relaxation and promoting skin health.
      • It is a common ingredient in soaps and other cosmetic products.
  2. Coconut Oil for Vaginal Dryness

    Coconut oil has garnered attention as a potential remedy for vaginal dryness. Studies indicate its safety for topical application and its efficacy as a moisturizer. Many individuals have turned to it to alleviate vaginal discomfort and enhance comfort during intercourse. For instance, a study involving 1021 females revealed that 66% utilized a personal lubricant. While coconut oil is praised for its natural moisturizing properties, understanding its full range of benefits and potential limitations is crucial before considering it as a solution for vaginal dryness. 

    • Moisturizing Effect: Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids including medium-chain fatty acids. This can be helpful in retaining moisture and improving the hydration of vaginal tissues. It may help reduce dryness and related discomfort.
    • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Coconut oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which can prove to be beneficial for soothing irritated vaginal tissues and reducing discomfort.
    • Anti-Microbial Properties: There is lauric acid present in coconut oil which has antimicrobial properties. This can be helpful in maintaining healthy vaginal microbial balance and reducing the risk of infections that may be causing vaginal dryness.
    • Natural Lubricant: The smooth texture of coconut oil can make it a smooth lubricant during sexual intercourse. However, it should be known that oil-based lubricants can weaken latex condoms and increase the risk of condom breakage.(9)
    • Organic and Chemical-Free Option: Coconut oil is a pure, organic, and unrefined natural alternative to some lubricants.

    Before using coconut oil for vaginal dryness, a person should check it for any allergic reaction and its interaction with the contraceptive used. Also, if vaginal dryness persists, a healthcare professional should be consulted.

  3. Review of research on Coconut Oil for Vaginal Dryness

    A study was conducted in which virgin coconut oil was used as an over-the-counter treatment for vaginal dryness and dyspareunia. It was observed that virgin coconut oil in paste form provided significant relief and can likely be a useful and cost-effective alternative for females who are hesitant to utilize estrogen-containing therapies.(3)

    In a study, coconut oil has been found to be effective on the skin of children with atopic dermatitis.(4) The participants of the study applied coconut oil twice on the skin after bathing.

    Researchers have found coconut oil to be a good treatment for dryness because of its moisturizing and antibacterial properties, its wide availability, and its role as a barrier.

    Applying coconut oil can be safe to be applied onto the external skin. There is anecdotal evidence of its internal use being beneficial, but before starting to use it internally a doctor should be consulted.

  4. Alternative Treatment Options for Vaginal Dryness

    Vaginal dryness has several alternative treatment options. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before going ahead with any of the following. 

    • Water-Based Lubricants: These are formulated to mimic natural vaginal moisture. These provide temporary relief from dryness during sexual activity and can be easily washed off. These can be safely used with latex condoms.
    • Vaginal Moisturizers: These need to be applied regularly to the vaginal area to maintain moisture and hydration over time. These differ from lubricants but are meant for long-term use and are known to provide continuous relief from dryness.
    • Hydration and Diet: Staying well hydrated can have a positive impact on the moisture levels of the vagina. Along with this consuming a well-balanced diet can be helpful in supporting vaginal health.
    • Hormone Replacement Therapy: Females experiencing vaginal dryness can find hormone replacement therapy as an effective option. It involves taking estrogen to help alleviate menopausal symptoms including vaginal dryness.
    • Avoiding Irritants: Avoid using soaps, douches, and perfumed products in the genital area as these can disrupt the natural pH balance and contribute to dryness and irritation.
    • Pelvic Floor Exercises: Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through exercises like Kegels can be helpful in improving the blood flow to the vaginal region.
    • Over-The-Counter Vaginal Moisturizers and Gels: These can help relieve vaginal dryness and discomfort.
    • Regular Sexual Activity: Engaging in regular sexual activity can promote blood flow to the vaginal area and help maintain vaginal health.


Coconut oil offers potential benefits as a natural remedy for vaginal dryness, including its moisturizing properties and anti-inflammatory effects. However, individuals should exercise caution due to possible allergies and the oil’s ability to weaken latex condoms. As with all remedies, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before making decisions about vaginal health.

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 16, 2023

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