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  • Writer's pictureRani

The Impact of Lubricants on Fertility and Vaginal pH

Updated: Mar 14

When it comes to sexual health and conception, the lubricant you choose plays a pivotal role. Many are unaware of how different lubricants can influence vaginal pH and, subsequently, impact fertility. In this post, we'll explore the factors to steer clear of and the key attributes to seek in lubricants. We'll delve into their impact on vaginal pH and offer recommendations for optimal choices.

In 2012, the World Health Organization issued an Advisory Note expressing concerns about lubricant pH and osmolality. This underscores the importance of being mindful of the products we use, both in our homes and bedrooms.

Understanding Vaginal pH

The normal pH of the vagina typically ranges from 3.8 to 4.5, creating an acidic environment supporting beneficial bacteria growth while discouraging harmful pathogens. Disruptions to this delicate balance can lead to discomfort, infections, and even fertility issues.

Oil-Based Lubricants and Concerns

One drawback of oil-based lubricants is their typically higher pH, often exceeding 4.5, creating an optimal breeding ground for harmful bacteria and pathogens. Whether petroleum-based or derived from coconut oil, oil-based products can disturb the delicate balance of good bacteria.

Mineral Oil:

Studies reveal that mineral oil may limit sperm's ability to penetrate the egg, making it a less favourable choice for those trying to conceive.

Coconut Oil Concerns:

Despite its popularity, coconut oil, with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5, may disrupt the vaginal acidic environment, shifting it towards alkalinity. Additionally, coconut oil can degrade latex, heightening the risk of condom tears during intercourse.

Water-based Lubricants

While water-based lubricants are a popular choice, it's crucial to be cautious. Glycerin is often added for slipperiness, can create a breeding ground for yeast, similar to sugar. Avoiding glycerin and sorbitol in water-based lubricants is advisable, and opting for a glycerin-free or Aloe Vera-based alternative is a prudent choice.

Factors to Avoid & Be Aware Of

  • Water: Despite its common use, water is not inherently lubricating, and it can have adverse effects on sperm survival upon contact.

  • Saliva: Human saliva contains digestive enzymes that hinder sperm movement. If conception is a priority and challenges have been faced, oral sex might not be the most conducive prior to intercourse.

  • Acetate: Ingredients ending in acetate signify the presence of alcohol. Alcohol, being naturally drying, can irritate delicate skin, potentially leading to tissue damage and increasing vulnerability to infections and STIs.

  • Propylene Glycol: Widely used as a preservative in many popular lubricants, propylene glycol can be highly irritating, hinder sperm motility, and compromise sperm DNA.

Lubricants and Conception

Navigating the realm of lubricants becomes particularly crucial for couples on the path to conception. During ovulation, the cervical mucus undergoes a shift towards alkalinity, providing an ideal setting for sperm survival and motility. Sperm thrive in a slightly alkaline environment, and any disruption to this delicate pH balance can impede their journey toward the egg, impacting the likelihood of successful conception.

Technically, lubrication may not be necessary during ovulation since cervical mucus is typically at its peak, providing natural lubrication. However, if you find yourself lacking sufficient cervical mucus, this may be an aspect worth investigating (hormone imbalance?). In cases where additional lubrication is required, the choice of lubricant becomes crucial. Many commercial lubricantsare scented and oil-based which often don't align with cervical mucus and may contain hindering agents like glycerin or propylene glycol, compromising sperm motility and DNA integrity. In this scenario, avoiding water and saliva is also recommended.

Fertility-Friendly Option:

For those actively seeking to conceive, the Pre-seed lubricant is a clinically proven fertility-friendly option. It not only mirrors the pH of cervical mucus but also maintains similar salt levels. It also does not contain glycerin or propylene glycol, ensuring it neither impedes sperm motility nor compromises DNA integrity. This makes Pre-seed lubricant a reliable choice for couples aiming to optimize their chances of successful conception. Lola's Fertility Firenly Lubrianct is another potential option.

Choosing Lubricants Wisely

Silicone-Based Lubricants (Dimethicone):

  • Last longer than water-based alternatives.

  • Do not require extra sugar for slickness.

  • Suitable for monogamous couples.

Aloe Vera-based Lubricants:

  • Natural soothing agent

  • Maintains vaginal pH

  • Softens the skin

Water-Based Lubricants:

  • Compatible with latex, rubber, and plastic.

  • You need to make sure it's glycerin-free, paraben-free, and doesn't contain any of the avoidable items on the list.

Top Choices

  • glycerin-free, paraben-free, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free

  • compatible for use with latex, rubber, and plastic

  • 95% organic ingredients, and are NSF certified

  • pH balanced (4.0 – 4.4 pH)

  • I've personally used this one and liked it

  • I've personally used this one and liked it

Sutil Luxe

  • eco-certified ingredients, hypoallergenic, paraben & glycerin free

  • The pH is 4.5

Aloe Cadabra Organic

  • NSF certified - pH between 3.8 - 4.5

  • Edible & vegan 

  • Organic aloe

  • My friend and I tried this one and didn't like it.

Uberlube Luxury Lubricant

  • Vegan, cruelty-free, not organic

  • Made of pure silicone & some vit. E for smoothness

  • Not to use with silicone toys

  • Great for all kinds of sex

Woo More Play Lubricant

  • Organic Coconut Oil 

  • Edible 

Coconu Lubricant

  • Oil or water-based options

Fertility-Friendly and Trying to Conceive Options

For all my favourite up to date products be sure the check out my Favourite Product Page.

Exercise caution when considering products. For example, although Good Clean Love claims to be certified organic with a water-based formulation that is pH balanced and devoid of petrochemicals, parabens, and glycerin, an investigation by another company testing the product yielded a pH result of 4.8 (1). This indicates that the product may not truly be pH-balanced as advertised. Raising its concerns about its compatibility with vaginal health.

In conclusion, the impact of lubricant choices on sexual health and conception is paramount. This exploration has underscored the intricate connection between lubricants, vaginal pH, and fertility, providing valuable insights into what to avoid and seek in these products. The World Health Organization's concerns from 2012 emphasize the need for cautious consideration. Understanding the delicate balance of vaginal pH is crucial, and fertility-friendly options like Pre-seed lubricant offer promising solutions. The list of recommended lubricants, coupled with personal experiences, serves as a practical guide for those prioritizing overall well-being and a positive sexual experience. As we conclude, making informed choices is key, ensuring that your sexual health aligns with your body's natural balance, fostering comfort, fertility, and satisfaction.



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