Vaginal Estradiol vs. Vaginal Lubricants

What are the key differences between these two options for relieving symptoms of vaginal dryness?

By Womaness Editors     2-Minute Read

Vaginal dryness is a common but often overlooked symptom of perimenopause and menopause that can significantly affect your quality of life. Many women turn to solutions like vaginal estradiol or over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers, but understanding the differences between these options is crucial for effectively managing your symptoms.

Vaginal estradiol, a prescription hormone replacement therapy, addresses the root cause of dryness by replenishing estrogen levels, thereby restoring your natural vaginal health over time. In contrast, lubricants and moisturizers offer temporary relief by creating a moisture barrier or enhancing lubrication during any sexual activity. This article explores both treatment options in detail, providing insights from healthcare professionals and advice on choosing the right product for your needs, whether it's for immediate comfort or for your long-term vaginal health.

Vaginal estradiol and moisturizers: What are the differences?

Vaginal estradiol is a hormonal medication that is commonly used to treat symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal dryness and irritation. It works by supplementing the low levels of estrogen in the body, which helps to restore the natural lubrication of the vagina and improve overall vaginal health.

On the other hand, vaginal lubricants or moisturizers are non-hormonal products that are used to temporarily relieve vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse or daily activities. They provide a slippery surface that can reduce friction and pain during penetration.

While both vaginal estradiol and vaginal lubricants can help alleviate symptoms of vaginal dryness, there are some key differences between the two options:

1. Vaginal estradiol is a prescription medication that requires a doctor's supervision and monitoring, as it can have potential side effects and interactions with other medications. It is also a long-term solution, as the effects of the hormone can last even after discontinuing use.

2. Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, on the other hand, are readily available over-the-counter and can be used as needed for immediate relief of symptoms. They are a more short-term solution and do not address the underlying hormonal imbalance that may be causing vaginal dryness.

    According to Dr. Anita Sadity, Functional Board-Certified Gynecologist:

    “Don't ignore vaginal dryness. This indicates the vaginal tissue has become thinner and less elastic and lubricated. The next step is feeling shards of glass in your vagina. Address ASAP with vaginal hyaluronic moisturizers, vaginal estrogen cream, or vaginal laser therapy.”

    Can you use a vaginal moisturizer and vaginal estradiol together?

    Yes, it is possible. Vaginal moisturizers can provide immediate relief for dryness and discomfort during intercourse, while vaginal estradiol works to address underlying hormonal imbalances and promote long-term vaginal health. Using both products simultaneously can help manage symptoms effectively and improve overall vaginal comfort and lubrication. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before using any new medications or products to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your individual situation.

    What types of moisturizers and lubricants should you consider?

    The type is really up to you and your preference. If you are prone to yeast infections you might want to try a water-based formulation like Daily V Soothe from Womaness or a silicon-based formula from UberLube.

    Coco Bliss, from Womaness, is a coconut oil-based moisturizer. It has more of an oily base and will last longer on the skin. Coco Bliss is great for intimacy or everyday use. 

    Ultimately, the choice between vaginal estradiol and vaginal lubricants depends on the severity of symptoms. Regardless, both are proven to be very safe and effective.