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What's the difference between vaginal moisture and lubrication?

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatry
Daily vaginal moisture is different from the lubrication of sexual arousal. The vagina normally has a certain amount of moisture in the tissues, which changes with the monthly hormonal cycle in pre-menopausal women. The most obvious change during a woman's monthly cycle is the increased moisture and clear mucus that is produced when a woman is ovulating. Some women may even feel more comfortable wearing a panty liner at that time of the month because of the amount of wetness they experience. In post-menopausal women, the vaginal tissues have less moisture because of a lack of estrogen, which supports these tissues. A daily cream with polycarbophil used daily or every other day, such as Replens, can help draw more moisture into the vaginal tissues for these post-menopausal women, but doesn't really change the vaginal tissues for pre-menopausal women.  This moisture is the way for the body to keep the mucosal tissues of the vagina healthy. It is not the same thing as natural lubrication that occurs when you reach a high and prolonged state of sexual excitement and arousal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.