This sponsored post is an opportunity for me to discuss an important topic for women living with vulvodynia and other types of chronic pelvic pain. Treating these conditions is difficult, but there are some helpful and practical steps you can take outside of your doctor’s office to find relief day-to-day. One of these is using a high-quality, natural personal lubricant, like Sylk.
Vulvodynia means chronic pain of the vulva, which research suggests is caused by hypersensitivity of vulvar nerve fibers. Vulvodynia can be generalized (cause pain everywhere in the vulva) or localized (to a specific area of the vulva). The burning pain and soreness can be constant or intermittent. Some women have provoked vestibulodynia (pain of the vestibule, or vaginal opening), which is usually felt when light pressure is applied to the area, such as when trying to have sex, when sitting down, or wearing tight pants. Other women have unprovoked vulvodynia, which means the pain is relatively constant and not related to touch or pressure, but can flare up because of sex or activities like bike riding or horseback riding. Chronic pelvic pain conditions, like vulvodynia, often overlap with other chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia, IBS, or interstitial cystitis.
A high-quality natural lubricant can help provide relief for both daily lives as well as sexual activities. Personal lubricants can provide a barrier between delicate vulvar tissue and rubbing, chafing, or friction. Many women with vulvodynia can find wearing pants or underwear uncomfortable, so regular use of a lubricant can help. Applying personal lubricant can also help with using tampons, which is often challenging for women with vulvar pain. Finally, pain during sex is a common issue for women with vulvodynia. Lubrication is essential for intimacy – both intercourse and ‘outercourse’, or foreplay because it can form a protective barrier over sensitive vulvar skin. Sylk is unique because it is the only lubricant that uses New Zealand kiwifruit vine extract. What makes this ingredient special? It yields a compound called pectin polysaccharides, which form a ‘film’ over the vulva when applied and act as a highly effective lubricant. The pectin polysaccharide film is similar to natural vaginal secretions.
Many women experience vaginal dryness, and women with chronic pelvic pain can be especially sensitive to this problem. Dryness can cycle throughout the month. It is also associated with perimenopause and menopause. Sylk is acting a moisturizer, relieving the irritation caused by dryness. Unlike many lubricants, the pH of Sylk closely matches the pH of natural vaginal secretions. Why does this matter? Vaginal pH is naturally slightly acidic, which prevents the growth of pathogens, like yeast or harmful bacteria. Sylk also contains flavonoids, isolated from grape seed extract – a type of plant nutrient that is anti-microbial and anti-allergenic. This is important for women with chronic pelvic pain, which can be exacerbated by vaginal infections.
But for all the benefits of personal lubricants, the wrong ingredients can do more harm than good. It’s hard to overstate the importance of carefully reviewing ingredients for personal care products. Many commonly available lubricants contain irritating or allergenic ingredients. For example, the chemical propylene glycol is a known irritant, and can also be found in antifreeze. A type of preservative called parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, disrupting normal endocrine function, and have been rated it as moderate-to-severely hazardous by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). That’s why it’s important to choose lubricants with gentle, all-natural ingredients, like Sylk.
When choosing a brand of personal lubricant, I think it’s important to look at the reputation of the product, as well as the ingredients. The SYLK brand has been around for 30 years internationally. It is now available in the United States as an FDA-cleared product, demonstrating its long-standing record of safety and effectiveness.
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