Other than perhaps CBD oil, no other substance has received more headlines claiming super-healing powers than coconut oil. Dermatologists swear by its moisturizing powers, and health gurus proclaim its superiority to other oils in the kitchen. We know it’s excellent on your dry elbows and your sweet potatoes, but is it also good for your vagina?

While there are no current studies on using it specifically on the vaginal skin, women’s health professionals have found it effective for treating several kinds of vaginal issues:

  • Vaginal dryness. Commonly caused by menopause, breast feeding, stress, chronic infections, and medications, vaginal dryness can make intercourse painful. The easiest solution? Lubrication, and one of the best lubricants is coconut oil (yes, the same coconut oil that you use for cooking). Massaging a small amount into the vaginal opening before intercourse can reduce friction and pain (you can also reapply the oil after intercourse if you have burning or soreness afterward). And, bonus: If you are sheepish about buying KY at the store, using coconut oil saves you the embarrassment, as you only need to make a trip to kitchen. Keep in mind, though – since coconut oil is oil-based, it can break down latex, which means that it cannot be used with condoms.
  • Vulvar issues. For patients with chronic yeast infections, lichen sclerosis or vulvodynia (chronic pain of the vulva), coconut oil can also provide some relief form itching and burning sensations. Most patients find coconut oil very soothing. I recommend applying a generous amount to labia twice a day in these setting.
  • Herpes outbreak or other types of labial sores. For women with herpes or other sores or wounds (such as postpartum lacerations), coconut oil can form a protective barrier to prevent the acidity of urine from causing pain when it hits the affected area during urination. Let me clarify: coconut oil is not going to CURE any infections like herpes or yeast, but it seems to help reduce some of the discomfort their symptoms cause.

In additional to vaginal uses, coconut oil also is recommended by my lactation consultant for nipple soreness. My athlete patients also use coconut oil on their nipples to prevent chaffing. And some of my postoperative C-section patients find that coconut oil tends to reduce the appearance of the scarring.

While studies on coconut oil are sparse when it comes to the vagina, the dermatology data is reassuring, and the risk of using it is almost nonexistent. So, if you are dealing with vaginal dryness or other vulvar issues then you might stop by the kitchen and try something easy, cheap, and natural for your problem.