Coconut Oil and Vaginal Health

Coconut oil has been used as a treatment for yeast infection, a lubricant to alleviate vaginal dryness, and a natural remedy to ease the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. However, there is a lack of research that shows these uses of coconut oil are safe or even effective.

Coconut oil with fresh coconut half on wooden plate

AshaSathees Photography / Getty Images

What Is Coconut Oil? 

Coconut oil is derived from coconut fruits, specifically from their wick, meat, and milk. It is a white, solid-fat, edible oil that melts only if the temperature reaches 77 degrees Fahrenheit and above. It transforms into a clear liquid oil that is thin and clear when it's melted.

Is Coconut Oil Healthy?

Although coconut oil contains some healthy fats, it isn’t the superfood that many people have claimed it to be. Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat. Eating too much saturated fat has been linked to heart disease and obesity.

Coconut Oil As Lubrication

All women experience vaginal dryness at some point in their lives. It can be caused by aging, medications, or a change in hormones. When this happens, it can cause pain during sexual intercourse. In these cases, lubricants can help.

Lubricant refers to any substance that can be safely used to help decrease the friction that occurs during intercourse. Although many types of lubricants are designed specifically for use in these situations, some people have opted to use natural products for this purpose, such as coconut oil.

Studies have shown that coconut oil is safe to use as a moisturizer, which has led to the belief that it is also safe to use as a lubricant. However, there is limited research on how safe and effective coconut oil is when it's used as a lubricant. Therefore, anyone looking to use coconut oil as a lubricant should do so with caution.

Coconut Oil and Condom Use

Coconut oil should not be used in combination with latex condoms because this can lead to lower effectiveness of the condom and increase the risk of the condom breaking. Condoms should only be used with water-based lubricants.

Coconut Oil and Yeast

Yeast infections are incredibly common. It’s estimated that at least 75% of women will experience one at some point in their lives, with close to 50% experiencing more than one.

Coconut oil is one natural product that people have used to treat their yeast infection. Recent research suggests that because of the antimicrobial and antifungal effects of the substance, it may be an effective home remedy for this fungal infection. One in vitro study found that coconut oil has similar efficacy to that of the antifungal medication ketoconazole for treating yeast infections.

How Does Coconut Oil Kill Yeast?

Coconut oil can help kill Candida, the yeast responsible for yeast infections, because of its medium-chain fatty acid, called caprylic acid. It helps infiltrate the cell of the yeast and rupture its cell walls, killing the cells and reducing the growth of the fungus, as shown in one in vitro study.

A Word From Verywell 

Yeast infections are uncomfortable, but they are typically harmless if they are treated. Using coconut oil as a way to treat a yeast infection could maybe help, but science does not support this product as a safe alternative to antifungal medications. You should therefore use it sparingly for this purpose. More research is needed to confirm the efficacy of coconut oil as a lubricant and other purported benefits it can have for vaginal health.

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