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 

More research is needed to confirm the efficacy of coconut oil as a lubricant and other purported benefits it can have for vaginal health. 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 consult with a healthcare provider before using it for this purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it safe to use coconut oil as a lubricant?

    Yes, but with a few precautions. Coconut oil is safe to use on your skin and should be fine to use as a vaginal lubricant. However, some women may be sensitive to coconut oil. Try it on a patch of skin before putting it on more delicate areas.

    Do not use coconut oil as a lubricant when using latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants break down latex, which can cause the condom to leak.

  • Can I use coconut oil as lubricant if I have a nut allergy?

    Most likely yes. As long as you or your partner are not allergic to coconuts, you can use coconut oil as a vaginal lubricant. Some people with tree nuts allergies may also be allergic to coconuts. If you are unsure, check with your allergist.

  • Can coconut oil soothe an itchy vulva?

    Possibly. Many women use coconut oil as lubrication to calm down an itchy vulva. Coconut oil may even help soothe itching from a yeast infection. Coconut oil has anti-fungal properties that may bring vagina flora into balance. .

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MedlinePlus. Facts about saturated fats.

  2. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 27;19(1):70. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070

  3. Geibel S. Condoms and condiments: compatibility and safety of personal lubricants and their use in Africa. J Int AIDS Soc. 2013 Jul 9;16(1):18531. doi:10.7448/IAS.16.1.18531

  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Office on Women's Health. Vaginal yeast infections.

  5. Shino B, Peedikayil FC, Jaiprakash SR, Ahmed Bijapur G, Kottayi S, Jose D. Comparison of antimicrobial activity of chlorhexidine, coconut oil, probiotics, and ketoconazole on Candida albicans isolated in children with early childhood caries: an in vitro study. Scientifica (Cairo). 2016;2016:7061587. doi:10.1155/2016/7061587

  6. Omura Y, O'Young B, Jones M, Pallos A, Duvvi H, Shimotsuura Y. Caprylic acid in the effective treatment of intractable medical problems of frequent urination, incontinence, chronic upper respiratory infection, root canalled tooth infection, ALS, etc., caused by asbestos & mixed infections of Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori & cytomegalovirus with or without other microorganisms & mercury. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2011;36(1-2):19-64. doi:10.3727/036012911803860886

By Angelica Bottaro
Angelica Bottaro is a professional freelance writer with over 5 years of experience. She has been educated in both psychology and journalism, and her dual education has given her the research and writing skills needed to deliver sound and engaging content in the health space.