Blog


  • October 06, 2016
  • by Amanda Savage under 
  • Wellbeing, White Pharmacy, Intimate Wellbeing
  • When you are busy with a newborn baby, sex can drop quite low on your ‘to do’ list. If it isn’t even comfortable when you do find the moment, it is all too easy to lose the intimacy in your adult relationship. There are some simple but effective things you can do yourself, straight away, to improve your comfort and enjoyment.

    First, commit to a couple of weeks of daily pelvic floor exercises to bring about proper change in these muscles. The pelvic floor muscles play a really important role in giving you a sense of closure around your partner as well as support and friction to create your own pleasurable sensations. Taking time out to deliberately exercise the pelvic floor muscles will bring blood flow to the area, tone and tighten the muscles and improve your ability to feel the walls of the vagina during sex.

    A great time to exercise your pelvic floor

    A great time to remember to do pelvic floor exercises is when you clean your teeth.  Even busy new mothers, who might not have brushed their hair or had a shower, remember to clean their teeth!  With the mirror to tell you if you are pulling too many faces, first stand still and focus on the pelvic floor muscles, which are the soft muscular tissue around the opening of the bladder, bowel and vagina.  A pelvic floor squeeze is when you pull up around the back passage (like stopping wind) as well as the vaginal/bladder opening (like stopping a wee).

    Begin with 10 really good strong squeezes of the pelvic floor muscles in a row, focusing on making every squeeze a good one. Then while you are cleaning your teeth try to combine a light hold of your pelvic floor at the same time. Perfect mum-multitasking!  You will find you can only hold the pelvic floor contraction for a few seconds to start but with practice you might manage the whole of the top row before you fatigue!

    If you are a gadget kind of girl, you would enjoy working with a pelvic floor exerciser or tracker device. These clever inventions typically include a probe that goes in the vagina then attach to a handheld device which monitors your squeezes before your eyes.  Great for stopping you getting distracted from the task in hand, keeping track of your exercise sessions and boosting your confidence as you see yourself improving at the tasks.

    Elvie

    If you feel that you are not making progress with your pelvic floor exercises by yourself, do ask your GP to refer you for a full assessment by your local NHS Women’s Health physiotherapy team or contact the Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy Professional Network to find a private physiotherapist near to you (www.pogp.csp.org.uk)

    Do also consider adding a personal lubricant to your bedside table drawer. The hormone changes of pregnancy and breastfeeding can leave your body surprisingly dry at the vaginal opening and deeper inside. When you are trying to grab a quick sexy moment, with maybe less time than usual to get in the mood, you can be caught out by the movement of your partner inside you feeling like a friction burn, and making you more and more sore as you continue. Using a personal lubricant during your foreplay (it works best if you put it on both of you) can make a magical transformation to your comfort and enjoyment.

    YES Water Based LubricantSylk Lubricant

    Personal lubricants sometimes require a sense of humour in their application but there are now many nicer options than the medical stuff you come across at a smear test.   Look for a product with natural and organic ingredients, like YES or Sylk. It is important to ensure that they are pH balanced to the normal vaginal pH of between 3.8pH and 4.5pH. Lubricants with a higher pH are too alkaline and can lead to UTIs, Thrush and Bacterial Vaginosis. Lubricants can be water-based or oil-based, though do be aware that only water-based lubricants can be used with condoms.

    White Pharmacy, who are a trusted online pharmacy, offer a great selection of quality products.

    They can offer you further help and advice, and pride themselves on their excellent customer service.

    If you are still experiencing discomfort after boosting your pelvic floor muscles and trying a personal lubricant don’t hesitate to talk to your GP. They will be impressed that you have already tried these first steps and they will be able to move on to other investigations of the causes of your pain. You can and will enjoy comfortable sex again - but you must be brave to let them know that you are suffering.


    Amanda Savage is a Physiotherapist who specialises in exercise and manual therapy techniques to help with pelvic floor problems. She works from South Cambridge Physiotherapy, in Cambridge, and has recently launched a friendly website www.supportedmums.com to guide new mothers on how to care for their abdominal & pelvic floor muscles after giving birth.
    Amanda Savage - Blog Author
  • October 05, 2016
  • by Dr Philip under 
  • Wellbeing, White Pharmacy, Intimate Wellbeing
  • When it comes to sex, sometimes we need a little help making things go, well, smoothly.  Enter lubricants, also known as “personal lubricants” or, colloquially, “lube”.  Lubricant can make intercourse more comfortable for women with vaginal dryness.  It also helps for women who do not naturally moisten when aroused.  Lubricant also makes it easier – and more pleasurable – to use condoms, a must for protecting against sexually transmitted diseases.

    YES Water Based Lubricant

    A 2014 Indiana University study (Ref. 1) found that 65% of women have used lubricant to make sex more comfortable, more pleasurable, or both. And in a survey of gay men in San Francisco who have anal intercourse, 89% said they always use lubricant during sex. However, despite lubricants’ ubiquity and mostly benign reputation, research in the last several years has raised questions about the safety of some products - especially for certain groups of users. So here is what you need to know about the potential problems and how to protect yourself if you’re choosing and using lubricant.

    How safe are lubricants?

    Conventional wisdom has held that lubricant reduces the chance of sexually transmitted infections by making the vaginal or anal area more slippery, thus cutting down on the risk of tiny tears that promote the transmission of infectious agents. But a 2012 report (Ref. 2) in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseasesfound that men and women who had used lubricants for anal intercourse in the previous month were actually more likely to test positive for gonorrhoea or chlamydia than those who had anal sex without lube. The authors proposed that the observed increased risk may have been because the lubricants caused inflammation of the anus and rectum, making it easier for organisms to spread.

    In addition, a 2014 lab study in the journal Pharmaceutics tested 12 lubricants sold in Europe (including popular brands such as K-Y Jelly and Replens) and found that some of them might alter the pH balance of the vagina, which in theory could increase the risk of certain vaginal infections. (The study didn’t look at infection rates, just at the chemical composition of the lubricants). And a UCLA study published in 2013 found that women who used petroleum jelly or baby oil as a lubricant were especially likely to end up with bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection. So much for pleasure. None of these studies definitely establishes that sexual lubricants directly cause any type of infection but it makes sense, therefore, to stick with the medically endorsed products such as YES and Sylk which are available via White Pharmacy.

    Sylk Lubricant

    The studies do however underscore the importance of using condoms, which are the surest way to prevent STDs (other than abstinence or a monogamous relationship with a monogamous partner).

    Other lubricant caveats

     Even if infection isn’t a concern, commercial lubricants can contain ingredients that could cause irritation or allergic reactions in some people. Particularly common culprits include “numbing” lubricants that contain benzocaine a topical anaesthetic and “warming” lubricants which may feature menthol or capsaicin (the same ingredient in hot peppers). As in other skin products, lubricants that include fragrance or flavouring ingredients may irritate sensitive skin. Other potential irritants include the antibacterial agent chlorhexidine (in K-Y jelly), propylene glycol, glycerine and possibly more importantly a group of preservatives called parabens (often listed as methy-, butyl-, ethyl-, and propyl – paraben).

    There is a growing concern about chemicals in personal products and their possible effects. You can determine if you’re sensitive to a given product by dabbing a bit on the inside of your elbow and waiting a day to make sure no redness occurs. If you have an unusual reaction to a new lubricant, stop using it.

    Two other caveats: Oil-based lubricants can degrade latex and should never be used with latex condoms. That includes natural lubricants like mineral oil and baby oil as well as commercial oil-based products.

    YES Oil Based Lubricant

    Finally, there’s preliminary evidence that certain water-based lubricants, including Astroglide and several K-Y products, might decrease sperm motility, though there isn’t evidence that people who use them have lower rates of pregnancy.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, there are a bewildering number of moisturizing and personal products available. A great many of the “supermarket”/OTC purchased lubricants contain various synthetic chemical ingredients. Ideally, an intimacy product should be free of all known skin irritants and be highly effective.  On this basis White Pharmacy are happy to offer the range of YES and Sylk personal lubricants - all pure, high-performing products which enhance rather than compromise your intimate health.

    References:

    1. Women’s use and perceptions of commercial lubricants

      Herbenick, D. et al

      Jl. Sex. Med. 2014

    2. The Slippery Slope: lubricant use and rectal STIs – a newly identified risk.

      P M Gorback, et al

      Sex.Trans.Dis 2012

    3. Characterization of Commercially Available Vaginal Lubricants: a Safety Perspective.

      A R Cunha, et al

      Pharmaceutics 2014


    Philip J Toplis has been in NHS and private medical practice as a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Surrey/Hampshire since 1986. He qualified at Bristol University and underwent further training in general surgery and gynaecology at Queen Charlotte’s, Guys and Charing Cross Hospitals, London, the John Radcliffe, Oxford and MD Anderson, Houston, Texas. His sub-speciality expertise includes the investigation and treatment of urinary problems, management of abnormal cervix smears, hormone replacement therapy and menstrual problems. Philip holds Fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons of and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He is married with three children and one grandchild. In his spare time he is a charity fundraiser, struggling to become competent at golf and keeping the garden tidy.

    Phiip Toplis - Blog Author