Private Lubrication – What You Do not Know About Osmolarity Could Be Hurting You

Osmolarity is greater than a tough phrase to say rapidly, thrice in a row.

A chemist or a biologist would in all probability outline osmolarity as a measurement of the overall quantity of chemical substances dissolved in a liquid, cream, lotion or gel. Said in a barely completely different method, osmolarity is the general part focus of a liquid.

Osmolarity happens to assist produce an equilibrium, when a substance in an answer (equivalent to a fluid) crosses a membrane from an space of decrease focus to an space of upper focus. As nicely, osmolarity is typically additionally known as osmolality. Options containing the identical focus of particles are mentioned to be iso-osmotic or (isotonic).

The medical group should concentrate on the osmolarity of a variety of fluids, as a result of for instance, placing fluids into the blood that aren’t isotonic with blood could have profoundly unfavorable impression. Whereas fluids which can be isotonic or iso-osmotic with blood, could enter the physique and stay there in concord.

Blood osmolarity is often between 275 to 295, urine can vary from 50 to 1200, however after 12 to 14 hour fluid restriction this quantity ought to be over 850, whereas regular saline answer (typically put into the physique) has an osmolarity of 286.

Along with this small checklist, the traditional osmolarity of the next objects, must also be famous:

  • Feminine vaginal secretions (a lady’s pure lubrication): 260 to 290
  • Human semen: 250-380
  • Coconut Oil: 180-340
  • Most business private lubricants: 1,000 to over 10,000 (1)

As you could have seen, the osmolarity of coconut oil is in the identical vary because the osmolarity of many core parts of the human physique (the blood, vaginal secretions and sperm, for instance). Subsequently, these things are all iso-osmotic and will due to this fact be anticipated to exist in concord. Said barely in another way, all of them comprise the identical focus of dissolved particles allowing them to exist fortunately collectively in a cheerful state of equilibrium.

Compared and nestled unhappily, in a darkish place far-off from the sunny bliss of coconut oil and physique fluids, you can see the land of the non-public lubricants. As famous by the brief checklist above, the osmolarity of most business lubricants is far increased. However, what does this imply?

When two fluids mix which have an analogous osmolarity, as talked about, they create an equilibrium. Due to this equilibrium, the 2 fluids can peacefully co-exist. For instance, coconut oil could be anticipated to play fairly properly with the human physique, as a result of the pure vary for the osmolarity of coconut oil (180-340) is sort of near the osmolarity of vaginal secretions and sperm (260-380).

Nevertheless, when two fluids mix that don’t have the identical osmolarity, they mix after which attempt to create a stability. Sadly, in an effort to kind this new equilibrium, injury is brought on by motion in or out of endothelial cells. And, the larger the distinction is between osmolarities, the larger the possibility is for mobile injury and the quicker that injury ought to be anticipated to happen. In truth, some analysis has already proven that private lubricants can injury the cell lining of the vagina and the rectum. One such examine, a January 2012 examine revealed by the U.S. Nationwide Library of Drugs and the Nationwide Institute of Well being, concluded that “lubricant merchandise could enhance vulnerability to STI’s (sexually transmitted illnesses). Due to extensive use of lubricants and their potential as provider automobiles for microbes.” Moreover, when the protecting lining of the rectum or the vagina turns into broken, one of many physique’s regular protection mechanisms is weakened. (2)

Along with this examine, one different examine additionally appears fairly vital in its capacity to doc the impression of the osmolarity of private lubricants. This examine was revealed by the World Well being Group (WHO) in 2012. It was titled “Use and Procurement of Further Lubricants for Male and Feminine Condoms”. (3)

In accordance with this examine:

  • A number of papers (13-16) recommend that lubricants with excessive osmolality may trigger vaginal and anal epithelial injury. Affirmation that lubricants with excessive osmolality may cause epithelium injury when utilized rectally to people has been demonstrated in a gaggle of 10 volunteers.
  • Epithelial injury may in flip enhance the chance of an infection, for instance by HIV and different sexually transmitted infections (STIs), notably when condom use is inconsistent.
  • Most business private lubricants have excessive osmolalities (2000-6000 mOsm/kg). This examine reviewed over 40 private lubricants.
  • Ideally, the osmolality of a private lubricant mustn’t exceed 380 mOsm/Kg to reduce any threat of epithelial injury.
  • Don’t use oils (or coconut oil) with latex condoms, as a result of they “have a extremely damaging impact on latex.”

In abstract, Osmolarity is essential for the next, simple-to-understand purpose:

  • Excessive Osmolarity = Excessive Threat for STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
  • Low Osmolarity = Low Threat for STIs

It must also be famous that the elements that enhance the osmolarity of coconut oil are dramatically completely different than the elements that enhance the osmolarity of most business private lubricants.

Standard, non-organic lubricants comprise elements like chlorhexidine, petrochemicals, parabens, silicon, glycerin, propylene and synthetic fragrances, dyes or flavorings.

In 2002, throughout a Section II/III medical trial, even the extremely touted nonoxynol-9 got here face-to-face with the chilly, exhausting fact that along with being a strong spermacide, it additionally damages the cell lining of the vagina and rectum, thus growing the chance of HIV an infection within the folks examined. And but, nonoxynol-9 remains to be used on condoms as we speak. (4)

Comparatively, coconut oil osmolarity is elevated by the presence of pure constituents like amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and fatty acids which mix to create a pure, well-balanced supply of wholesome and hydrating vitamins.


(1) “Research Increase Questions About Security Of Private Lubricants” by Lauren Okay. Wolfe of Chemical & Engineering Information: Quantity 90, Difficulty 50, pp. 46-47 (hyperlink to finish article, listed beneath).

(2) “The slippery slope: Lubricant Use and Rectal Sexually Transmitted Infections: a newly recognized threat”. Intercourse Transm Dis. 2012 Jan;39(1):59-64. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318235502b. PMID: 22183849.

(3) “Use and procurement of extra lubricants for female and male condoms: WHO/UNFPA/FHI360 – Advisory Word” by the World Well being Group in 2012 (hyperlink to finish article, listed beneath).

(4) “Effectiveness of COL-1492, a nonoxynol-9 vaginal gel, on HIV-1 transmission in feminine intercourse staff: a randomised managed trial” (Lancet, DOI: 10.1016/s0140-6736(02)11079-8).

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