Coconut oil’s role in cooking and relieving several health problems isn’t unknown. It has a dual purpose as it is beneficial for consumption and can even be used for topical application. One of the most prominent benefits of this oil is its moisturizing properties, which make it effective for the skin and hair. Of late, the oil has been gaining immense popularity because of its lubricating property to combat vaginal dryness.
Of the several symptoms that trouble you in perimenopause, and menopause, vaginal dryness is one of them. The low estrogen levels are the reason for the vaginal walls to appear inflamed, thinned, and dried.
So, let’s look at the role of coconut oil in lessening vaginal dryness in menopause. We will also understand this oil’s other benefits in easing other menopausal symptoms.
How Does Coconut Oil Help to Manage the Symptoms of Menopause? 5 Probable Benefits
It is an anti-bacterial, lubricant, and moisturizer. This contributes to its innumerable benefits. Much has been spoken about coconut oil’s role in relieving vaginal dryness. It’s beneficial in other ways also.
1. For Vaginal Dryness – How Does it Help?
Most women resort to vaginal lubricants or moisturizers to ease the symptoms of vaginal dryness. However, some women prefer taking the natural path to ease their symptoms. The safety of coconut oil in minimizing skin dryness has been verified from various sources.
A study conducted in 2013 on kids aged between 1 and 13 years showed the usefulness of coconut oil in treating atopic dermatitis symptoms like itchiness and dryness of skin. That was the benefit of coconut oil on the outer skin. Now coming to the benefits of coconut oil on the vagina, there isn’t any research to date to support its utility. Some anecdotal sources suggest that coconut oil may be used internally, but a doctor’s advice is always needed before doing the same.
However, the internal application of coconut oil comes with some drawbacks. You need to know the same.
- Individuals using latex-based contraceptives shouldn’t apply coconut oil for vaginal dryness. Oil-based lubricants like coconut oil function towards breaking down the latex present in contraceptives. This reduces and weakens the effectiveness of the devices, increasing the chances of an unplanned pregnancy and STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).
- Like most other oil-based lubricants, coconut oil also produces a messy effect. So when one isn’t careful while applying it to their vagina, it could lead to stained bedclothes, underwear, and sheets.
- Coconut oil is alkaline due to its high pH value. While the pH value of the vagina ranging from 3.8-5.0 is considered acidic. So, applying coconut oil to the vagina could increase the chances of vaginal infections.
The hype about coconut oil for vaginal dryness isn’t unknown. Yet, before using coconut oil as a remedy for vaginal inflammation, and itchiness, it is safe to consult the doctor.
2. For Moisturizing the Skin
The low estrogen levels are responsible for the dryness and itchiness in the skin, which women mostly experience in menopause and the transition phase. Due to reduced estrogen levels, the skin’s ability to hold moisture eventually lessens.
Coconut oil has moisturizing properties. It is also devoid of harmful chemicals that could result in skin irritation. Applying it to the skin might relieve you from the dryness and itchiness. Another boon of this oil is its thickness, which allows it to remain on the skin for a long. This way, you will not have to reapply it frequently.
However, some individuals could be allergic to coconut oil. So, before using it as a wholesome remedy, you must test it on a small area of your skin. If you do not have any allergic reactions, you may use it to moisturize your dry skin.
3. For Weight Loss
MCTs (Medium-chain triglycerides) are said to be functional in weight loss, and the same has been speculated through studies.
Researchers have even deduced that consumption of MCT oil increases burnt calories. Coconut oil is considered a rich source of MCT and, therefore, is said to be beneficial for weight loss. However, the usefulness of coconut oil consumption in burning calories hasn’t been proven. However, if you use coconut oil for weight loss in menopause, which most women are prone to, ensure you use it in moderate quantities. Coconut oil has MCT properties but is high in calories (120 cal, 14 gm fat/tbsp) and could trigger weight gain.
Though it has MCT, coconut oil might increase bad cholesterol. So, for those with increased cholesterol, speaking to the doctor before using coconut oil for weight loss is mandatory.
4. For Gut Health
Because of the low and fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone in menopause, gut health is affected to a great extent. The gut has a combination of good and bad bacteria. The low hormone levels disrupt the balance of the bacteria levels in the gut, resulting in several digestive issues.
So, when transitioning into menopause or having already experienced it, taking care of your gut health is immensely important. Coconut oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties. This makes it helpful in repairing the gut tissues and restoring bacterial imbalances in the gut.
However, before you use it as a natural remedy to boost your digestive health in menopause, seeking a doctor’s advice is always essential.
5. For Your Hair
The hormones are again blamed for the hair loss you may experience in menopause. You may experience it will be increased hair loss and hair thinning during this time. So, to manage and deal with this problem, proper hair care is of immense importance. The absence of additives and the moisturizing properties of coconut oil is beneficial to treat dry hair.
So, when in menopause, massaging your hair with coconut oil will improve circulation and help in hair growth. Other effective oils used for hair in menopause include olive oil, evening primrose oil, and castor oil.
Coconut oil has gained popularity as a cooking oil. There are several ways of consuming it. You can add a tablespoon of it to your beverage or smoothie. You could even use it for cooking eggs and leafy greens. Adding coconut oil to the greens helps to eliminate the bitterness one may find in spinach or collard. You could even substitute it for butter and oil when cooking several recipes.
In baking and cooking, coconut oil has healthier alternatives, like olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, and canola oil.
Coconut is known to have phytoestrogens, which are compounds mimicking the functions of estrogen. A study even confirmed the presence of estrogen-like properties in young coconut juice. However, the participants in the above-mentioned study weren’t humans but female rats.
The utility and effectiveness of coconut oil as a vaginal lubricant isn’t confirmed. So, if you are troubled with vaginal dryness in menopause, it is always advised to consult the doctor who would suggest you with the best possible options. Similarly, when using it in its edible form, take it in measured amounts. An increased and prolonged consumption of coconut oil may lead to gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.