This is a “sponsored post.” Fairhaven Health compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin
As Harriet got closer and closer to menopause, her vagina became dryer and dryer, and sex became less and less appealing. Drugstore lubricants were big turn offs. Either too thick and gooey. Or too thin and runny. “The dryness didn’t especially bother me during the day, but intimacy was downright irritating. Literally and figuratively,” Harriet said.
Candy was right there with Harriet when it came to sex, but her vaginal dryness also affected her during the day. “I could only sit in meetings for 20 minutes or so, before it became so uncomfortable that I had to excuse myself,” Candy complained.
Like millions of post-menopausal women, Harriet and Candy have vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA), which comes from the loss of estrogen stimulation on the sensitive tissue in these areas. About 30 million women, as a matter of fact, may suffer from symptoms including pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness and vaginal irritation, according to the National Institutes of Health.
We don’t have to suffer.
Sage Personal Moisturizer and Lubricant, an exciting new non-prescription formula that can provide temporary relief from vaginal dryness, has recently come onto the market from Fairhaven Health. Passionate about helping women maintain their vaginal health through all life stages, Fairhaven’s vaginal care line has grown from a fertility lubricant and a feminine freshening gel to now include this new two-in-one formula for us.
Suzanne Munson, Fairhaven vice president of product development & compliance, has been intimately involved (pun intended) with Sage all along its development and FDA clearance process. “During the many years I’ve been reporting on women’s health, no one has explained subjects like pH, lubrication and our ‘vaginal ecosystem’ as clearly and concisely,” said Geri Brin, founder of FabOverFifty.com
Here, Suzanne covers the importance of vaginal health and what gives Sage its distinctive ability to moisturize, lubricate and contribute to our well being.
BEFORE WE GET INTO DETAILS ABOUT SAGE, PLEASE EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VAGINAL MOISTURIZER & LUBRICANT
“Lubricants may provide short-term relief for vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual activity. Moisturizers are intended to be used primarily for the relief of vaginal dryness on a day-to-day basis.”
HOW CAN SAGE EFFECTIVELY MOISTURIZE AND LUBRICATE VAGINAL TISSUE?
“A clear gel, Sage is neither unpleasantly thick and gooey or so runny that you wouldn’t want to use it during the day. Its fluidity will increase comfort and pleasure during intimacy, but the formula will stay put and work for longer.
“Our major focus during the development stage was to give Sage the ability to effectively adhere to vaginal tissue, which is called mucoadhesion. When we performed comparative studies with other formulas on the market, we found that Sage was more mucoadhesive. That makes it a two-in-one lubricant and moisturizer.
“Sage supplements natural moisture in the vagina and provides temporary relief from vaginal dryness during intercourse or daily. Estrogen is what drives natural production of vaginal fluid, so as estrogen decreases during menopause, natural moisture declines. Sage safely mimics natural moisture and feels as natural as possible.”
WE OFTEN HEAR THE TERMS WATER BASED AND OIL OR SILICONE BASED IN RELATION TO FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES AND WHICH IS BEST?
“Healthy vaginal tissue continually sloughs and exfoliates cells, which is necessary for the vagina to self-clean and regenerate new cells and good bacteria. This healthy bacteria prevents pathogenic microorganisms from thriving and provoking infection.
“Oil-based lubricants tend to coat the vaginal wall and get stuck, impacting the way the vaginal mucosa cleans itself. Silicone formulas tend to have glycerol, which has been shown to irritate the vaginal cells.
“Sage Personal Moisturizer and Lubricant is water based – without paraben preservatives – which is acknowledged to be best for menopause-related vaginal dryness. It includes clary sage, a botanical with natural antibacterial properties.”
WHAT DOES VAGINAL pH MEAN AND DOES SAGE HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT?
“pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0 to 14. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are acidic; those with a pH greater than 7 are alkaline. A healthy vagina has a pH between 4 and 5 – similar to that of wine – which makes it naturally acidic.
“Healthy bacteria will start to die off if the pH is below 3, and you might have something funky going on if the pH is above 5.5 (except for women in the fertile window.) Healthy, friendly bacteria produce lactic acid, which helps maintain the vagina’s acidic environment.
“When we’re addressing vaginal dryness, we want to make certain that we’re also supporting this vaginal ecosystem. If you do anything to upset the pH, you’ll kill off friendly bacteria. Sage has a pH of around 5, which is considered healthy for women as they age. By matching the pH of the healthy vagina you’re not adding a substance that will create more problems than you had when you started.”
WILL YOU KNOW IF YOUR VAGINAL pH IS OUT OF WHACK, AND WILL SAGE HELP GET IT TO A HEALTHY LEVEL?
“If you’re having discharge or odor, it could signal that your pH is too high, and out of healthy range. Healthy bacteria won’t grow, and you won’t have the lactic acid you need to keep pH at the proper level. This can be caused by diet and other lifestyle factors, including excessive sweating during exercise, using some feminine washes or douching. A douche washes out everything, for example, taking the good with the bad and removing your vaginal mucosal armour.
“Sage alone won’t reduce your pH to a healthy level, but alternating it with our IsoFresh Balancing Vaginal Gel can help create an environment that will. With a pH of around 4.5, IsoFresh is a thicker gel that contains the vital lactic acid your vagina needs to help return its ecosystem back to normal.
“If you have bacterial vaginosis – inflammation caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria – you might need to see a doctor. But today antibiotics are often over prescribed, which can lead to other problems.”
HOW IS SAGE APPLIED?
“Sage comes in a 40-gram tube with two applicators that can each be used up to 10 times. It’s a clean process and doesn’t stain. You can apply the formula with your fingers if you prefer. We recommend using two to three grams each time, but the amount will depend on what makes a woman feel comfortable.
“Applying Sage every two to three days seems to work for most women’s daily moisturization, but if can be used more often. It also should be used before intercourse.”