| Caroline Knight
Lidocaine is an anesthetic, so it has a numbing effect on whichever area of the body it is topically applied. Topical application means to use a product on bodily surfaces such as the skin. Lidocaine is a household name and can be found in medicine cabinets around the world, in the form of gels, creams, liquids and more. Like other anesthetics, Lidocaine blocks nerves from sending pain signals to the brain, resulting in a temporary sensation of numbness wherever it is applied. Lidocaine is sometimes used as a dyspareunia treatment, but is it effective enough to rely on? Let’s take a closer look at the issue.
Does Lidocaine work as dyspareunia treatment?
Essentially it can work, but the key word is temporary. Lidocaine is most often used for menopausal dyspareunia treatment, and vaginal atrophy caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Topical Lidocaine is applied to the vulvar vestibule prior to penetrative sex, which helps to numb the nerves and prevent intercourse from being painful. However, this may not work for deep dyspareunia. Studies have shown that in the aforementioned instances it can be considered ‘successful’, but this really depends on what constitutes success… and there are issues with this treatment.
If used sparingly and as directed, Lidocaine is considered safe. Yet there can be serious health problems if it is misused or overused. Reuters reported that overuse of skin numbing creams can cause a number of issues and even death. According to their report (taken from FDA advice), “People who use large amounts of skin-numbing creams and lotions, often in conjunction with cosmetic procedures, are at risk of irregular heartbeats, seizures and even death.”
Since numbing is really just a sticking plaster, it is not tackling the cause of dyspareunia or changing the environment so that the problem can be overcome. Therefore it is probable that the use of Lidocaine as a dyspareunia treatment will need to be ongoing, bringing with it the risks mentioned in the above article.
Could another dyspareunia treatment work better?
Actually, yes. There are various ways to treat dyspareunia that won’t have negative side effects and could actually reduce or clear the issue over time. Here are some of our top suggestions for treating dyspareunia:
Have more foreplay
Sometimes sex hurts because the vagina is not lubricated enough. More foreplay could be the solution to this, but if you are unable to produce enough lubrication naturally, you can try using a water-based personal lubricant. Declining estrogen could be negatively affecting your sex drive, but more foreplay will have a positive effect on your libido over time. If dryness is generally a problem you could also try a vaginal moisturizer applied every two to three hours, which should make sex easier too.
Use vaginal dilators
Vaginal dilators are one of the best natural dyspareunia treatments available, because they stretch and lengthen the vagina gradually, at your own pace. In fact, our VuVa™ Neodymium Magnetic Dilators have been clinically proven to relieve pelvic pain for 80% of study subjects, leading to less painful sex in many cases. With dyspareunia, magnetic dilators are more effective than other types of dilator because they help to increase blood flow to the area.
Over time, dilator use becomes more comfortable and trains your vagina for sexual penetration. If dryness has also been a problem for you, you may be pleased to hear that our magnetic dilators come with a free tube of water-based lubricant.
See a pelvic floor physical therapist
Pelvic floor physical therapy is another dyspareunia treatment that can have great results for women who have myofascial pain. In other words, the pelvic floor muscles are too tight. This can be the cause of dyspareunia, so having a therapist conduct massage and stretching techniques can relieve painful sex. Many pelvic floor physical therapists use vaginal dilators for dyspareunia treatment, as well as to treat other problems of this kind.
So as you can see, Lidocaine as a dyspareunia treatment is only helpful as a temporary measure. You may be interested in our article on natural dyspareunia treatments if you are looking for a longer-term solution; it contains further suggestions and more details about the above options. Dyspareunia may not be something that disappears overnight, but with time and perseverance, you should be able to overcome the problem. Don’t forget to browse our blog for dyspareunia information as there is nothing we haven’t covered on the subject!
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