Lubricant being poured to a person's body

Does Lube cause thrush or a BV

byWanda Chin
It is important to note that Candida Albicans is a strain that is naturally found in the body, and its existence is important to the biomes we find in and on ourselves.

When working out whether or not your lube causes thrush, it’s important to first understand what exactly thrush is. Thrush, also known as a Yeast Infection, is a very common infection caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida Albicans.

It is important to note that Candida Albicans is a strain that is naturally found in the body, and its existence is important to the biomes we find in and on ourselves.

We do not want to completely eliminate it.

BV (Bacterial Vaginosis) occurs when there is an infection or overgrowth of Gardnerella vaginalis. Similarly to Candida Albicans, it is a microorganism that exists in small levels in your vaginal microbiome.

Thrush is characterised by a cottage cheese-like discharge, and can cause itchiness.

BV is characterised by a strong, unpleasant odour and thin or watery discharge. Although both are extremely inconvenient, thrush and BV are not life-threatening and many women experience them.

Yet, having thrush and BV is a dysbiosis (imbalance) and it would be in our best interests to reduce recurrence, by maintaining a balanced system within our body.


So, what causes thrush?

Even though we know that dysbiosis is the cause of thrush and BV, the actual causes of the dysbiosis itself are not fully clear and warrants more research. Logically, we know that anything that has a bactericidal effect or strong anti-microbial effect will affect the microbiome. The pH of the intimate area is also another strong indicator of imbalance. This is because a balanced vaginal microbial flora should sit at around 3.8-4.5 (could also be higher depending on your ethnicity).

If pH of the vaginal environment shifts too high up the scale, the incidence of infection is higher. For example, being on your period (blood has a neutral pH) will increase the chance of infection.

A woman holding a lube

But, can lube cause thrush?

When working out whether or not lube causes thrush, it’s important to look at the research. Brown Et al published the results of a study on 141 women in LA. They measured the relationship between their Intravaginal practices to their risk of BV and Thrush. They found evidence that BV is related to using Petroleum Jelly during intercourse, yet using lubricants or oils (like massage oils) did NOT seem to result in BV incidences.

In another study completed in 2022, comparing 141 infected women to 166 healthy controls, it was found that using bactericidal soap, anal sex and using sex toys were the most correlated to higher dysbiosis. The study also found that a use of lubricants does not increase the risk.

Lubricant, if formulated correctly should have a minimal effect on the microbiome and pH of your intimate area.

BV and Thrush are not caused by a single or a few habits, but by a myriad of internal and external factors.

Personal circumstance and external factors all can contribute to the risk, so if you are trying to reduce any risk whatsoever, using microbiome-supporting products can help, or choosing a lubricant devoid of strong preservatives!

1. Chen Y, Bruning E, Rubino J, Eder SE. Role of female intimate hygiene in vulvovaginal health: Global hygiene practices and product usage. Womens Health (Lond). 2017 Dec;13(3):58-67. doi: 10.1177/1745505717731011. Epub 2017 Sep 22. PMID: 28934912; PMCID: PMC7789027.

2. Brown JM, Hess KL, Brown S, Murphy C, Waldman AL, Hezareh M. Intravaginal practices and risk ofbacterial vaginosis and candidiasis infection among a cohort of women in the United States. Obstetricsand gynecology. 2013; 121(4):773–80. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31828786f8 PMID: 23635677

3. Bardin MG, Giraldo PC, Benetti-Pinto CL, Sanches JM, Araujo CC, Amaral RLGD. Habits of Genital Hygiene and Sexual Activity among Women with Bacterial Vaginosis and/or Vulvovaginal Candidiasis. Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet. 2022 Feb;44(2):169-177. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1741536. Epub 2022 Feb 25. PMID: 35213915; PMCID: PMC9948277.

4. Coste I, Judlin P, Lepargneur JP, Bou-Antoun S. Safety and efficacy of an intravaginal prebiotic gel in the prevention of recurrent bacterial vaginosis: a randomized double-blind study. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012;2012:147867. doi: 10.1155/2012/147867. Epub 2012 Dec 18. PMID: 23316237; PMCID: PMC3536433.

5. Łaniewski P, Owen KA, Khnanisho M, Brotman RM, Herbst-Kralovetz MM. Clinical and Personal Lubricants Impact the Growth of Vaginal Lactobacillus Species and Colonization of Vaginal Epithelial Cells: An in Vitro Study. Sex Transm Dis. 2021 Jan;48(1):63-70. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001272. PMID: 32842049; PMCID: PMC8793461.

So, if you’re ever concerned about thrush or BV, but find sex more enjoyable and less painful with the use of lubricant, rest assured that there are options that are specifically formulated for your pH and microbiome.

A woman holds a scrunched tube of Bed Intentions Lubricant against her navel

Water Based Lubricant


Related Articles


Your cart feels empty.

Explore your curiosities.

Shop now
Be the first to knowWe promise to only send interesting emails
Thank you! You've been subscribed