If you're experiencing painful sex while breastfeeding, you're not alone. "Breastfeeding down-regulates the usual signaling the brain uses to tell the ovary to make estrogen," explains AnateBrauer, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at Greenwich Fertility in Greenwich, Connecticut, and the New York University School of Medicine. Because estrogen helps keep the vaginal tissues healthy and lubricated, too little of the hormone can lead to dryness.
The fix: "Vaginal dryness due to breastfeeding will subside, usually once periods resume," Dr. Brauer explains. In the meantime, you can try vaginal moisturizers or lubricants. "[Vaginal moisturizer] Replens is actually ideal in this scenario," says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine, and author of A Woman's Guide to Sexual Health. "It's inserted two to three times a week. It is also a good idea to use a good silicone lubricant, such as Wet Platinum or Replens Silky Smooth."