Vulvar Health Hints

Here are some general hints for vulvar health. If you suffer from vulvodynia, this information will likely not provide a cure for, or significant relief from, your pain – but it may help prevent further irritation. Please note that you do not have to follow all of the vulvar health hints at the same time; rather, choose the ones that best suit your lifestyle and try them for a period of time. Find what works best for you.

Laundry Care

Posted on Jul 2, 2014

Use dermatologically-approved detergent (e.g., Purex®, Clear®) on underwear or any other type of clothing/material that comes into contact with the vulva (e.g., pajama bottoms, exercise clothing, towels); Use 1/3 to 1/2 the suggested amount per load. Other clothing may be washed with the laundry soap of your choice. Avoid using fabric softener and/or bleach on underwear or any other kind of clothing or material that comes onto contact with the vulva. Avoid using dryer sheets on clothing/material that comes into contact with the vulva;...

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Clothing Choices

Posted on Jul 2, 2014

Wear white, 100% cotton underwear to allow air in and moisture out. Go without underwear when possible (e.g., when sleeping). Avoid thong (g-string) underwear. Avoid wearing full-length pantyhose; try thigh-high or knee-high stockings 
instead. Avoid tight fitting pants or jeans that may put pressure on the vulva. Avoid spandex®, lycra® and other tight-fitting clothing during workouts, and 
remove wet bathing suits and exercise clothing promptly.

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Hygiene Hints

Posted on Jul 2, 2014

Use soft, white, non-recycled, unscented toilet paper and 100% cotton pads or tampons. Avoid using scented products such as bubble bath, feminine hygiene products (pads or tampons), creams, or soaps that come into contact with the vulvar region. Avoid using feminine deodorant sprays, Vaseline®, and colored soaps in the vulvar area, and avoid douching unless recommended by your physician. When you shower/bathe, do not use soap until the very end, and avoid applying it directly to the vulva. Use mild soaps such as Dove®, and avoid getting...

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Physical Activities

Posted on Jul 2, 2014

Avoid exercises that put direct pressure on the vulva such as bicycle riding and horseback riding. Use padded shorts/bicycle seats if you do engage in such activities. Limit intense exercises that create a lot of friction in the vulvar area. Use a frozen gel pack wrapped in a towel to relieve symptoms after exercise. Enroll in a yoga class to learn relaxation and breathing techniques. Avoid swimming in highly chlorinated pools, and avoid using hot tubs.

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Pre- and Post-Sexual Intercourse Suggestions

Posted on Jul 2, 2014

Use a lubricant that is water-soluble before penetration (e.g., Liquid K-Y®, Astroglide®, Slippery Stuff®). If you find that these lubricants irritate you or dry out during intercourse, a pure vegetable oil (such as Crisco®, solid or oil) has no chemicals and is also water-soluble. Please note that Crisco® is not latex-friendly and therefore should not be used in combination with condoms. A topical anesthetic (for example, Xylocaine®) may help before intercourse; discuss this with your doctor and ensure that you know how, where, and when to...

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