Vulvodynia is chronic pain around the opening of your vagina in the area of your vulva. It isn’t known exactly what causes it. But there’s plenty you can do to ease the symptoms. Use these self-care tips to control the pain and keep it from getting worse.
It’s important to keep your vaginal area cool and dry.
Wear white cotton underwear during the day and sleep without it at night. Steer clear of tight-fitting skirts and pants. If you wear pantyhose or tights, switch to thigh-high or knee-length options that don’t block airflow to the vaginal area. When you swim or exercise, remove wet or sweaty clothing quickly.
The products you use to clean your clothes may irritate your vaginal area.
Use gentle detergent that’s been approved by dermatologists. Double-rinse underwear in the wash to make sure they’re free of soap or chemicals. Don’t use fabric softener.
Switch to a soft, white, unscented brand of toilet paper. Use only 100% cotton pads and tampons. Avoid scented, perfumed creams, soaps, and bubble bath.
To create a barrier between your vagina and clothing, apply petroleum jelly to your vulva after showering.
Avoid hot tubs and highly chlorinated pools. Instead, soak in a sitz bath a few times a day for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
What you eat may have an effect on your symptoms, for better or for worse.
Pressure on your bladder and bowel can cause vulvodynia to flare up. Pee regularly instead of waiting for your bladder to be full, and rinse the vaginal area with water afterwards to clean it off. Add fiber to your diet to help you stay regular.
After sex, pee and rinse with cool or lukewarm water to clean around your vagina. If you feel a burning sensation, wrap a frozen ice cube or gel pack in a small towel and hold it gently on your vagina for a few minutes.
Stand as often as you can, especially if you work at a desk. Try a foam rubber donut for a softer sitting surface.