- Be aware of signs and symptoms of a vaginal infection or irritation, itching, odor, or unusual discharge and see your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Keep vaginal area clean and dry. Do not scrub vulvar skin with a washcloth. Washing with your hand is adequate for good cleaning. Pat dry or use a hair dryer on a cool setting when skin is sore or tender to touch.
- Wear clean, loose-fitting cotton underwear.
- Avoid pantyhose, constricting clothing, and synthetic fabrics which may trap moisture and contribute to vaginal irritation. Change clothes immediately after using hot tubs or exercising, especially swimming.
- Don’t share washcloths, towels, underwear, or razors.
- Do not use deodorant pads and tampons, colored toilet paper, hygienic sprays or wipes, and baby powder, harsh soaps, bath oils, bubble baths, and douching.
- You may need to consider changing laundry detergent. A mild, enzyme free soap such as Dreft or Ivory is best for washing underwear. Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets on underwear.
- Tampons should only be used when menstrual flow is heavy enough to soak a tampon in 4-6 hours.
- Increase fluid intake to eight to ten glasses of water daily and decrease consumption of refined sugar as this helps your body fight infection.
- Always wipe yourself from front to back so that bacteria from your rectum won’t spread to the vagina and urethra.
- Do not shave the vulvar area.
- Use water soluble lubricant or contraceptive jelly, if needed, but do not use Vaseline or any petroleum based substance, creams, lotions, or oils. Products including condoms containing nonoxyl-9 can cause irritation and increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections if used frequently.
- Avoid antibiotics that aren’t absolutely necessary since vaginal infections are often a side effect.
- Do Kegel exercises to increase circulation to the pelvic area.
- Hot tub baths also increase circulation the pelvic area and soothe irritation or discomfort. Soaking in a bathtub with ¼ cup of baking soda in 6-inches of water will rinse away extra discharge, help with odor and soothe vulvar itching and burning. Soak about 2-3 times a day for 10-15 minutes.
- If you suspect you are getting a vaginal infection or have been diagnosed with one, have your partner wear a condom during intercourse to prevent re-infection. Some women are allergic to latex used in condoms. Itching and burning after condom use may be and allergic reaction rather than an infection.
- If medication is prescribed, use the entire amount even though symptoms may subside.
- Do not use any product with talcum powder in the vaginal area. Research has shown that it may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding vaginal health you can contact our office at 348-9766 or toll free 1-877-449-7422.
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