The goal is to promote healthy vulvar skin. You can do this if you reduce or get rid of:
We suggest these products and actions because of their past success in helping to lessen or relieve vulvar/vaginal burning, irritation, or itching.
- Use the detergent brand All Free Clear™ on all laundry that goes into your washer:
- Use it for each load.
- Do not substitute.
- Use 1/3 to 1/2 of the suggested amount of detergent per load.
- Use the smallest amount of detergent with a high efficiency washer.
- Rinse your clothes 2 times.
- Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
- You may use dryer balls.
- Do not use wool dryer balls.
- Hand wash your underwear if you use a shared washer or dryer (such as a laundromat, apartment, or dorm).
- Line dry your underwear.
Stain removal products and bleach
- If you have used a stain removal product:
- Soak and rinse in clear water all underwear and towels on which you have used it.
- Then wash in your regular washing cycle using All Free Clear™.
- This removes as much of the product as you can.
- Wear white, all cotton underwear. Cotton lets air in and moisture out.
- Do not wear nylon underwear with a cotton crotch.
- Do not wear thongs.
- Do not wear underwear when sleeping at night.
- Wear loose fitting cotton boxers or cotton pajama bottoms are fine.
- Do not wear pantyhose.
- If you must wear pantyhose:
- Cut out the diamond crotch.
- Leave about 1/4 inch of fabric from the seam to keep it from running.
- Wear thigh high hose.
- Do not wear tight clothing.
- Do not wear clothing made of synthetic fabrics.
- Take off wet clothing as soon as you can.
- Do not use bath soaps, lotions, or gels that have perfumes.
- Even products marked "gentle" or "mild" can have perfumes.
- You and all sexual partners should use these soaps:
- Dove for Sensitive Skin™
- Do not use soap directly on the vulvar skin.
- Use warm water.
- Do not use bubble bath, bath salts, and scented oils.
- You may use an unscented oil or lotion on skin after bathing.
- Do not put lotion on your vulva.
- Do not scrub vulvar skin with a washcloth.
- Pat dry.
- You may use a hair dryer on a cool setting.
Baking soda soaks
- Do not soak in hot water.
- Use 4 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda for itching and burning.
- Soak 1 to 3 times a day for 10 minutes.
- Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda if you are using a sitz bath.
- Use white, unscented toilet paper such as:
- Angel Soft
- 7th Generation
- Do not use toilet paper with aloe.
- Do not use "ultra-soft" or "ultra-strong" toilet paper.
- Do not douche.
- Do not shave or use hair removal products:
- You may use scissors to trim the pubic hair.
- You may have laser hair removal.
Personal product hygiene
- Do not use hygiene sprays, perfumes, adult, or baby wipes.
- You may use Tucks (witch hazel) hemorrhoid pads.
- You can use WaterWipes™.
- You may pour lukewarm water over the vulva while you pee for burning.
- Do not use deodorized pads and tampons.
- Tampons when your blood flow soaks 1 tampon in at least 4 hours.
- They may cause vaginal infections, more discharge, odor, or rarely, toxic shock syndrome if worn too long or when blood flow is too light.
- Use pads that have a cotton liner that touches your skin.
- Do not use pads with a nylon mesh weave.
- Nylon traps moisture.
- We suggest using:
- 7th Generation™
- For urine leakage, use a pad designed to collect urine.
- Do not use pads with a nylon mesh weave.
Ointments and creams
- Do not use over-the-counter creams or ointments until you ask your health care team.
- Use ointments that are paraben-free and fragrance-free.
- You may use a skin protectant on your vulva as often as you need. We suggest that you use a thin layer of:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Vegetable oil
- Coconut oil
- Zinc oxide ointment
- White petrolatum (Vaseline™)
- It also helps to lower skin irritation during your period and when you pee.
For people who have problems with chronic dampness:
- Do not wear pads daily.
- Choose cotton fabrics when you can.
- Keep an extra pair of underwear with you and change if you are damp.
- Gold Bond™ or Zeasorb (AF) ™ powder may be used 1 to 2 times per day to help absorb moisture.
- Do not use powders with cornstarch.
- You may help dryness and irritation during sex by using a lube.
- Silicone-based lubes such as Uberlube™ work well.
- Use a small amount of a pure vegetable oil (solid, liquid, or extra virgin olive oil).
- Over-the-counter water-based lubricants tend to dry out before sex is over.
- This may cause small tears in your vagina.
- They may have chemicals that can irritate.
- Use a:
- A non-lubricated, non-spermicidal condom
- Pure extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil (solid or liquid).
This will help keep semen off the skin. It will lessen burning and irritation after sex.
Talk about birth control options with your provider.