Many women experience uncomfortable, vaginal infections (vaginitis) at one time or another. The area around the entrance to the vagina (vulva) can also become irritated. Steps can be taken to relieve and prevent vulvar discomfort and vaginal infections.
- Use warm water to wash the vulva. Dry thoroughly with a clean towel.
- The vagina cleanses itself naturally in the form of normal, vaginal discharge. Avoid using douches unless prescribed by your physician. These products can upset the natural balance of organisms.
- Wear only white, 100 percent cotton underwear. Avoid wearing nylon, acetate, or other manmade fibers if you have delicate skin or are prone to vulvar irritation.
- Avoid wearing thongs.
- Rinse underclothes carefully after washing or double-rinse. Avoid using too much laundry detergent.
- Wash new underclothes before wearing.
Use a mild soap (such as Woolite) for washing underclothes. Avoid fabric softeners (including dryer sheets) and detergents with enzymes (amylase, lipase, protease and cellulose).
- Use soft toilet tissue (white only).
Use tampons instead of sanitary napkins to control menstrual bleeding. (Do not use deodorant tampons.) Do not leave tampons in for a long period, due to toxic shock syndrome. Do not leave tampons in all night.
- Take sitz baths daily, if prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Don’t scratch.
- Avoid wearing nylon pantyhose or panty girdles. They trap heat and moisture, providing an ideal breeding environment for organisms. When nylons or leggings are required, wear cotton or nylons with a cotton panty.
- Avoid these feminine hygiene products, which can irritate the vulva: sanitary pads, feminine spray and deodorants, scented oils, bubble baths, bath oils, talc or powder.