Useful measures if you have vulval pain
The vulva is the external genitalia in the female. The skin of the vulva can be quite sensitive. Because it is moist and frequently subjected to friction while sitting and moving, this area can be easily injured. There are various things you can do to prevent irritation and allow the vulva to heal. Skin that is moist becomes soft and easily injured; therefore, keeping this area dry can promote healing.
- Avoid soaps, bubble baths, deodorants, and vaginal wipes from coming in to contact with the vulva.
- Clean the vulva with water only, preferably using showers not baths.
- If passing urine makes your symptoms worse, then wash the urine away from the vulva using a jug of warm water whilst on the toilet.
- Clean the vulva only once a day, avoiding scrubbing with flannels and brushes.
- Avoid creams that have not been prescribed e.g. topical clotrimazole.
- Avoid antiseptics in the bath and rinse the bath carefully after cleaning it.
- Wear loose fitting cotton underwear.
- Try washing underwear with baking soda soap only or use a sensitive skin washing powder. Avoid biological and fragranced washing powders.
- After washing underwear, put it through at least one whole cycle with water only. Some women have suffered needlessly from irritants in detergents whose residue was left in clothes by incomplete rinsing. Rinsing clothes thoroughly is more important than which detergent is used.
- Wash new underwear before wearing it.
- Fabric softeners and drying sheet should not be used.
- Only use white or unbleached toilet tissue.
- When washing your hair, avoid allowing the shampoo to come in contact with vulva. Try washing your hair in the sink.
- Use 100% cotton menstrual pads (non-disposable) and tampons. Many women with vulva pain experience an increase in irritation and pain every month when they use commercial paper pads or tampons. This monthly increase in pain can often be reduced by using 100% washable and reusable cotton menstrual pads. Pure cotton tampons are also available.
- Avoid contraceptive devices and creams that may irritate the skin.
- Don’t sit or remain in a wet bathing suit.
Support groups and other resources
The vulval pain society (VPS) provides women with information on vulvodynia and other vulval disorders
Vulval Pain Society
PO Box 514
The vulval pain society:
National Lichen Sclerosus Support Group:
Interstitial Cystitis Support Group of the UK:
National Vulvodynia Association:
Vulval Pain Foundation:
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