Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Good hygiene can help ease discomfort and reduce the chance of vaginal or urinary tract infections while waiting for repair.

  • Wash with water. Gently wash your outer genital area with warm water each time you experience vaginal discharge or passage of stool. A shower is a good option.
  • Avoid irritants. Soap can dry and irritate your skin, but a gentle unscented soap may be necessary in moderation. Avoid harsh or scented soap and scented tampons and pads. Vaginal douches can increase your chance of infection.
  • Dry thoroughly. Allow the area to air-dry after washing, or gently pat the area dry with toilet paper or a clean washcloth.
  • Avoid rubbing with dry toilet paper. Pre-moistened, alcohol-free, unscented towelettes or wipes or moistened cotton balls may be a good alternative for cleaning the area.
  • Use a cold compress. Apply a cold compress, such as a washcloth, to the folds at the opening of the vagina (labia).
  • Apply a cream or powder. Moisture-barrier creams help keep irritated skin from having direct contact with liquid or stool. Nonmedicated talcum powder or cornstarch also may help relieve discomfort. Ask your doctor to recommend a product. Be sure the area is clean and dry before you apply any cream or powder.
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing. Tight clothing can restrict airflow, making skin problems worse. Change soiled underwear quickly. Products such as absorbent pads, disposable underwear or adult diapers can help if you're passing liquid or stool, but be sure they have an absorbent wicking layer on top.

For best results, be sure to follow any other recommendations from your health care team.

Nov. 15, 2012