The following tips may help you manage the symptoms of vulvodynia:
July 17, 2014
- Try cold compresses. Cold compresses placed directly on your external genital area may help lessen pain and itching.
- Soak in a sitz bath. Two to three times a day, sit in comfortable, lukewarm (not hot) or cool water for five to 10 minutes.
- Avoid tightfitting pantyhose and nylon underwear. Tight clothing restricts airflow to your genital area, often leading to increased temperature and moisture that can cause irritation. Wear white, cotton underwear to increase ventilation and dryness. Sleep without underwear at night, if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Avoid hot tubs and soaking in hot baths. Spending time in hot water may lead to discomfort and itching.
- Avoid activities that put pressure on your vulva, such as biking or horseback riding.
- Wash gently. Scrubbing the affected area harshly or washing too often can increase irritation. Instead, use plain water to gently clean your vulva with your hand and pat the area dry. After bathing, apply a preservative-free emollient, such as plain petroleum jelly, to create a protective barrier.
- Use lubricants. If you're sexually active, apply a lubricant before engaging in sexual intercourse.
- Try an antihistamine at bedtime. This may help reduce itching and help you rest better.
- Stewart EG. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of generalized vulvodynia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 11, 2014.
- Stewart EG. Treatment of vulvodynia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 11, 2014.
- Self-help tips for vulvar skin care. National Vulvodynia Association. http://www.nva.org/Self_Help_Tips.html. Accessed May 11, 2014.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ127. Vulvodynia. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq127.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20140511T1425064797. Accessed May 11, 2014.
- Crum CP, et al. Diagnostic Gynecologic and Obstetric Pathology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 11, 2014.
- Labwohl MG, et al. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 11, 2014.
- Waldman SD. Atlas of Uncommon Pain Syndromes. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 11, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.