Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

The following tips might help you manage vulvodynia symptoms:

  • Try cold compresses or gel packs. Place them directly on your external genital area to ease pain and itching.
  • Soak in a sitz bath. Two to three times a day, sit in comfortable, lukewarm (not hot) or cool water with Epsom salts or colloidal oatmeal 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. Try sleeping without underwear at night.
  • Avoid hot tubs and soaking in hot baths. Spending time in hot water can cause discomfort and itching.
  • Don't use deodorant tampons or pads. The deodorant can be irritating. If pads are irritating, switch to 100 percent cotton pads.
  • 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 having sex. Don't use products that contain alcohol, flavor, or warming or cooling agents.

Coping and support

You might find talking to other women who have vulvodynia helpful because it can provide information and make you feel less alone. If you don't want to join a support group, your doctor might be able to recommend a counselor in your area who has experience helping women cope with vulvodynia.

Sex therapy or couples therapy might help you and your partner cope with vulvodynia's affect on your relationship.