Start by Taking Care of the Skin

Steps to Health

Start by Taking Care of the Skin

Self-treatment with over-the-counter medications and vaginal preparations should be strongly discouraged. While many women will find that applying any type of cream on the skin seems to help initially, over time they find the skin seems to get more and more sensitive and the creams are in fact making the discomfort worse. Women should be aware that they cannot “wash their symptoms away” and that the symptoms are NOT due to being “unclean” or having an “infection”.

General Skin Care Recommendations

  • Avoid chemicals that can irritate the vulvar skin – soap, douches, perfumes, and over-the-counter vaginal preparations or feminine hygiene spray.
  • Use soap substitutes (Use gentle cleansers that are labeled “hypoallergenic” like Cetaphil, dove or Aveeno brands.)
  • Do not add fabric softener to clothes.
  • Do NOT use synthetic panty liners for menstruation or daily wear.
  • Use 100 % Cotton pads (Natracare pads or tampons). Or use a menstrual cup – DivaCup, Keeper cup (rubber) or Moon cup (silicone). Reusable cotton pads are available through many health food stores. Makers of all cotton cloth menstrual pads – Glad Rags (503-238-8624),
  • Avoid contact with synthetic material – use cotton underwear, pantyhose with cotton panels.
  • Wear loose clothing that encourages the air to circulate. Sleep without underwear.
  • Use a sexual lubricant before and during intercourse as needed. These are labeled as “personal lubricants” and are liquid. Do not use gels. Examples of good lubricants include: Astroglide, KY Sensual Silk, O My Lubricant. These are all available at most drugstores.
  • For optimal skin care use a moisturizer after a shower on the vulvar skin. Examples of good mosturizers include Clinaderm, Lubriderm, and Glaxxo base. Replens is a vaginal moisturizer that can also act as a lubricant.
  • Use a protective barrier such a Vaseline jelly or Penaten cream on sensitive skin areas.

Next: Try simple things to relieve discomfort

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