Chronic Urogenital Pain

Vulvodynia – Bladder Pain Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis


Self-Care


The following suggestions may assist in the care of highly sensitive vulvar skin. Implementing the following may promote healthy vulvar skin and reduce flare-ups due to irritants.

Clothing

  • Avoid wearing tight clothing that increases pressure and friction in the vulvar area.
  • If possible avoid wearing synthetic clothes items that prevent good aeration of the area and contribute to the build up of heat and moisture.
  • White 100% cotton underwear, pads and tampons are recommended.
  • Always double rinse underwear to ensure there is no residual detergent or soap remaining in clothing.
  • Avoid the use of softeners and deodorants.

Bathing and Hygiene

  • Most soaps and shampoos have a very high pH and may contain chemicals which tend to irritate vulvar skin. When washing and shampooing, rinse in a way that will avoid the soap run-off entering into the vulva area.
  • Always rinse thoroughly with clear water.
  • After washing pat the vulvar area dry.
  • Avoid wearing moist clothing.Avoid hot baths, bubble baths and scented oils and lotions.
  • Baking soda baths using lukewarm water and 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda, for 10-15 minutes, may soothe vulvar itching and burning and cleanse skin of any discharge.
  • Use unscented and preferably unbleached toilet paper.
  • In the event that passing urine causes skin irritation and burning, rinse the area with clear water after voiding and pat the area dry.
  • Barrier creams may protect the skin from urine and discharge irritation.
  • The use of scented pads, deodorants, sprays and perfumes should be avoided.

Lubricants

  • Natural lubricants such as vegetable oils may be preferable to synthetic lubricants.
  • Contraceptive jells, lubricated condoms may cause irritation.