Sexual Health
Laboratory

Sophie Bergeron  Ph.D

« Promoting the well-being and sexual health of individuals and couples ».

Helpful Tips

Here are some practical tips that may help you better manage the pain. By following the suggestions below, you will perhaps experience pain relief. Once your pain is under control, we recommend that you continue following these tips to prevent any further irritation.

Detergent

- Use a gentle detergent approved by dermatologists for your underwear and/or any other type of material/clothing that could come into contact with your vulvar region (e.g., swimsuit, pyjama bottom, exercise clothing, bath towel). Your other clothing can be washed in a detergent of your choice.
- Use only a third or a half of the quantity of detergent recommended per load.
- Avoid using a liquid fabric softener, fabric-softening sheets and/or bleach for your underwear and/or any other type of material/clothing that could come into contact with your vulvar region. Dry these items flat.
- Double rinse any other type of material/clothing that could come into contact with your vulvar region.
- If you use stain removers on items that come into contact with the vulvar region, soak and rinse them in clean water and then wash them in your regular cycle to get rid of as much stain remover as possible.

Choice of Clothing

- Wear white underwear made of 100% cotton to allow air to enter and humidity to leave.
- Do not wear underwear when possible (e.g., during the night).
- Avoid wearing full tights or nylons (those that are knee-high or thigh-high are recommended).
- Avoid wearing tight pants (e.g., jeans) that could put pressure on the vulvar area.
- Avoid wearing spandex and Lycra® clothing or any other type of tight clothing when exercising.
- Quickly remove any damp clothing (e.g., swimsuit or exercise clothing).

Hygiene Tips

- Use white, non-recycled and non-scented toilet paper.
- Use non-scented pads and/or tampons that are made of 100% cotton.
- Avoid using scented products like bubble bath, hygienic products for women (pads or tampons), creams or soaps that come into contact with the vulvar region.
- Avoid using aerosol feminine deodorants, Vaseline or coloured soaps in the vulvar area.
- Avoid douching.
- When you take a bath or a shower, do not use soap until the very end and avoid directly apply it on the vulvar region.
- Wash the vulvar region with your hands and water only, since soaps can dry out and irritate the skin in the vulvar area.
- If you use soap at all, use gentle soaps like Cetaphil, Dove or Ivory.
- Avoid getting shampooing the vulvar area.
- Wash the vulvar area with cold or warm water.
- Pat-dry your vulva, but do not rub. Towels can be too rough for skin in the vulvar region.
- Avoid shaving the vulvar region.
- It is important to keep the vulvar region dry. If you are regularly moist, keep a second pair of underwear in a small bag so that you can change when they become too wet during the day, whether at school or at work.
- If you suffer from vaginal infections, avoid using non-prescription creams that could irritate the skin of the vulva. Ask your doctor instead to prescribe systemic or oral medications (e.g.: Diflucan).

Physical Activities

- Avoid exercises that put direct pressure on the vulva (e.g., cycling, horseback riding).
- Limit intense exercises that produce a lot of friction in the vulvar area.
- Use an ice pack rolled in a towel to relieve the vulvar area.
- Take yoga or meditation classes to learn breathing techniques.
- Avoid swimming in pools with a high chlorine concentration.
- Avoid using public Jacuzzis and whirlpools.

Suggestions for Before and After Sexual intercourse

- Vary your sexual activities and put less accent on vaginal penetration.
- If you want to still have sexual intercourse with vaginal penetration, use a water-soluble lubricant before penetration (e.g., Astroglide).
- To relieve any sensations of irritation and burning after sexual intercourse, take a cold bath or a bath with sodium bicarbonate (4-5 tablespoons, 1-3 times a day for 10 to 15 minutes).
- Apply Zincofax on the vulvar region to relieve burning sensations after sexual intercourses.
- Urinate (to prevent infections) before and after sexual intercourse, and rinse the vulvar area with cold water after sexual intercourse.

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