5 Tips to Prevent Vulvar Irritation

Here are some Self-Help tips to relieve symptoms and prevent further irritation

Here are some Self-Help tips to relieve symptoms and prevent further irritation. Even when your symptoms are under control, these guidelines are recommended as preventive strategies.

Clothing and Laundry

  • Wear all-white cotton underwear.
  • Do not wear pantyhose (wear thigh high or knee high hose instead).
  • Wear loose-fitting pants or skirts.
  • Remove wet bathing suits and exercise clothing promptly.
  • Use dermatologically approved detergent.
  • Double-rinse underwear and any other clothing that comes into contact with the vulva.
  • Do not use fabric softener on undergarments.


  • Use soft, white, unscented toilet paper.
  • Avoid getting shampoo on the vulvar area.
  • Rinse the vulva with water after urination.
  • Urinate before the bladder is full.
  • Use 100% cotton menstrual pads and tampons.
  • Use lukewarm or cool baths to relieve burning and irritation.
  • Do not use bubble bath, feminine hygiene products, or any perfumed creams or soaps.
  • Wash the vulva with cool to lukewarm water only.
  • Prevent constipation by adding fiber to your diet (if necessary, use a psyllium product such as Metamucil) and drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily.

S*xual intercourse

  • Use a water-based lubricant.
  • Do not use contraceptive creams or spermicides.
  • Apply ice or a frozen blue gel pack in one layer of a hand towel and apply to the vulva for 15 minutes to relieve burning after intercourse.
  • Urinate (to prevent infection) and rinse vulva with cool water after s*xual intercourse.

Physical Activities

  • Avoid exercises that put direct pressure on the vulva such as bicycle riding and horseback riding.
  • Avoid the use of hot tubs.
  • Enroll in an exercise class such as yoga to learn stretching and relaxation exercises.
  • Limit intense exercises that create a lot of friction in the vulvar area (try lower intensity exercises such as walking).
  • Use a frozen gel pack wrapped in a clean thin towel or tee shirt to relieve symptoms after exercise.
  • Don’t swim in highly chlorinated pools.

Everyday Living

  • Use a foam rubber for long periods of sitting.
  • If you must sit all day at work, try to intersperse periods of standing (e.g. rearrange your office so that you can stand while you speak on the phone).

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