Whether you have dryness and irritation, frequent infections, pain, or all of the above, the following strategies may help prevent or lesson symptoms. For example:
- Wait for soreness in your vagina and on your vulva to heal before having vaginal intercourse.
- Stay away from harsh products such as deodorant soaps and wet wipes that contain alcohol. Avoid bath oils and bubble baths.
- Avoid using any products with fragrance near this area.
- Avoid exercises that put excess pressure or friction on your crotch, such as stationary bike riding, spinning, or cycling.
- Wear wide-crotch soft cotton underpants without lace in the crotch area; stay away from thongs.
- Stay out of hot tubs or swimming pools, as the hot water temperature and chlorine can burn and dry you out further.
- Use a barrier cream such as Aquaphor or Eucerin on the vulva area when you take a bath or if you must swim in a chlorinated pool.
- If at all possible, avoid antihistamine pills taken for allergies, as these have a drying effect on all of the body’s mucous membranes.
The following additional tips can be helpful in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs):
- Holding urine long past the “got to go” point probably isn’t a good idea.
- Always wipe from front to back (to prevent the spread of bacteria into the vaginal area).
- Urinate just before and just after vaginal intercourse/penetration. The pressure can push bacteria up the urethra and into the bladder.
- Limit your consumption of fluids that can irritate the bladder, such as coffee, alcohol, tea, and sodas.
- Increase your intake of water, which helps flush out the bladder and urethra more frequently and can prevent the buildup of bacteria.
- Some research shows that cranberry tablets can help the prevent UTIs. Cranberry juice isn’t recommended because of the high sugar content.