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Prevention and Self-Care for the Vaginal Area

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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.

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