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Pelvic Wellness Program



While you are seeking effective treatment for vulvar problems, here are some coping measures to relieve symptoms and prevent further irritation.  Even when your symptoms are under control, these guidelines are recommended as a preventive strategy.

Clothing and Laundry

  • Wear all-white cotton underwear.
  • Do not wear pantyhose (wear thigh-high or knee-high hose instead).
  • Remove wet bathing suits and exercise clothing promptly.  Avoid exercise in tight synthetic clothes.  Avoid thongs completely.
  • Wear loose-fitting pants or skirts.  Take your underwear off when at home and go without underpants.
  • Use dermatologically approved detergents such as Purex or Clear, Arm & Hammer (Sensitive Skin) All Free and Clear.
  • Double-rinse underwear and any other clothing that comes into contact with the vulva.
  • Do not use bleach or fabric softener on undergarments.


Sexual Intercourse

  • Use a lubricant that is water soluble, e.g., slippery stuff, but be aware that it contains propylene glycol (P.G.).  A dab of cooking oil is fine if condoms are not used.
  • Ask your physician for a prescription for a topical anesthetic, e.g., Lidocaine, get 5% (this may sting for the first 3-5 minutes after application).
  • Apply ice or a frozen blue gel pack (lunch box size) wrapped in one layer of a hand towel to relieve burning after intercourse.  Frozen corn or peas in a small sealed plastic bag mold comfortably to vulvar anatomy.
  • Urinate (to prevent infection) and rinse the vulva with cool water after sexual intercourse.


Physical Exercise

  • Avoid exercises that put direct pressure on the vulva such as bicycle riding and horseback riding.
  • 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 towel to relieve symptoms after exercise.
  • Enroll in a yoga class to learn stretching and relaxation exercises.
  • Don’t swim in highly chlorinated pools.
  • Avoid the use of hot tubs.


Everyday Living

  • Use a sitting cushion for long periods of sitting.
  • If you must sit at work, try to rotate periods of sitting and standing (e.g., rearrange your office so that you can stand while you speak on the phone).
  • Learn some relaxation techniques to do during the day (The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Davis, Eshelman and McKay or The Chronic Pain Control Workbook by Catalano and Hardin are recommended).



©  Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute     Creation Date:  August 2015