Vaginal and vulva infections affect many women at some time in their lives. Symptoms may include external redness or itching of the vulva, increased discharge or itching of the vagina, pain or discomfort with intercourse, or burning of external genital organs with urination. The most common causes are yeast and bacteria which are found all around us; in the air, on articles we touch, and also as a normal part of our body make-up.
Here is a list of things you can do to help keep ther vulva and vagina healthy:
- Do not use perfumed or colored soaps. These can be products such as Irish Spring, Cashmere Bouquet, and some Avon products.
- Do not use deodorant tampons.
- Do not use tampons alone throughout your entire menstral cycle.
- Do not use bath oils, powder or bubble bath.
- Do not use vaginal deodorants or douches. The body has its own cleansing system. Should any foul or unusual discharge occur, call the Student Health Service or your doctor.
- Do not use panty liners.
- No not use dryer fabric softeners such as Bounce. Products usch as Downy do not seem to cause as much irritation.
- Do not use harsh detergents.
- Do not use colored or perfumed toilet paper.
- Do not wear nylon underwear - even if it has a cotton crotch it doesn not allow for ventilation. Wear cotton underwear and cotton crotch pantyhose.
- Do not wear tight fitting slacks. This does not allow for proper air circulation.
- Do not spread bacteria from the rectum to the vagina. Wipe yourself from front to back.
- Do not rely on home remedies to get rid of problems. Call the Student Health Service or your doctor for more information.
Additional helpful hints:
- Dry the vulva well after bathing or swimming. Use your hair dryer to keep the vulva as dry as possible.
- Clean diaphragms and spermicide applicators thoroughly after use.