14 ways to avoid vaginal irritation
Itchiness in and around your vagina: we’ve all experienced it at one point or another. During a meal, at work, at the gym or in bed, an irritated vagina is annoying to say the least. With some simple tips and tricks you can keep that itching at bay!
More than half of women suffer from vaginal irritation. An itchy vagina and increased discharge are the most common complaints. The culprits of an itchy are (vaginal) soap, pads and panty liners that contain perfume, toilet paper, and vaginal deodorant. These products can cause irritation and discharge. Some products will irritate some people more than others. That’s why it’s important to find out what is pleasant for you and your vagina and what ingredients in products you are sensitive to. Awareness of the content of the products that you use in and around your vagina is therefore important. We make conscious choices about what we eat, it’s good to make conscious choices about what you put in and around your vagina too.
Eat healthy below the waist
Your vagina is one of the most absorbent parts of your body. On average you use 10,400 tampons in your life (based on a 28-day menstrual cycle, 13 cycles per year using 20 tampons at a time. And yes, we can look forward to about 40 years of menstruation). And those of us with longer periods or heavier bleeding use between 15,000 and 20,000 tampons in a life time.
Do you know what your tampons, pads and liners contain? Conventional menstrual brands contain a number of ingredients that can cause irritation, like synthetic materials, plastics, dyes, and perfumes. Perfume does not make your vagina happy (or smell good). Also, synthetic materials like rayon can cause irritation because vaginal fluid can accumulate, and the tampon or pad becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Cotton menstrual products are more breathable and therefore less irritating.
Not all cotton is created equal, however. Conventional cotton is the most pesticide heavy crop in the world. Residual pesticides can cause irritation in and around your vagina. That’s why Yoni’s pads, tampons and pantyliners are made from certified organic cotton that is grown without the use of pesticides. Vulva friendly!
How to avoid vaginal itchiness and irritation:
1. Wear cotton underwear
Cotton is breathable. That’s why cotton underwear is the way to go. Wash underwear separately from other clothing with a neutral detergent at a minimum of 60 degrees. If you prefer lace or silk underwear, there are ones available that have a cotton lining.
2. Use organic cotton pads, tampons and pantyliners
Most tampons contain synthetic materials and chemicals, for example plastics and pesticides. Gynaecologists recommend the use of products without these irritating chemicals. Go for menstrual products made from 100% organic cotton. Change your tampons regularly, this keeps the natural flora of your vagina in balance.
3. Avoid wearing tight clothes all the time
Skinny jeans might be your thing, but tight-fitting pants are not your vaginas best friend…at least not all the time. Be sure to let things breath by changing into loser fitting clothes when you come home and be sure to enjoy those loose sweat pants on the weekends.
4. Change shortly after exercising
Exercising can increase irritation due to moisture from sweat. Take off your sweaty clothes as soon as possible after going to the gym to keep bacteria from breeding.
5. For urine leakage use organic cotton material
If you use pantyliners or pads for urine loss, it’s especially important to use ones that do not irritate since these are products you use up to 24/7. Organic cotton is your best option for urine loss material.
6. Don’t use menstrual products if you don’t have to
Only use a tampon and pads if you really have your period. Due to irregular cycles, some people will use menstrual products throughout the month. If possible, try not to use menstrual products if you are not on your period. You might risk a leak, but it will allow your vagina to breathe and relieve irritation.
7. Only wash your vulva with lukewarm water
Your vagina cleans itself and requires no additional products. Don’t scrub your vulva with soap (even vaginal soup). Lukewarm water is all you need!
8. Wash your hands before touching your vagina or vulva
An irritated vulva will itch. But don’t touch it (well not to scratch it that is). If you or someone else touches your vagina or vulva, make sure it’s with clean hands (or clean other body parts).
9. Take a bath with baking soda
If the itchiness is unbearable a bath with baking soda can be quite the relief for your vagina! Speaking of bathing, showers are generally better for your vagina than long baths. Save those for those special self-care days.
10. Use lube during sexual activities if you need it
Friction from sex can cause your vagina to become sensitive and inflamed. This can happen if you’re not producing enough lubrication. Don’t be afraid to grab some lube to decrease friction (and increase pleasure!). Be sure to use a water-based lube without glycerin.
11. Don’t douche
Some people use a vaginal douce after their period or after sex. It’s not necessary however, and it can increase itchiness and burning due to good bacteria being washed away. You’re vagina is self-cleansing so you don’t need to douche.
12. Use clean razors for shaving
Do you shave your vulva? Make sure to use a separate razor blade and change it regularly. Choose a product without perfume. Also opt for shaving oil or shaving gel as these are better for you vulva than shaving cream.
13. Change your eating habits
If you find that you’re already doing most of these tricks and are still suffering from itching, burning and sensitivity then it might be worth changing your eating habits to see if this makes a difference. Eating less sugar and drinking a lot of water can make a big difference!
14. When to see your doctor.
The condition of your vagina is like the weather: not always predictable and subject to change. Vaginal irritation like an itchy vagina or vulva, usually blows over, but if it lingers then it’s time to have your doctor check it out. Other symptoms that warrant a doctors visit are: red and painful vulva or vagina, pain while peeing or during sex, changes in odor, color or amount of discharge and chronic vaginal irritation. 15% of women with vaginal symptoms have an STD, so don’t hesitate to go to the doctor if you have any of these symptoms.