Vulvar Pain: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

The vulva is the area around the opening of the vagina. The cause of vulvar pain (vulvodynia) is not always clear, but it may include inflamed nerves, allergies, skin diseases, diabetes, or infection. You may have pain just in the vulva, or it may reach to the rectal area or legs. Vulvar pain can flare up with activities such as sitting on a bicycle, having sex, or inserting a tampon.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Relieve itching with a cold water compress or cool baths. Do not scratch the area.
  • Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes. Avoid nylon and other fabric that holds moisture close to the skin. This may allow an infection to start.
  • Do not douche, unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Limit exercise that can irritate the vulva, such as bike riding or horseback riding.
  • Avoid hot baths, and do not use soaps or bath products to wash your vulvar area. Rinse with water only, and gently pat the area dry.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the vulvar area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have unusual vaginal discharge.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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