Take a look at these personal care tips from Dr. Echenberg. Triggers that increase your pain sensitivity could be hiding in your self-care routine.
1. CHANGE YOUR PAD OFTEN
Because the pH balance of the vagina changes during your period, you can be more susceptible to vaginal infections during this time. In addition, damp pads and blood can cause irritation and also open the door for infection. As a preventative, change your pad every two hours. Be careful of tampon use as they soak in far more irritating fluids than pads and the insertion of tampons alone can cause pain to the already inflamed and sensitive genital tissues. Be sure to use menstrual products that are free of perfumes and any harsh ingredients. We recommend: Natracare
2. USE UNSCENTED LAUNDRY PRODUCTS
Perfumed laundry soap, fabric softener, and scented dryer sheets can inflame the genital area. Look for versions of your favorite products that are unscented and free and clear of dyes. Many store brands even have a free and clear version of these products. It also might be worth considering alternatives like wool dryer balls and DIY recipes so you know exactly what's inside.
3. WASH YOUR VAGINAL AREA WITH WATER ONLY
That's right! It might sound strange but the external genitalia doesn't need any more than water. Soap can upset the sensitive balance of the vaginal flora and increase symptoms. If you feel like water just isn't enough you can try unscented soaps. But be aware that it's possible to have a sensitivity to glycerin (the main ingredient in many unscented soaps) so take note of any irritation. There are glycerin-free alternatives but pay close attention to their other ingredients.
4. BEND OVER TO RINSE OUT SHAMPOO
When you rinse your hair in the shower be sure to bend over in a way that shampoo can't run down over your vulvar area. Chemical ingredients, perfumes, and dyes can cause an adverse reaction when coming in contact with your genitals.
5. WIPE THE RECTAL AREA PROPERLY
Vaginal infections can be caused by bacteria from the rectum. Always wipe from front to back and change your underwear when possible after a bowel movement as bacteria can remain on the underwear.
Stephanie Yeager: Passionate about spreading the word of hope and healing for those like her, influencing a paradigm shift in the medical community toward greater understanding of chronic pelvic pain disorders, and prevention initiatives that may protect young women before onset can occur.