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Living with Vulvodynia: Some Practical Advice

Editor's Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a trained healthcare professional.

Today's guest post is by Catherine Clavering of Kiss Me Deadly. A trained psychologist, Catherine started Kiss Me Deadly after becoming disabled in 2007 and has been annoying and amusing on the internet ever since (depending on your perspective). She likes stats, shapewear, and arguing. Want to read more by Catherine? Take a look at one of her previous posts - Bra Fit Science: Why Sampling Methods for Lingerie Research Matter.

Intimbereich einer junger Frau die steht

Alternate Title: "What underwear should I wear if I feel like a 100 tiny cactuses are living in my crotch?"

As some of you may recall, last year I spoke about having some disabilities in the form of chronic illnesses, some of which affect my genitals. So now that we've totally given up on any form of work/life boundary, and you know WAY more about me than I ever thought I'd say, I feel like it's time to talk about lingerie and vulvodynia in a bit more depth. Yes? Yes! Whoo! Let's get technically accurate about crotches! Also, I commit mild cursing at times in this article. Happily, I can justify this on the grounds that research shows this is a good way to reduce pain.

We need to talk terms first, because we live in a world in which most of us don't understand our own anatomy, which makes for a great scene in Orange Is The New Black but a really poor basis for managing our own health, amongst other things.

Most people call the entire female genitalia and nether regions the vagina. Or, more normally, some made-up word (Toot! Frou-frou! Ladybits! Add your favourites in the comments below!).

Anyway, it helps to understand that medically, the vagina is only the inside part, and that the technical term for the outside of your genitals is vulva. There's the clitoris (for fun), urethra (for peeing), the labia (lips - outer and inner), the vestibule (the entrance of the vagina), and then the fourchette, which leads to the perineum and the anus (for poo).

All of this is full of lots of nerves (for sensitivity) and blood vessels. Your vagina is NOT a passive hole; it's an active, responsive organ (as is the clitoris) that can get engorged and expand... or indeed can contract and go into "lockdown" mode. There's also the pelvic floor, which is the muscles that manage your lower internal organs and your control over peeing and pooing. This is normally mostly unconscious, but you can learn to control it.

Anyway, mostly, your standard female anatomy is pretty damn amazing. It's got a delicate balance that it manages to keep in the face of all sorts of drama (digestive issues, cystitis, antibiotics, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, certain sports, swimming in chlorinated water, nylon, stupid health fads, etc).

Vulvas come in all sorts of colours, shapes and sizes, but like people, most don't get represented in mainstream media, so if you don't like yours, maybe get some diverse models into your eyeline before doing anything drastic.

The downside is, at least one in 16 women will experience vulvodynia at some point in their lives. Vulvodynia is persistent, unexplained pain in the vulva. It can happen constantly (often a sort of burning pain) or only when there is pressure on your vulva or vestibule (for example, if you use a tampon or have some sort of genital sex). We don't really know why it happens, but, as usual, stress, infections, trauma or injuries don't help. There are support groups in the UK and the US to help those affected.

Happily, for most, it will be brief and you will recover. The odd one or two of us get stuck managing it for longer, but please be reassured – that's very rare. Rarer still are conditions like mine, lichen sclerosus, an autoimmune skin condition which makes the skin fragile and itchy as hell.

Vulvodynia is NOT sexually transmitted, though it may be mistaken for an STD or yeast infection. If you have a clear screening but still have pain and/or itching, don't let your doctor just drop it. Request to see a specialist.

Happily, in the event that you do have vulvodynia, there are plenty of things you can do that can help (though, again, you should also see a specialist).

Change Your Underwear

Picture By James Ram.

Short Leg Cotton Knickers from The Big Bloomers Company

The standard advice of vulval pain support groups is to switch to loose fitting cotton underwear.

Why loose fitting? Because if the vulva is feeling overly sensitised, you want to reduce the pressure of fabric rubbing, pushing, and pulling on the skin.

Why cotton? Because it's breathable, so you're not building up heat or sweat. You've probably noticed that most knickers have cotton gussets anyway, and this is because we all know that a synthetic gusset is likely to dispose you to developing yeast infections anyway!

I took this one step further and just gave up wearing underpants for the most part. They're a relatively modern invention, and I have no pressing reason to wear them most of the month. But most women don't feel comfortable with this (plus even I have to put them on so as not to upset my physical therapist sometimes), so here's a more detailed breakdown of suitable knickers fabrics.

Breathable, natural fibres that you can find underwear in:

  • Paper – the best pair of underpants I ever had was a shirred cottonwool and paper affair from a medical procedure. Damn, but those things were amazing! I don't think you can get them outside of hospitals, but you can get paper pants for festivals and so on, which can be useful if you need a pair to store in your bag for emergencies.
  • Cotton - sold in pretty much every mainstream store, though you might get stuck with plainer styles. Note: you may want to avoid bleached cotton.
  • Bamboo – I cannot sing the praises of bamboo enough. It's an amazing fabric, and I find it much nicer than cotton. It's currently rarer, but lots of organic/natural places do it; try searching Etsy for a start.
  • Modal – very occasionally I see modal fabric underwear. It's similar to bamboo in how it wears but is, I believe, made from beech!
  • Silk – if you want beautiful, sensuous panties in a breathable fabric, go silk. And check for a silk gusset rather than cotton! This will also reduce the thickness of the gusset, which can help if you can't bear to feel a wad of innocuous fabrics roll up when you cross your leg or similar. Try Ayten Gasson for 100% silk styles.

Avoid Like the Plague:

red slip

  • Cheap sex-shop underwear – they don't expect you to wear it for long so healthy gussets are not a thing! Even posh sex shops can be a nightmare (I'm looking at you, brand that made expensive PVC knickers a couple of years ago!).
  • Latex – technically natural but about as breathable as a rain boot.
  • Polyester, nylon/polyamide, acrylic – all of these are synthetic but can feel like silk and be described as satin. These are the most common fabrics used, and they will be on the fabric content label. Check for a cotton gusset if you really like them.
  • Elastane/Lycra - so-so... it really depends on the content level. 5% elastane in a silk mix helps with fit and durability, but once you get up to the amounts used in pantyhose and tights, well, yuck.


  • Viscose and Rayon - Rayon in particular used to be common in the 1930s, but I've not seen anything modern in lingerie made with it so I have no idea.

But What About Lingerie Styles?

victorian lingerie

When it comes to styles, the rule is "the looser the better," as long as they don't have peculiar movements that slice into your groin. Think Victorian open drawers!


  • I would avoid pantygirdles with hooks and eye or poppers at the crotch, because OW.
  • I haven't tried ouvert/open crotch styles, but for some, the pain is so intense and widespread, that the pressure of the straps or fabric left would cause problems.
  • Worried about visible pantyline? Can't fit voluminous victorian drawers under your cocktail sheath? My favourite pants for this are from Sloggi, who do some very high cotton content, laser cut, lycra imbued seamless shorties; these are the best compromise I have found. Some other brands do similar things, and can be cheaper, but Sloggi quality does last for years.
  • I have yet to meet anyone with vulval pain who likes wearing thongs (g-strings)!

Washing Your Scanties (and Indeed Yourself)

Pretty much the rule with vulvodynia is to get very minimalist. Find the plainest, gentlest, and, crucially, non-biological detergent (Editor's Note: I believe we refer to biological detergents as having "enzymes" in the States) you can for washing. The same with fabric softener if you must use it. That means most of the lingerie specialist stuff is out as much of it is fairly heavily scented.


Neither your vulva nor your vagina need soap of any kind. Just clean, plain water. Avoid getting anything soapy near you like the plague. Try not to dribble shampoo on yourself; no shower gels, no soaps, no bubble baths, no deodorants, no deodorant wipes - not even a baby wipe. I really can't emphasize this enough. I hate to sound like an old hippie but really... your poor frightened vulva just needs some alone time to sort itself out. It's pretty good at rebalancing.

Want a relaxing bath with something in it? Porridge oat baths are the new Cleopatra. Aveeno makes colloidal oatmeal bath oil. I can never get hold of it so I just shove some porridge oats into a muslin bag and squeeze. That's just the kind of glamourpuss I am.

Going near chlorinated water? Protect your skin with a barrier cream such as aqueous cream (Editor's Note: I believe Aquaphor is a popular US brand), Vaseline, or Epaderm.

If you're in a country where you can get it, Lidocaine (Lignocaine) 2-5% will numb your skin and give you pain relief. Just try and make sure you get hold of a cream or ointment with no perfumes etc. in it. The most commonly available cream is Vagisil, but that is PACKED with other stuff to make it shiny and scented, and that could make your symptoms worse.

Lets Talk Periods.

Loose underwear with a period is a bad idea. Tampons? Could well be very tricky. Ditto mooncups etc. Basically, it's complication city. There's no easy way out of this I'm afraid. I just find the best cottony towels and the most comfortable period pants that keep them in place, and just get through it, changing them often. However; if you and whoever you might choose to share a bed with can stand it, join the free bleeders – drop the underwear at night, stick a large cotton towel or... two... or three (did I mention that I have a hemophilia disorder too?) underneath you and just live with the extra laundry.

woman lowers her panties and shows waxed pubic area

The lingerie industry is a bit allergic to pubic hair; it never make its way into product shots. It's entirely up to you what you do about how you look, but you might want to avoid aggravating things while the area is more sensitive than usual. Pretty much all hair removal methods involve either ripping it out by the roots, which causes pain and micro abrasions, or harsh chemicals, which we already know are a bad idea at this stage.

There's a whole essay to be written here, but it's not really the right blog for it and well, I get bored of people thinking lingerie is about sex anyways. So, here's just a few things:

  1. Sex isn't just about your genitals. Use your brain... and everything else.
  2. When you are in pain, your muscles contract. This also causes pain, which is a really unhelpful feedback loop, but also makes the natural process of arousal challenging to manage. Ask your doctors for biofeedback and sex therapy to help you untangle that mess.
  3. It's you that's sexy. Not the lingerie you can't wear anymore. Not the skinny jeans you're avoiding. Not your bubble baths. If you're with someone and they don't figure that out, well, then they don't deserve you.

Have any of you struggled with Vulvodynia? What are some of your tips?

Article Tags : , , ,
Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

33 Comments on this post

  1. Jessica says:

    I’m very sorry but a lot of this advice is outdated and is counterproductive. I have been living with vulva pain for 15 years and now 10 years without it.
    Yes to cotton. But a big NO to loose fitting. The more loose, the more it will rub. Get something that stays in place. And please do wear underwear. Everyone with a vagina will have discharge and it running about everywhere will not help you stay clean. I have some loose shorties and the pain comes back when I wear them too much. I only wear them while sleeping.
    And please do shave. Use a ladyshave, not razors. Just so it’s short-ish. The more hair, the more it will rub and the less it stays clean. Cleanliness is very important I have found.
    And the last…. Do use some sort of soap. Not the harsh bars, but something like shower gel. I use the ones from Lush. There’s a certain film that will never get off with just water. Once I started cleaning that off, the pain disappeared over time. Your vagina will balance itself. But you do need to clean it and water does NOT do the trick.
    Oh and BTW, I do wear thongs ;-) So you’ve finally ‘met’ someone. It rubs the least of all.

    • Cora says:

      “Different things work for me” is not the same “outdated and counterproductive.”

      But I’m glad you’ve found what works, and thank you for sharing your tips here in case they might be useful to other people.

  2. I have found using a pillow between my knees at night while sleeping helps keep the area dry. Better sleeping! Less irritation.

  3. Clare Clare says:

    After 18 months, eleven doctors three physios, and acupuncture, I have finally been diagnosed with vulvodynia. There is a very helpful site called Patient, and once signed in find the post on vulvodynia with ongoing advice and help. GPs know nothing about this and seemingly care less! I finally saw Dr Fiona Lewis at
    Guys Hospital in London, and she diagnosed me. There is a lot you can do to help yourself, so just keep googling, and don’t take no for an answer. Pelvic physio made a huge difference, over the past year, and mediatation helps too. Headspace app is great! Every woman is different and every case of vulvodynia is different, so what helps one may or may not help another. Good luck!

  4. Rose says:

    Thank you, this was a great article. I can add something about periods though. My sister and I have discovered natural sanitary towels, no chemicals or anything added. I’m not sure in America where or what brand but in the UK Natracare are a good brand.

  5. Jenny says:

    This is a very late comment but I have just come across this website and felt the need to comment on this article. I have suffered with unknown vulva discomfort since the age of 13 (now 22), every time I go to the gynaecologist I get told nothing is wrong and get sent home. I’ve never heard of Vulvodynia but it’s the first but it’s the first time I’ve seen something which can happen despite tests coming back all clear after much searching of what on earth is wrong with me. I live by cotton underwear, thank you for the useful sites as I do struggle to find them sometimes. I use sanex zero if I must use any soap and always use non bio washing powder. I may not have vulvodynia but it is extremely helpful to at least have something to suggest to the doctor as I never seem to get anywhere with it. Thank you very much for all the useful information, just want an answer to what’s wrong really. Thank you, take care!

  6. ZeddyH says:

    This is actually super interesting and something I really want to bring up to my doctor as I experience a lot of the issues in the article and just thought that’s how my body is! Thank you!!

  7. Erica says:

    This is such a great post! I wish I had read it when dealing with vulvodynia in my early 20s. I would like to add something else, seeing a pelvic floor PT was incredibly helpful for me in getting this awful disorder under control. There was also a LOT of trial and error involved, to figure out what worked for me. <3

  8. Melissa Brown says:

    Two things: reusable menstrual pads are great. Lunapads and Party in my pants are my two favourite brands.

    Also: Wool underwear! It breathes AND dries quick which is great if you work outside and get sweaty. Ibex and icebreaker make some really cute wool underwear.

  9. Lis says:

    Thank you SO much for this article! So much useful information, and lots of hints and tips in the comments, too. I’d just like to add that using a sero pressure cushion from Putnams (made in Britain) with a Dr Huff cut-out makes sitting down so much easier, particularly if you have a sedentary job.

  10. Bert says:

    I finally found a cure for vulvodynia my gyn has me insert a estrogen ring called E-String every 90 days it gave me back my life.If u can’t u estrogen that next best thing is just use plain cocoanut oil it really works

  11. richiet says:

    I full support wearing long skirts with no underwear to let air get to the perineal area for women who have a history of chronic infections. I used to get chronic yeast infections, but now, when I feel one coming on, I dont wear underwear and I take the Lady Soma Candida Pills. Those two things combined make sure I never get the yeast infection, and if it starts, it goes away in 1-2 days.

  12. Kay says:

    This is a late comment, but I bet that many people are still discovering this post. When I was first diagnosed with vulvodynia, there did not seem to be any effective treatment options. I basically gave up and had chronic pain for over a decade. Thankfully, there has been a lot of new research since my diagnosis (to a great extent because patient activists lobbied for more medical research funds). Like one of the other posters, I have had great results with a compounded topical medication (TCA-gabapentin-baclofen) now prescribed by many vulvodynia experts. I also stopped washing my vulva with soap (water keeps everything healthy), mostly use non-bio detergent for undergarments, switched to organic cotton pads and panty liners (I had been using a notoriously irritating brand previously and hadn’t realized until I made the switch), wear cotton- or silk-gusset panties (no thongs!), treat my (rare) yeast infections early, and apply organic aloe vera (Aubrey Organics) whenever I feel a bit uncomfortable. And I only use organic aloe vera (Sliquids) or Pre-seed lube. I haven’t tried ointment prior to swimming but plan to – sounds like a great idea. It’s hard for me to express how amazing it is not to have pain all the time. If you think you have vulvodynia and your OB doesn’t get it, insist on seeing a specialist. I’m normally a low key minimalist (being a non-organic-food-scarfing primary care doc myself), but no one should live with chronic pain when there are alternatives. Thanks for the great post (just placed my first KMD order!) and all the informative responses.

  13. What a wonderful post. As I sit here squirming – I know from experience that white baggy cotton underwear is the best for pelvic pain. (having a flare up) I have been doing trigger point inter-vaginal work with a physiotherapist and it has helped to eliminate allot of my pelvic pain. After 4 years of “phantom” pain and tons of doctors with no answers – I have come to find out I have a hypertonic pelvic floor. I have developed a new website as a clearing house for information for other pelvic floor sufferers. – I will definitely be posting your great advice. THANK YOU for spreading the word. We should not have to suffer for years for something that can be treated. Ignorance is not bliss! :)

  14. Sara says:

    I came here from my KMD newsletter to specifically comment on this article. I too suffer from vulvodynia and I also suffer from vaginismus (an even meaner disease when they go hand in hand because you have pain all over and then you can’t endure penetration!). It is nice to know there are fellow sufferers around. I too am full of chronic illnesses and they are awful. Especially the invisible ones.

  15. Irene says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post, Catherine. I’m now pretty sure that the condition I’ve been suffering from for as long as I can remember is vulvar vestibulitis, which makes penetration with tampons or during sex rather painful (though thankfully I never feel pain in the area otherwise, so I can wear pretty underwear from KMD!). I went to a checkup a few months ago and explained my symptoms to my gynecologist, who performed various tests and told me everything seemed perfectly healthy and alright, though he was truly baffled by the pain I felt. It’s relieving to know I’m not just “weird” and that there’s other people who suffer from it.

  16. Catherine says:

    Thank you so much to everyone who has commented – I’m both pleased and amused that it’s managed to spark a discussion about both vulval health and fabric technology! Unfortunately I’m not well enough at to reply to you all individually right now but I have read everything.

  17. Tulip Noire says:

    Just for the record, while modal, tencel and bamboo fabrics are all considered rayon that doesn’t mean that they all have the same properties. Rayon is an umbrella term used for many fabrics, but these fabrics are not created equal. Rayon (also known as viscose) is simply a fabric made from cellulose most commonly derived from wood pulp. Bamboo is directly derived from, well, bamboo. Modal and tencel are created by more refined processes (compared to the original viscose process), and have different properties. The cellulose used to create modal is derived specifically from beech trees and notably softer and stronger than rayon. What sets tencel apart is the modernity behind the process that uses nano technology to create an incredibly diverse material. Tencel is smoother than modal or rayon, is hypo allergenic, highly absorptive and strong.

  18. Tulip Noire says:

    I’m so happy that someone wrote this article, I suffer from vulvar vestibulitis and I often wonder what others do to deal with the pain. I unfortunately have not been successful with treatment and short of laser therapy there isn’t anything else to try.

    I go panty-less around the house or while running errands in my neighborhood, but due to general decency I wear panties out of the house. In many cases I will choose a thong over briefs, since the thong cant bunch up casing extra friction around my genitals. When I do go with briefs I generally choose a full coverage brief that will stay put, I have a fair share of Kiss me Deadly since well they’re just pretty and Rhonda Shear as a less pretty but practical option, otherwise I wear cotton panties from target.
    I go back and forth about hair, too much causes irritation and friction but shaving completely means bumps and general itch. I often use trimmers to crop the length down to 1/4 inch which serves as and decent medium.
    I find that a light moisturizer can also be really helpful if I’m having a flair up.

  19. Ruth Boyd says:

    Thanks for the great article! I’ve struggled with vulvodynia for years (mainly due to a medication I was on) and tried…. Everything! You can feel very helpless and alone, and doctors are so unwilling to investigate any further than thrush or std treatment. My sister and I have both struggled with it. And found different tricks that help. For me, coming off that medication really helped – and apart from that I worked out it was all about hydration. Water, water water – drinking loads of it. I found that if I wasn’t properly hydrated the skin on my vulva would be sorer.add to that dehydrated pee and you’ve got a recipe for stingy bits. The other thing I found helpful was mild aqueous cream. I carry a little pot of it everywhere and slather it on when the pain starts. It helps hugely. If I’m going through a really sore patch I might even pop some cotton wool pads with aqueous cream in my gusset and let it all have a lovely moisturising cushiony time. This doesn’t work for my sister though, who swears by 100% aloe Vera gel – which stings me like buggery! So I guess that’s the problem with vulvodynia – we’re all different. Which is why articles and comments like on this page are so important. When you’re suffering you will try anything, and when you’ve run out of ideas it can all a a bit despairing. Thanks for the article and good luck everyone!

  20. Bex says:

    Thank you for this… I have had this and related Pudendal nerve issues, and I just wanted to let you know about a recent improvement on the lidocaine suggestion that was prescribed to me by my gynecologist recently. She had a compounding pharmacy make up a cream with calendula, lidocaine, and Gabapetin (a nuropathic pain medication) which I applied twice a day and I have never found anything else which was so effective.

  21. Amy Krebsbach says:

    Just wanted to note that both bamboo and modal are types of rayon–in other words, they’re manufactured fabrics made from plant-derived cellulose, which is itself a natural fiber. The manufacturing process for modal is slightly different from most other types of rayon, which may or may not (depending on whom you ask) make the finished product softer and more absorbent than other rayons. Modal is often made from beech cellulose, but not necessarily.
    As for bamboo rayon, while it is often of a higher quality than non-bamboo rayon, this is a function of it being processed more carefully (because it will ultimately sell at a higher price point). Good-quality rayons from other sources of cellulose are completely and 100% indistinguishable from bamboo rayon in its finished form, which is why the FTC does not allow bamboo rayon to be labeled simply as “bamboo”–the rayon-making process strips cellulose down to its most basic form before reconstituting it, and any special properties bamboo has *as a plant* are lost. Manufacturers of bamboo rayon will often say that bamboo has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, for example, and that’s true as far as it goes–bamboo itself does have those properties. Bamboo rayon, however, does not. It’s still nice rayon, usually, but it doesn’t have any special qualities.

  22. A very interesting and useful article! One useful snippet from the person who’s been studying manufactured fibres and underwear for months now: as far as I know, modal is a microfiber version of rayon (and viscose is another name for rayon).

  23. anon says:

    TMI maybe – but I have found life-changing relief from over the counter products that are designed to rebalance the ph of the vaginal flora. Rephresh is the brand I use but there are others.
    Also a note to all cotton underwear – cotton does breathe, but once it is wet it takes forever to dry so a cotton blended with nylon or spandex (95/5%) is often more comfortable than 100% cotton.

  24. Megan says:

    Great article! Like many women, I occasionally have flare ups of this sort and it’s hard to find relief – a plain, water-only bath helps me. The most comfortable pants for these episodes I’ve found are actually your “big pants” styles from KMD. No riding up, no pinching, no wedgies, and the panty lines really aren’t that noticeable. Plus they are beautiful, which matters. Thanks for this post – very thoughtful!

  25. Linda says:

    Hi all, I was diagnosed with acute eczema a few months back had real itchiness and burning sensation within the labia and vaginal opening topped off by a dry vagina due to my menopause, I had to end up having a biopsy as the GP was baffled as to what it was and wanted to rule out lichens sclerosis. I go knicker less as often as possible and actually find thongs made of cotton with lycra much more comfortable than a full brief I don’t use any soap on the nether regions and when it really flares up I have a mild steroid cream most sex especially penetrative is out of the question, the eczema isn’t like the type you get on other parts of the body it isn’t scabby or weepy the vulva skin is very shiny and thin and dry it can sometimes feel like hundreds of tiny pin pricks or sitting on razor blades so ladys whatever problems your having down there don’t self treat go and see your GP and get referred to a specialist. …

  26. Molly says:

    Bamboo fabric is actually a form of rayon! The process of turning it into fabric is not terribly natural, and since 2009, American and Canadian markets should be labeling the fabric “rayon from bamboo” instead of just “bamboo.” It is still a lovely, soft, breathable fabric, so I still buy it when I can. If you’re tried bamboo panties, you’ve tried rayon.

  27. Carolina says:

    I’m actually finding this quite interesting. I’ve often suffer from yeast infections, before I began my sex life, and particularly when I started it. I often find myself having to stop sex because I find it painful, and I was wondering when can I learn more about Vulvodynia?

  28. Laura says:

    This actually might explain some issues I’ve had in the past. Going to have to do a bit of research!

    Also, Eucalan makes an unscented, no-rinse, delicates wash that might be worth looking into. It’s often marketed for washing hand knit items and can be found in a lot of yarn shops. Amazon also sells it.

  29. Gina says:

    I don’t have vulvodynia, but I do have extremely sensitive and allergic skin. My “safe” products regularly cause me to break into hives, which is a major plus over going to the emergency room.
    If you’re very sensitive to soaps/lotions, handwashing all your underwear then dunking them in a mild vinegar rinse can help a lot (if you aren’t troubled by vinegar),
    I have trouble with plain sink water (like the kind in the shower) due to the chlorine content (or any additives), but you can buy a shower head with a built in filter/purifier which can help a lot.

  30. Avigayil says:

    This is a very helpful article. On and off I have had what I thought are yeast infections except they came back negative *blarg* so I just stopped bothering the doctor. I never knew wtf. It always tends to happen among really high stress times and I feel itchy and sensitive and I want to scream. I use all natural skin care, hair care, makeup, and cleaning products as I already have skin allergies so I knew it wasn’t a product allergy. I would stop wearing underwear (I have like no cotton underwear) and try not to go nutz. I tried sex during it once and that was like… BAD IDEA. I wish there was something that could calm it down when it does flare up.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Avigayil, I wonder if the doctor didn’t culture for a more rare, but pernicious candida glabrata. After years of yeast problems, I was cultured for this yeast. My primary care doctor (who is also an infectious disease doctor) had me use Diflucan weekly for years (continuously, no on and off depending on symptoms) and now I am yeast free.

  31. Shadilly says:

    Actually, sometimes even plain water is too much for an itchy, sensitive vulva. I was recommended olive oil to wash with, and it did wonders. Be careful with oils made for washing as they tend to have mineral oil mixed into them. A cheap olive oil from the store is the best. Take care!

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