Self Care and Pelvic Pain
Women with pelvic pain and vulvodynia will integrate self-care practices as a means of controlling pain and perineal irritation. In women with vulvar irritation, the following practices may be helpful.
Practices that may be helpful when you have chronic pelvic pain
- Rinse perineal and vulvar area after voiding using a squirt bottle, bidet or shower spray (I like to use a sitz bath with warm water and baking soda and just use my hand. It seems that even face cloths etc… can hurt me area during a flare up.)
- Wash new underclothes and night wear before wearing, rinsing without fabric softener
- Wear only white, 100% cotton underwear
- Consider using boxer type underwear to give your area more room to breathe
- Use soft toilet tissue – white preferred – no bleach (I have found Seven Generation facial tissue to work the best for me – or even Caboo ) (article on bleach in toilet paper)
- Use non-deodorized tampons for menstrual flow (I can use these at all. You could consider a menstrual cup if you can tolerate it. Many use DivaCup with good results)
- Use corn starch powder after bathing, before dressing and at bed time (I don’t do this, but some do – I like to apply pure Vitamin E oil before bed)
- Rinse underclothes carefully after washing – never use dryer sheets – second rinse if possible. I like to use Dr. Bronners castile soap to wash my undergarments in.
- Using a TheraWand for “trigger points”
- Learn how to stand properly. How is your posture?
- Avoid activities that put direct pressure on the vulva, like bicycling and horseback riding. Avoid Intense exercise that creates friction at the perineum.
- Learn how to sit with a neutral pelvis, this decreases pressure on the coccyx and tailbone. Limit sitting time to 15 minute intervals. Time yourself. Use your phone’s reminder feature – set an alarm to get you up and moving.
- Lying down with a pillow under your knees or lying on your side with a pillow between your legs will relieve the weight of your abdomen off your pelvic floor muscles. When you are upright, your pelvic floor is under load.
Practices to avoid when you have chronic pelvic pain
- Minimize perineal scratching
- Use of perfumed soaps and powder
- Wearing of nylon (e.g. pantyhose) or rayon
- Use of perineal pads (Kotex, Modess, etc.)
- Sitting in wet clothing for any period of time (i.e., wet bathing suit)
- Use of lanolin, bubble bath, bath oils, feminine hygiene sprays, etc.
- Routine vaginal douching
- Swimming in heavy chlorinated pools or hot tubs
Here is an article I found at Pelvic Pain Rehab on self care treatment with Pelvic Pain – it is definitely worth a read.
Here is an article on Expert Techniques that Relieve Pelvic Floor Muscle Tension & Pelvic Pain by Michelle Kenway – chocked full of great ideas.
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