Most women experience a vaginal irritation or infection at some point. Symptoms include itching, swelling, pain and redness. You may also experience mild bleeding, unusual discharge and pain when urinating or having sexual intercourse. The longer you allow vaginal itching and swelling to persist, the more uncomfortable you will get. It is important to treat these symptoms as soon as they begin.
See your doctor. Vaginal itching and swelling can be caused by several things, including a yeast infection, a bacterial infection, sexually transmissible diseases or hormone problems. It is important to identify what is causing your symptoms so you can treat them appropriately.
Take medication as prescribed or recommended by your doctor. You may need an anti-fungal medication for a yeast infection. This can be a vaginal suppository or an oral medication. An antibiotic pill or cream is indicated for a bacterial infection and some sexually transmissible diseases. Hormone therapy can help vaginal itching and swelling that is caused by a hormone deficiency.
Avoid sources of irritation while you are healing. Try not to get soap in the area. Use a fragrance-free laundry detergent. Do not scratch if you can help it. All these will irritate tender tissues further and prolong healing. Scratching can also make you susceptible to a secondary infection. Abstain from sexual intercourse until you are fully healed.
Use a cool compress to reduce swelling and itching. It may help to rinse with lukewarm water after using the bathroom and avoiding toilet paper. Sleep bottomless if possible to allow air to circulate in the vaginal area.
Prevent a repeat infection or irritation. Avoid bubble baths and harsh soaps. Do not use scented tampons or pads, as these can create an allergic or sensitive reaction. Wear only cotton underwear, which will not trap heat and moisture. Always use condoms if you are not in a monogamous relationship to avoid getting a sexually transmissible disease.
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If you have an infection, ask your doctor if your sexual partner needs treatment as well. It is possible to spread yeast, bacterial and viral infections back and forth even if your partner has no symptoms.
Antibiotics can cause yeast infections. If you are on an antibiotic, eat yogurt with live active cultures to stave off a yeast overgrowth. If you are prone to yeast infections, ask your doctor for an anti-fungal prescription to take at the first sign of vaginal irritation whenever you are given an antibiotic.