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What to avoid to prevent a vaginal infection from getting worse

Our intimate area is sensitive and if left unattended, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and vaginal infections. An expert weighs in to share things to avoid while treating vaginal infections and itch.
Vaginal infection
Don't make your vaginal infection worse. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Purvi Kalra Published: 9 Mar 2024, 20:49 pm IST
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Medically Reviewed by

Our intimate area is sensitive and prone to issues like infection or itching. While reaching out to products that can provide relief from such concerns is common, vaginal itching creams should not be your first pick. It is best to seek guidance from a gynaecologist before you use a vaginal itching cream for relief. However, it is important to understand the underlying cause of vaginal itching before using any over-the-counter medication.

Health Shots got in touch with gynecologist Dr Deepa Dewan to understand things to avoid while treating vaginal infections and itch.

Can Hydrocortisone cream be used for private parts or vaginal itching?

Mild steroid creams can be used for itching and inflammation in the genital area, including the vulva and external vaginal area, under certain circumstances and with caution. It is essential to use hydrocortisone cream for genital itching under the guidance of a healthcare provider, such as a gynaecologist. They can assess your symptoms, diagnose any underlying conditions, and recommend appropriate treatment, says the expert.

things to avoid while treating vaginal infections
Treat vaginal infections under check with these precautions. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

He adds, “It is important to note that we should be meticulous about using Hydrocortisone cream, for they are meant to be used for a brief period and under medical supervision, typically for a few days to a week. Prolonged or excessive use of hydrocortisone cream in the genital area can lead to thinning of the skin, increased risk of infection, and other adverse effects. Internal use of Hydrocortisone creams is not recommended.”

Things to avoid while treating vaginal infections and itch

When treating vaginal infections and itch, it is important to avoid certain actions or substances that can make the symptoms worse or interfere with the effectiveness of treatment. Here are some things to avoid:

1. Avoid sexual activity

Refrain from sexual activity, including vaginal, oral and anal sex, until the infection has cleared and symptoms have resolved. Sexual activity can irritate the vaginal area and potentially spread the infection to sexual partners.

2. Do not douche

Avoid douching or using feminine hygiene products that contain fragrances, dyes, or harsh chemicals. Douching disrupts the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina and can exacerbate vaginal infections and irritation, reckons the expert.

3. Avoid tight clothing

Go for loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton. Avoid tight-fitting clothing, synthetic fabrics, and underwear made from materials that trap moisture, as they can promote the growth of yeast and bacteria.

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4. Limit moisture

“Wet vaginal area becomes a breeding ground for infections. You may use wipes to keep the genital area clean and dry, especially after bathing or swimming. Avoid sitting in wet or damp clothing for prolonged periods, as moisture can create an environment conducive to fungal and bacterial growth,” says the expert.

5. Avoid irritants

Avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths, perfumed lotions, and other products that may contain irritants or allergens. Fragrance can cause irritation and further aggravate the issue so go for fragrance-free products that are gentle and are formulated for sensitive skin.

things to avoid while treating vaginal infections
Vaginal infections can be common, but you can manage them well with these tips. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

6. Do not scratch

While it may be tempting to scratch itching or irritated skin, avoid scratching the vaginal area, as it can lead to further irritation, inflammation, and potential infection. Instead, gently pat or dab the area with a clean, soft cloth to alleviate itching.

Also read: Vaginal infections after sex: Tips to prevent the risk and stay safe

7. Limit sugar intake

If you are suffering from a yeast infection, consider refraining from partaking in sugary foods and beverages. Yeast thrives on sugar, so limiting sugar consumption may help prevent yeast overgrowth and promote healing.

8. Avoid sharing personal items

Refrain from sharing towels, underwear, or other personal items with others, as this can potentially spread infections.

9. Follow treatment instructions

If you’ve been prescribed medication for a vaginal infection, such as antifungal creams or antibiotics, follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider carefully. Some of us leave the treatment in between when we see signs of improvement. However, we must finish the prescribed full course of treatment.

10. Consult your healthcare provider

If you have any questions or concerns about treating vaginal infections and itch, consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance. They can provide recommendations based on your specific symptoms, medical history, and individual needs.

By avoiding these actions and substances, you can help promote healing and reduce the risk of complications while treating vaginal infections and itch. If symptoms persist or worsen despite treatment, seek medical attention promptly.

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About the Author

After testing her skill-set in the field of management and marketing, Purvi Kalra is exploring the world of turning thoughts to words. Her penchant for writing stems for being an avid reader all her life. Her work drives her to be better every day. ...Read More

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