Soothing postpartum vaginal soreness

Here are ways to soothe itching and soreness after birth if you had vaginal tears or an episiotomy.

After any vaginal delivery, you may have swelling and discomfort. If you had a vaginal tear or episiotomy with delivery, you may have stitches in the area as well as itching and soreness.

“Soreness in the vaginal area usually will begin to ease over six to 12 weeks after birth,” said Kenneth J. Payne, M.D., OB/GYN with Norton OB/GYN Associates. “Change your pads promptly and often. Be extra careful to wash your hands before and after to reduce the chance of infection. If you have concerns, please contact your provider.”

Postpartum Gynecologic Care

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To ease discomfort while you’re healing:

  • Soak in warm water a few times per day. This can be in a tub or a sitz bath — a round, shallow basin that fits over the toilet seat. Warm water alone will boost the blood flow around the affected area, promoting healing.

If approved by your provider, Epsom salts, witch hazel, vinegar or baking soda can be added to the water to reduce itching and inhibit bacterial growth.

  • Sit on a pillow or padded ring.
  • Take any nonsteroidal medications, such as ibuprofen, as prescribed by your provider.
  • Use a squeeze bottle to pour warm water on your perineum after you urinate.
  • Placing a chilled witch hazel pad between a pad and the wound will decrease discomfort.
  • Talk to your doctor about using over-the-counter pain relievers, or a numbing spray  (Dermoplast).

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