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Using canesten for red and inflamed labia minora. What is the required treatment?

Mar 2013
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Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 5620 Questions
My vulval area, especially the labia minora has been inflamed and red since I washed in a new shower that suddenly became very hot. I have checked with the doctor that there is no scalding injury, but she acknowledged that there is some inflammation. I have XXXXXXX swabbed for thrush and am awaiting results but there is no itching at all, only the painful, inflammatory feeling. There is also no significaant discharge. I am worried that the heat of the shower might have caused some chronic nerve damge/changes as it happened six weeks ago and I am still experiencing the problem. The Canesten prescribed has a slightly soothing effect. Please help - I am quite depressed about this.
Posted Sat, 19 Jan 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 5 hours later
Thanks for writing to us.
It seems like you have minor inflammation post the scalding injury with hot water.
There would not be any acute scald/blister because the burn was 6 weeks ago - just minor inflammation left.
Since there is no itching, do not worry about thrush etc, but its still wise to get swabbed for it and other infections, as you have already done.
Do not worry about chronic nerve damage, as in that case you would have intractable pain/burning/itching/stinging sensation.

Try and follow the pointers as below for the problem you currently have :

Do not use fabric softener / harsh detergents for washing your undergarments. If you use a shared washer or dryer, such as a laundromat, you must hand wash and line dry your underwear, towels, and any other clothing that comes in contact with your vulva. .

Wear allergen free cotton underwear, not nylon or lycra etc.
Till the inflammation subsides, you might apply local 100 % zinc oxide ointment thrice a day, and avoid use of undergarments at night. Make sure you use the ointment, not cream , as the cream contains alcohol, which is an irritant.

Do not keep the area wet and moist for long.
Do not use bath soaps, lotions, gels, etc, which contain perfumes.
Do not use soap directly on the vulvar skin. Use warm water and mild lather.
Do not scrub / XXXXXXX dry vigorously / douche your private parts.
Use white, unscented, simple toilet paper.
Avoid use of tampons for the time being, unless bleeding is quite heavy. Use sanitary pads with a cotton liner.
Avoid using hair removal products till the inflammation subsides. You might want to trim the vulval hair.
Avoid Lubricated/latex condoms, contraceptive jellies, creams, or sponges which may cause itching and burning.

Take care and feel free to ask for further clarifications.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Using canesten for red and inflamed labia minora. What is the required treatment? 27 hours later
Thank you for your response which was helpful and somewhat reassuring; I already follow most of your advice with regard to irritants such as bath foams/soaps and wear cotton underwear. I am a little unclear about the symptoms you describe for chronic damage or change to nerve endings though and am not entirely reassured in this respect: I would describe the painful sensation as an inflamed burning/stinging-type sensation though it does wax & wane a little, being more acute at times. At times it is quite uncomfortable to walk as the inflamed parts of the labia are rubbing together or even to sit down.
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 3 hours later
Thanks for writing back.
For chronic nerve damage, the symptoms would be unbearable tingling , alternating with numbness, and chronic underlying pain all the time, sort of tingling or prickling kind of pain.
Also, the superficial hot water damage you had is not enough to cause the kind of nerve damage that you suppose it is
Till the inflammation subsides, you might have a problem walking, as yes, the inflamed parts would come into contact and have friction.
I urge you to try the zinc oxide ointment
Hope that helps
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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