Edit: I WAS CURED AFTER 22 YEARS! I had a vestibulectomy Dec. 2016. The recovery was easier for me than having sex ever was. It took about 5 weeks. I have included my recovery photos. Look for the blogpost "I'm Cured!" and "My Vestibulectomy".

I’m a great woman with a pissed-off vulva. I have “primary vestibulitis." Most people are uncomfortable discussing their genital pain in public. My hope is that my obsession to find help for myself will make your experience shorter, easier, and less painful. P.S. Recently "vestibulitis" has been renamed to "vestibulodynia."

Skin Care and Bathing

I don't use soap to wash my vulva anymore. Why? Sodium lauryl sulfate. It is a primary ingredient in most cleansers. Really, walk into your bathroom and read your labels.

What does it do? As a surfactant, it creates lather in shampoos and soaps to create a satisfying customer experience. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a known skin irritant. And although most people do not have a response, anyone with chronic skin hypersensitivity might consider avoiding this.

Even Cetaphil, the touted non-soap cleanser for sensitive skin, has this ingredient. 

Use water only and a microfiber cloth which will give you traction on the hood. Be gentle. The Dollar Store sells (3) for $1!

Another two products called sodium laureth sulfate and ammonia laurly sulfate are also found in the same kinds of skin products. The research on these is less comprehensive and less condemning, but they are still dermatological irritants and I avoid them along with sodium lauryl sulfate.

Common skin products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate are:
  • Shampoos - lots of alternatives now! look for "sulfate-free."
  • Soaps and body wash- I use shampoo, but there are many products.
  • Bubble-bath - don't do it.
  • Toothpaste - Sensodyne
  • Moisturizer
  • Shaving cream
  • Mouthwash
Any Google search turns up this information from both governmental organizations and "natural health" advocates. A balanced view that provides a good summary is presented at http://www.treasuredlocks.com/noname7.html.