For information about contraception, pregnancy options and sexual health in Victoria

Vaginal and vulval health

The vulva is the name for the outside parts of your vagina:

Diagram of vulva

Vaginal and vulval irritation

There are a number of conditions that may affect your vagina and vulva. These condition can cause minor discomfort, or pain and irritation, but most are easily treatable. Vaginal/vulva conditions can include:  

Whilst uncommon, cancer also can develop in the vagina and vulva. 

Do’s and Don’ts 

Vulval irritation such as itching or burning is common. Good vulval hygiene can help your symptoms. 

Don't Do
Don’t wear g strings or tight undies  Wear 100% cotton undies 
Don’t douche Use plain toilet paper 
Don’t use soap or perfumed bath products like bubble bath, oils or gels  Pat dry after a wee 
Don’t use feminine deodorizer  Wash off chlorine or salt after a swim 
Don’t sit around in wet bathers  Change the brand of condom or lubricant if they cause allergic reactions 

What else can I do to help itching or burning? 

Apply a cold pack wrapped in a towel, or soak in a cool bath/ basin with bicarbonate soda or salt for 5-10 minutes. 

If these things don’t help your vulval irritation you should see your GP or Sexual and Reproductive Health Service. The Doctor or Nurse can do an examination (look at the vulva) and take a swab to check for an infection such as thrush, bacterial vaginosis, an STI, or diagnose a skin condition. Depending on the condition, you may need to be referred to a Gynaecologist. 

Vulva and Vaginal Pain 

Having chronic vulva (vulvodynia) or vaginal spasm and pain (vaginismus) is complex and needs specialist care. You should see your GP or Sexual and Reproductive Health Service if you have these symptoms and they are ongoing; 

Treatment for vulvodynia or vaginismus includes diagnosing and managing any medical condition that is causing the symptoms, medication, physiotherapy for vaginal desensitization (dilator therapy and pelvic floor training), and sexual counselling.