The best product for short term relief of irritated skin
If you have ever had irritated, itchy skin down there, you know how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be. I have had many patients come to me in a similar situation, that suffered for days or weeks at home not knowing what to do. While you are waiting to see your doctor, give this over-the-counter ointment a try to provide fast relief and keep the affected area clean and hydrated.
How Does It Work?
Cortizone 10 Ointment is a common brand that contains maximum-strength over-the-counter hydrocortisone, which is a steroid that helps to reduce inflammation and irritation. This ointment is commonly used to treat skin rash, insect bites, or treatment of poison ivy, but many not have considered its use for vulvar irritation.
Why ointment instead of cream?
A majority of the hydrocortisone that is easily found at the pharmacy is hydrocortisone cream, not ointment. As opposed to creams, which contain equal ratios of oil and water, ointments have a high concentration of oil. When applied in a thin layer they are ideal for moisturizing and healing irritated vulvar skin.
Why would I use hydrocortisone ointment?
– Provides fast relief from itching and vulvar irritation
– Contains maximum-strength over-the-counter hydrocortisone
– As an ointment, this contains petrolatum to soothe and moisturize irritated vulvar skin
When should I not use hydrocortisone ointment?
Do not use hydrocortisone ointment if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past, if you have broken skin or an active local skin infection, or if you see no improvement have 1-2 weeks of application. Please seek medical help if you have serious side effects or if things do not improve. It is important to have a thorough evaluation by a vulvar specialist for any longstanding irritation.
How do I use Cortizone 10?
After a sitz bath, or, washing the vulvar area with tepid water (not soap!) apply a pea-sized amount in a thin film over the affected area. Consider wearing loose boxer shorts to protect your skin (and clothing!) and allow for appropriate airflow. Apply to the treated area up to three times per day for no more than two weeks.
What Alternatives Are There?
For vulvar skin problems, you can alternatively consider unmedicated ointments (such as Vaseline or Aquaphor) or prescribed hydrocortisone or other steroid ointments prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist.
Cortizone 10 Maximum Strength Ointment is an affordable over-the-counter option, costing around $8 for a 2 oz tube.
Vulvar irritation is extremely common and frustrating. In my years as a OB/GYN I have seen several women suffer without asking for help. Even worse, it may take several weeks to get in to see a doctor for medical attention for this bothersome issue. For mild irritation or relief while waiting to see your doctor, consider using hydrocortisone to feel better.
Have you experienced vulvar irritation before? Have you tried hydrocortisone ointment or been to a vulvar specialist! Comment below!
My name is Natalie Stentz. I am a board-certified OB-GYN and fertility specialist. I believe that women’s health matters and that optimal health starts at home with small changes applied over a lifetime.
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