The perineum is the small area of skin and muscle located between the vagina and the anus. Often women complaint of the itchy perineum during pregnancy. Usually, by the third trimester of pregnancy, the baby begins to gain weight and dropping lower in your pelvis. This added pressure can lead to swelling of the genitals and perineum. Plus, your perineum is also beginning to stretch in preparation for childbirth.
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An itchy and sore perineum due to pregnancy is a temporary problem, but it’s very uncomfortable.
Other things that cause soreness of the perineum:
- Pregnancy and childbirth are the most common causes of a sore perineum in women. Other things can also lead to a sore perineum-
- It can be caused if someone wears tight pants or sitting in an uncomfortable position for too long.
- Intercourse without sufficient lubrication can also cause a sore perineum.
- Generalized vulvodynia is a chronic pain in the vulvar area but without an obvious cause. The pain can affect the entire area, including the labia, clitoris, and perineum.
- A descending perineum syndrome may occur when the perineum swells beyond its normal positioning. It can happen if you strain too hard while defecating or urinating. If you have a descending perineum, the first step is to determine the cause through a proper gynecological examination.
Treatments for a sore perineum
- One simple and inexpensive way to fix this is hemorrhoid or donut cushion. It keeps your weight off of your perineum when you sit.
- Another way is to massage the area during pregnancy. It may help relieve soreness and prepare the perineum for childbirth.
- Even an ice or a cold pack can relieve symptoms such as swelling, itching, and burning of the perineum. According to a 2012 paper published in the Cochrane Library, there’s only a small amount of evidence that cooling treatments are safe and effective in relieving perineal pain.
- For those who have experienced a tear or an episiotomy during pregnancy, your doctor will provide after-care instructions. You must follow them carefully.
How to prevent perineal soreness?
If you’re prone to perineal soreness, try to avoid wearing tight pants that are too tight. If you’re pregnant, you might benefit from a perineal massage. To prepare for massage, cut off your fingernails short and wash your hands well. Now, relax with your knees bent. Use pillows for added comfort.
You’ll need to lubricate your thumbs as well as the perineum with vitamin E oil, almond oil, or vegetable oil.
How to massage:
- Insert your thumbs about 1 to 1.5 inches into your vagina.
- Carefully press down and to the sides until you feel it stretch, and hold it for one or two minutes.
- Use your thumbs to slowly massage the lower part of your vagina in a “U” shape.
- Massage the perineum this way for about 10 minutes per day.
- If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, your partner can do it for you. Even your partner should use the same technique, but with index fingers instead of thumbs.
Besides massaging, clean the area with a perineal irrigation bottle. You can use it to squirt warm water on the area to clean and soothe it, especially after going to the bathroom.
To prevent infection, you must keep the area very clean. A warm, shallow bath may help temporarily relieve discomfort. Always use a clean towel to pat yourself dry rather than rubbing the area. Avoid having a bubble bath or use other products with harsh ingredients until it’s completely healed.