Vaginal Over-the-Counter Products

Cabinet Medicine for issues in the female genital area a.k.a. as the Business District!  By: Anna Myers, MSN, WHNP-BC, NP-C, CUNP, RN

My oldest daughter is going away to college in the fall and just the other evening she said she wanted to make sure she had plenty of over the counter remedies to take with her if she would catch a cold or virus while away.  I smiled inside as she always claimed she was “mistreated” as a child because we wouldn’t just run her right to the doctor when she first became sick as we would give her as she called it “cabinet medicine” instead. Spend more $ and energy when you may very well already have the remedy right in your own cabinet?  Now she wants her own cabinet medicine? Yes, they were listening!  May it be known, I have cabinet medicine for quite of few ailments but since this is a female urology office, we’re going to talk about when things are just a little off in the business district.

  1. My newest addition to the cabinet has been around longer than any of us, organic extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. Its perfect for a little irritation, dryness, burning etc. You eat it on a salad, so it won’t hurt your tender genital tissue and the nutrients it contains such as vitamins A and E will contribute to healing in this area.  You want extra virgin as it will have a lower acidity than virgin or non virgin oil.  Organic means you won’t get impurities so expect it to be a little more cost.  Cold pressed means that they used pressure instead of high temperatures to extract the oil from the fruit, so you won’t lose out on significant nutrients that contribute to it’s anti-inflammatory and tissue healing properties.
  2. Replense and RepHresh are both over the counter products that are wonderful! Replense is a hormone free product indicated for vaginal dryness and irritation. RepHresh comes in handy balancing pH.  Often times, it’s a matter of your pH being a little off whether its after intimacy (semen is basic pH) or diminishing estrogen as we age, menstruation, douching, and even some body soaps. Decreasing estrogen has been associated with decreased glycogen production by vaginal epithelial cells. Glycogen is used by the good bacteria Lactobacillus in the vagina to make lactic acid which decreases the vaginal pH to help fight off harmful bacteria.  In our child bearing years, this increased protection against bacteria is helpful.  However, as we age or as we do things that might change the pH as noted previously, the more basic pH allows the bacteria we all normally have in our vagina to get out of hand, ever get that fishy odor… So keep some of this around too.
  3. A little antifungal over the counter cream such as generic miconazole, (brand name Monistat) is good to have handy as you may be able to catch a yeast infection early on before a little itch and discharge turn into something terribly out of hand. Start there if you feel yeast coming on!
  4. Lastly, there is a product Cortizone-10 Feminine Relief Anti Itch Cream, a low dose 1% hydrocortisone steroid cream with aloe and other vitamins that can temporarily soothe irritated skin but should only be used after you have been evaluated by a health care provider as you need to rule out more serious conditions such as genital cancers, lichen sclerosis, or lichen simplex chronicus.
  5. I know I wrote I was done but BONUS, you can thank me later—Monistat Complete Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel-it’s name says it all! Love this stuff in the summer when you wear skirts without hose!  Need I say more?

There you have it— cabinet medicine for the business district!  If your symptoms persist past 7 days or recur after treatment you should be evaluated by a health care provider to rule out more serious conditions.  If you have any questions or desire to further discuss your urological concerns, please call our office at (440) 202-1515.  Thank you!


Anna Myers is a women’s health, family and urology board certified nurse practitioner working in our office here in Richfield, Ohio.