3:29 pm - 06/24/2008

swimming in chlorinated pools....

It's been 6 years since my senior year of high school and the end of my swim season..... a LOT has changed about my body since then and I'm finding getting back into it to be both exciting and frustrating. I can't do the same stuff I used to do, so I'm practically training from scratch....

But OMG the burning! everywhere! I feel like I have a mild chemical burn on my inner and outer labia and even a little bit in my vag for the 24 hours after I practice. Doesn't really motivate me to go back in the pool, I tell ya. (It's a lot worse on my face and I've got goggle bruises like never before but that's sort of OT here).

Obviously, I'm showering after I swim, and it happens both when I use the provided soap and my own so that's not it.

I keep applying emu oil which I was using* to thicken the tissue similar to the way estrogen creams are supposed to work (but without all the nasty side effects like higher risks for cancer). That only seems to have helped a little bit, but not much. I haven't actually applied it before I swim which would make sense, but I hadn't because there are signs all over saying no oils or lotions applied before getting in the pool.... which I understand, but how am I supposed to protect my skin??? I'm thinking a little bit and inside my suit shouldn't be too bad though.

*In before wank: Yes, this is under a doctor's instruction, though not related to the chlorine burn and that's a clinic that's making appointments 6-months out so I'd like to consider some options before I spend amazing amounts of time and money on doctor's visits.

Any ideas how to keep the water off my skin and out of my vagina??
hiriel1804 24th-Jun-2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
I don't know how to prevent it, I'm afraid, I just thought I'd say, in case you didn't know, that it's possible to be allergic (or "just" intolerant) to chlorine. But the only advice I've read is to shower thoroughly before and after swimming.
brigittefires 24th-Jun-2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
It seems I'm allergic to everything these days and I was hoping that wasn't it. It's not BAD..... but I don't want it to GET bad, you know? lol

We had a girl my freshman year who was allergic to chlorine. Gotta give her credit, she lasted a whole month.... but then she had to stop when the hives started blistering and oozing and her allergist finally relented that it was possible. Poor girl had scars (that barely cleared up by the time we went to our senior prom....) So I keep telling myself it could be worse!!!
plasticpepper 24th-Jun-2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
I don't know of anything that will help with it, but are you sure the chlorine levels in the pool are normal? I'm not a swimmer and I really don't know much about this, but I'm wondering if maybe the pool is at fault rather than your skin being more sensitive than it used to be.
munchkins04 24th-Jun-2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
To be honest, it sounds to me like there is something wrong with the chemicals of the pool. I've worked with pools for over 8 years, not counting the years I spent swimming on teams. I have never had those kinds of problems, nor heard of others having them, in properly maintained and regulated problems.

If its not that, it could be that its not a chlorine pool. A lot of pools these days are using Bromine or salt, or some other chemicals. Those chemicals could cause reactions if you are allergic. (I'm assuming that you're used to chlorine pools, and would thus know if you were allergic to them.)

Other than that, I hope that it gets figured out. Swimming is an excellent way to work out, and should be fun, not painful.
sqx 24th-Jun-2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
I went to my local pool once when I was little for a kids inflatables session and afterwards the skin on the backs of my hands peeled off, and I had sore eyes for days. I think they must have upped the chlorine levels because of little kids peeing and stuff! So it might be the pool's fault. I would use that cream though, the chlorine is there to stop stuff like that being an issue.
unripe 25th-Jun-2008 01:00 am (UTC)
'Fraid I'm no much help with the vulva issues, but I've just started swimming regularly too - and though the pool at my uni is kept very clean, and has fairly low-level chlorine, the skin was peeling off my face and legs. I moisturise with really thick body-butter moisturiser after showering immediately after swimming - just dry face with towel and stick some on. Feels weird to put it on my face because usually it'd give me pimples - but it works and stops the skin from drying out.
Maybe find out about the chlorine levels in your pool - and if there's another in the area that's lower in chemicals give that a try. Sorry I'm a little useless.
burntbuffalo 25th-Jun-2008 04:11 am (UTC)
I wonder if using petroleum jelly (Vaseline) would help at all. It's not absorbed by the skin and it forms a barrier between skin everything else, so it would keep the water off you, and it won't dissolve in the water. I don't know if that is an option because of being in a pool, but it might help. Perhaps it's worth a try, at least on the sensitive areas.
theditor 25th-Jun-2008 07:11 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if this will be helpful, but I've been swimming fairly regularly for the last year and have had issues with water going places I'd rather it not. One difference I noticed was with bathing suits. One had a looser pair of shorts, which allowed more water in, and now I wear a one-piece with a pair of shorts over it, which works well. So maybe adding another layer or trying a tighter-fitting suit? I hope you can figure something out, because I know what a pleasure swimming can be.
drownophelia 25th-Jun-2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
possibly an empirical method of determining if you're allergic to something in the water would be to take an antihistamine like benadryl or clairitin prior to swimming, and seeing if that changes your reaction.

i also second the petrolatum jelly suggestion.
debbieeh Vaginal chlorine intolerance16th-May-2013 01:06 pm (UTC)
I began suffering the same problem when I started hydrotherapy in Oct 2009 which I finally stopped doing in Aug 2010 due to the burning & itching after every session. Initially thinking it was thrush I tried creams & even the heavy-duty tablets from the doctor to no avail, I also tried yoghurt, vinegar and tea-tree oil. Doctors weren't much help. In April 2012 I finally found something that appeared to work - Vagicare - suppositories to balance vaginal pH. Every 6 months or so since then I have needed to use it again and unfortunately the last time (last month) it didn't work tho there's been a lot going on in my life so I'm intending to put up with the itch for a few months and then try again.
Your post is the only one I have read of someone experiencing similar. Did you ever find a cure? I am 57 years old and will never go into a swimming pool or spa ever again!
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