Fast facts on vulvitis:
Vulvitis is often a symptom of something else, such as an infection, allergic reaction, or injury.
Women with diabetes can develop vulvitis due to the higher than usual sugar in their cells.The first step in any treatment plan is to stop using products that could be irritating.
The best way to protect against vulvitis is to avoid contact with irritants, such as perfumed soap and sanitary products, and non-breathable underwear, medicalnewstoday reports.
There are a number of possible causes for vulvitis. including allergic reactions, skin irritations, sexually transmitted infections, and diabetes.
Allergies or sensitivities to certain products, items, or habits usually provoke vulvitis. Any of the following may be the cause:
Certain hygiene products, including:
colored or perfumed toilet paper
vaginal sprays or douches
shampoos and hair conditioners
topical creams and medications
Allergic reaction to:
bubble bath or soap used on the genitals
Irritation caused by:
a yeast infection
chlorinated water in swimming pools or hot tubs
synthetic underwear or nylon pantyhose
wearing a wet bathing suit for a long time
bike or horseback riding
poor personal hygiene
Other factors, such as:
scabies or pubic lice
eczema or dermatitis
Postmenopausal women can be particularly susceptible to vulvitis. As estrogen levels drop, the vulvar tissues become thinner, drier, and less elastic. This makes women more vulnerable to irritation and infection.
What are the symptoms of vulvitis?
Symptoms of vulvitis can manifest in different ways. Some of the most common are:
itching, redness, burning, and swelling
soreness, and thickened or white patches
The following symptoms can affect the skin on the vulva:
clear fluid-filled blisters
a scaly appearance
severe and prolonged itching
a burning sensation
Over-cleaning of the affected area can make symptoms worse. It is best to wash once a day, and only with warm water.
The symptoms of vulvitis can suggest other disorders or diseases, including allergies, infections, and injuries.
How is vulvitis diagnosed?
Vulvitis can develop for many reasons, and finding the exact cause can be tricky. Clinical assessment usually starts with:
a medical history
a pelvic examination
The aim is to look out for redness, blisters, or anything else that may support a diagnosis of vulvitis. Any vaginal discharge may be tested for infections.
A diagnostic exam may include checks for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and may include analysis of a urine sample. These two checks are usually done to rule out other issues that have similar symptoms.
Diagnostic tools may also include blood tests and pap tests. Pap tests involve laboratory testing of cells from the cervix. These can reveal changes in the cells that may be linked to infection, inflammation, or cancer.
Topical creams such as hydrocortisone may be recommended to help relieve the symptoms of vulvitis.
Vulvitis can have many different causes, as outlined here, and this can sometimes make a diagnosis difficult.
However, provided that any underlying cause is accurately diagnosed, vulvitis is easily treated. Itching and other typical symptoms can usually be resolved within weeks of diagnosis and treatment.
If the inflammation is thought to be a result of reduced estrogen due to menopause, a doctor may prescribe a topical estrogen cream.
Hydrocortisone, anti-fungal, and estrogen creams can be helpful for symptom-relief. Self-help treatments include warm, soothing baths, compresses and calamine lotion.
Separate treatment of other conditions, such as vaginal infection or herpes, is essential if these are causing symptoms of vulvitis.
If these measures do not reduce the irritation, or if the symptoms worsen, then further tests will be needed. These may include a skin biopsy to rule out abnormal skin growth on the vulva, known as vulvar dystrophy, and vulvar dysplasia, which can be a precancerous condition.
Similarly, a skin biopsy may be needed If skin lesions are present on the vulva.
Irritants are a common cause of vulvitis, but the condition can also be linked with STIs. Prevention of STIs is through abstinence or condom use.
It is worth noting here that for some women condoms and associated lubricants can be irritating in themselves and, therefore, do not work as preventative measures for vulvitis caused by STIs.
For many women, the chances of a flare-up of vulvitis can be reduced with some basic self-care. Reducing stress, getting enough sleep and a nutritious, healthful diet can be helpful.
If vulvitis is reoccurring, a woman should consider wearing cotton panties and paying extra attention to perineal hygiene.
Treating yeast or other infections promptly, is equally important, as is talking to a doctor about other ways to prevent vulvitis.topics from