Infestation with pubic lice—a disorder called pediculosis pubis
Irritation by urine or stool if it remains in contact with the vulva (as may occur in women who have incontinence or are confined to bed)
Contact with urine and stool sometimes cause ongoing (chronic) vulvitis.
In children, infections of the vagina may also affect the vulva. These infections may be due to bacteria from the anus or other bacteria.
Symptoms of Vulvitis
Vulvitis causes itching, soreness, and redness. Rarely, the folds of skin around the vaginal and urethral openings (labia) become stuck together. Chronic vulvitis may result in sore, scaly, thickened, or whitish patches on the vulva.
Diagnosis of Vulvitis
A doctor's evaluation
Doctors examine the vulva to check for redness and changes in the skin and check for a discharge from the vagina. They also ask questions about the discharge (if present), about possible causes of the symptoms, and about hygiene.
To check for other infections, doctors typically do a pelvic examination, and if a discharge is present, they examine it under a microscope. The doctor may also use a swab to take a sample of fluid from the cervix. The sample is tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Treatment of Vulvitis
Hydrocortisone or estrogen cream
Various treatments may be tried. They include
Avoiding substances that can irritate the vulva
Keeping the vulva clean and dry
Sitting in a sitz bath containing soothing substances (to help control the itching)
Applying hydrocortisone or estrogen cream to the vulva
If chronic vulvitis does not respond to treatment, doctors usually do a biopsy to look for the cause, including skin disorders of the vulva (vulvar dystrophies, such as lichen sclerosus or squamous cell hyperplasia) or cancer.
Drugs Mentioned In This Article
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Vaginal Infections and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease