The vulva is the outer portion of female genitals. It is a very sensitive area of skin that a female needs to treat with precise care and maintain hygiene to prevent irritation.
There are several potential causes of vulvar irritation. They can range from benign (non-cancerous) conditions, like contact dermatitis, to more serious skin or health conditions.
A female can usually treat vulvar irritation with home remedies like keeping the area dry, moisturized and using prescribed medicated creams to treat the rash or irritated vulva. However, if the rash or irritation gets worse or does not go away, it might be a good idea to consult your gynecologist.
There can be many potential causes of vulvar irritation, including-
- Menopause or hormonal medications
- Allergies or dermatitis
- Bacterial infection or UTIs
- Lichen sclerosus
- Lichen planus
- Yeast infections
- Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, genital warts, and herpes.
- Vulvar cancer
Symptoms of Vulvar Irritation
Symptoms of vulvar rash can broadly vary based on the cause of the rash or irritation. In some cases, the symptoms of vulvar rash appear on the vulva. At other times, a female may notice symptoms in other areas also. Below are mentioned various symptoms accompanying vulvar irritation, as per different causes behind it.
Irritants or allergens
If irritants or other allergens are the cause of vulvar irritation, a female may also experience stinging or burning.
If irritants are causing the problem, the female will usually notice symptoms soon after she comes into contact with the irritant, like soaps, perfumes, or lubricants. An allergen may not initially cause symptoms for a few days. A female can also have an allergic reaction from detergents or intimate products.
Females with skin conditions, like lichen sclerosis, psoriasis, eczema, or lichen planus, may observe patches of irritated skin near or on the vulva. Such skin irritation may also occur in other parts of the body.
The symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections or STIs can widely vary. Some females experience no symptoms of an STI at all. Apart from vulvar or vaginal rash and irritation, other possible symptoms of STIs include-
- Dysuria or painful urination
- Fever or chills
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Bumps, blisters, or sores on the vagina or near the anus
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Pain in the lower abdomen
If you observe symptoms mentioned above, do not delay visiting your gynecologist. An untreated STI is a high potential risk factor for the female’s sexual health and well-being.
Yeast infections are pretty common among adult females. Every female possibly has a yeast infection at least once in her lifetime. This condition is not a medical emergency but delayed treatment can lead to discomforting symptoms including painful sex, pain while urinating, vaginitis, etc. Other noticeable symptoms of yeast infections can include:
- Burning sensation
- Pain during sex
- Thick, white vaginal discharge
If the female is having vulvar rash or irritation due to hormonal imbalance or other concerns, are causing the irritation, a female may also experience vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, or stinging. Some females may notice that the vulva becomes more sensitive to even the slightest touch, like from wiping after urination. It is best to consult your gynecologist in such a case. A gynecologist can help you deal with the condition and prescribe an effective treatment plan so as to improve the overall quality of your life.
How are Vulvar Rash or Irritation Diagnosed?
In some cases, a female might be able to manage her symptoms at home under her gynecologists’ guidance. However, if the female’s condition worsens or she experiences unexplained pain, discomfort, itching, or burning sensation on the vulva, it is best to speak to a gynecologist.
A gynecologist may run tests including urinalysis and vaginal swabs to determine the cause of the rash, discomfort, pain, or itchiness.
When to see your Gynecologist?
A female should seek medical attention from a gynecologist when she notices the following-
- No explanation or known cause for the rash or irritation
- The rash worsens
- She experiences pain during sex
- She has other symptoms (such as the ones mentioned above for various causes of vulvar rash) like fever or chills
The above-mentioned symptoms can be signs of medical problems or complications that should be treated by a gynecologist. Get in touch with a gynecologist near you to put an end to such discomforts.
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