The Facts on Vulvitis: What, Who and How
What is Vulvitis?
Vulvitis is the inflammation of the vulva or the soft folds of skin on the external female genitalia. It is not a condition or a disease which is a common misconception; it is but a symptom that results from various causes such as an infection, allergic reaction, injuries, and other irritants.
Who can get Vulvitis?
Women of any age can be affected by vulvitis. Young girls who have not yet reached puberty are at possible risk due to inadequate hormone levels and post-menopausal women may be at higher risk of getting vulvitis because of lower estrogen levels and thinner vulvar tissues.
Susceptibility of the vulva to the irritation is due to its moist and nature. Stress and poor hygiene and nutrition can increase susceptibility to vulvitis.
What can cause Vulvitis?
Vulvitis can be caused by one or more of the following:
- Use of dyed or scented toilet paper
- Allergic reaction to bubble bath or soap used to clean the genital area
- Use of vaginal sprays or douches
- Irritation by chlorinated swimming pool or hot tub water
- Allergic reaction to spermicide
- Allergic reaction to sanitary napkins
- Wearing synthetic underwear or nylon pantyhose without a breathable cotton crotch
- Wearing a wet bathing suit for extended periods of time
- Bike or horseback riding
- Fungal or bacterial infections including scabies or pubic lice
- Skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis
What are the symptoms of Vulvitis?
- Extreme and constant itching
- Redness and/or burning sensation in the vulvar area
- Vaginal discharge
- Small cracks or blisters on the skin of the vulva
- Redness and swelling on the vulva and labia (lips of the vagina)
- Scaly appearance
- Thick or whitish patches
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to immediately consult your healthcare provider as these symptoms may also suggest other genital diseases or disorders.
How is Vulvitis treated?
The first treatment is intervention, immediately stop using any product that can cause the irritation. Wear loose-fitting garments and ensure breathable cotton undergarments.
Doctors may also prescribe cortisone treatment to reduce the irritation and itching.
How to prevent Vulvitis?
- As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure,” women can take several actions to prevent vulvitis. These include the following:
- Use only gentle and unscented cleaning products on the genital area. Avoid the use of vaginal douches and other fragranced feminine products.
- Thoroughly dry the genitals after bathing.
- Wear breathable, loose-fitting cotton undergarments can also help prevent vulvitis. Cottonique offers 100% Natural Organic cotton garments that is completely chemical-free and suitable in preventing any skin irritation.
- Immediately change into dry clothing soon after swimming and exercising.
Source - http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-vulvitis