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Can Eczema Spread To The Genital Area

Vulval Symptoms: Often A Skin Problem Not A Gynaecological One

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Most of the women we see with vulval symptoms actually have ordinary common or garden variety dermatitis . We believe these usually simple diagnoses are often missed by doctors and health nurses because they are looking for a gynaecological diagnosis, and therefore dont think about the possibility of a dermatological cause for these symptoms.

These women are often referred to gynaecologists who havent been trained in dermatology. The result, in our opinion, is diagnostic terms that can be misleading, such as vestibulitis and vulvodynia. Not surprisingly, the treatments that have been developed from these diagnoses dont work very well. This is why there are so many frustrated doctors, and so many unhappy patients.

While it is true that skin problems on female genital skin will be modified by the local conditions of heat, wetness, friction, and hormones, we want to state very clearly that from our research, the fundamental cause for almost all vulval symptoms is some sort of skin problem, not a gynaecological one.

Even when a skin diagnosis is considered, the treatment is often not effective. We have discovered that this is because dermatological treatment principles need to be modified in the following ways to work effectively on vulval skin.

An Accurate Diagnosis Is The Key To Getting Real Relief

While youve just seen eight very different reasons for itchy private parts, there are many more, including hemorrhoids, menopause, and eczema. Several STIs can also cause your genitals to itch.

Seeing a board-certified dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment can protect your health and bring much welcomed relief.

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Discover the benefits of seeing a dermatologist.

Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:

  • Bunker, CB. Diseases of the male genitalia:654-75.

  • Torgerson RK, Edwards L. Diseases and disorders of the female genitalia:675-83.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Parasites Enterobiasis. Page last updated January 13, 2013. Last accessed September 25, 2018.

Chi CC, Kirtschig G, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on topical interventions for genital lichen sclerosus. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 67:305-12.

Paek SC, Merritt DF, et al. Pruritus vulvae in prepubertal children. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001 44: 795-802.

Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Eczema Herpeticum

If you or one of your family members has eczema, you can help reduce the risk of developing eczema herpeticum by following these protective measures.

  • Manage the eczema. One of the best ways to prevent infection is to improve the background skin condition, says Renati. When eczema is well controlled, there is less inflammation and fewer breaks in the skin. That leads to a better barrier and less chance that the herpes virus can find a way in, she explains.
  • Avoid close contact with cold sores. A cold sore first appears as a red bump, then evolves into a fluid-filled blister that will ooze and crust over. These sores can appear anywhere, but they typically crop up around the lips and mouth, and sometimes on or in the nose, according to the Mayo Clinic. If someone with signs of a cold sore wants to kiss you hello, offer a hug instead.
  • Dont share things that touch another persons mouth. You or your child can catch the herpes virus by eating from another persons utensil, sharing lip balm or lipstick, and/or drinking from the same glass.
  • Wash your hands frequently. You can also come into contact with the virus inadvertently. The herpes simplex virus could be on a doorknob, card-swiping machine, or other object that someone who is infected has touched. Frequent handwashing can help prevent you from being exposed to HSV, says the AAD.
  • Additional reporting byAshley Welch.

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    Soothe Atopic Dermatitis All Over

    Little-known fact: Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, can occur wherever you have skin. So: anywhere. While you may typically think of it as a condition that affects your elbows, knees, back of the neck, and hands, it can pop up from scalp to tush. But dont start scratching : We have simple solutions for every sensitive area.

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    Generally, itching or irritation in the private parts goes away on its own with simple measures, such as:

    • Washing the affected area with clean and warm water
    • Keeping the area dry
    • Wearing well-fitting and breathable undergarments

    If you are obese or overweight, reducing your weight may also help control the infection.

    If the itching keeps recurring, consult a doctor. Treatment will target the cause of infection and your doctor may prescribe medication to control the itching. Your doctor may even advise you to avoid using any personal care products in the genital area that might aggravate the itching. Depending on the cause of the infection, they may prescribe antifungal medications, antiviral medications or antibiotics.

    Genital itching may also be aggravated by diabetes and other conditions that weaken immunity. In the case of diabetes, the doctor will prescribe medications and suggest lifestyle changes to control your blood sugar levels. Phototherapy may be used if the itching is due to lichen sclerosus. Other underlying conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, will also be addressed.

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    Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

    HSV-1 commonly causes cold sores, known as oral herpes. HSV-1 is very contagious.

    According to the World Health Organization , about 67% of people under the age of 50 have HSV-1, globally.

    HSV-1 can spread through sexual contact from the mouth to the genitals, but it is not necessarily a sexually transmitted infection . Many people get HSV-1 through nonsexual contact, including kissing or sharing personal items, such as lip balm or utensils.

    Scalp Eczema: The Fix

    Its all about that poo: shampoo, of course! You want a fragrance-free, sulfate-free, hypoallergenic formula to minimize bothersome ingredients on the scalp. Free & Clear and Exederm shampoos fit the bill: Neither contains dyes, formaldehyde, parabens, or cocamidopropyl betaine, all of which can cause inflammation.

    If switching shampoos doesnt help, consider cortisone in a foam or solution base these work well for hairy areas since theyre less messy than creams and ointments, says Dr. Fusco. For an extreme case of flakes, however, you may need a prescription cortisone oil before bed, apply it all over your scalp and sleep in a shower cap to help melt away the buildup.

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    Cure : Essential Oils

    Tea Tree Oil

    If you are suffering from severe vaginal itching, then try tea tree oil. It is one of the best home remedies for treating itching in private parts. If the vulvar itching worsens at night or there is a constant urge to itch causing you to become cranky and irritable, then it is time for you to look for some effective treatment like tea tree oil.

    How to use?

    • Mix four to six drops of tea tree oil in two tablespoons of freshly extracted aloe vera gel
    • Apply the mixture on the irritated area
    • Leave it on for around 15 minutes
    • After that, wash it off with water
    • Repeat this remedy two times a day


    • Pour four to six drops of tea tree oil in your bathwater
    • Soak in it for around fifteen minutes
    • Do this daily to get relief from itching.

    Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

    Tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties hence the oil makes it easier to the list of itching vagina home remedies. It eases the irritation caused in the genital area thus reducing the itching. Studies have shown that tea tree oil is quite useful in preventing vaginal candidiasis.


    You must use tea tree oil in diluted form only. Direct application of the oil can harm your skin and cause an allergic reaction. Those with sensitive skin must do a skin patch test of diluted tea tree oil before using it.

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    How Is Vulvar Eczema Treated

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    Applying cortisone cream to the affected skin once or twice a day is usually effective.

    You can prevent eczema from returning by avoiding the things that irritate the skin of your vulva. Our section How can I stay healthy down there? has a list of practical suggestions.

    If stressful events trigger your eczema, you should consider seeing a counsellor. If vaginal discharge seems to be the cause, you should see a specialist in womens health .

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    Eczema Coping Tips Beauty Products

    Suggestions for using beauty products include:

    • Remember that even hypoallergenic cosmetics can irritate your skin. Whenever possible, keep your face free of make-up.
    • Avoid perfumes, fragranced skin lotions and strongly scented shampoos.
    • When using a new cosmetic, try testing it first on a small, inconspicuous area of skin such as your forearm. If you experience a reaction, dont use the product again.

    What Causes Vulva And Vagina Irritation

    Many things can cause irritation including:

    • an imbalance of the bacteria and microorganisms that normally live inside the vagina
    • lubricants and spermicides and latex products used during sex, such as condoms
    • hormonal changes, such as after having a baby or during menopause
    • a skin condition such as dermatitis or eczema
    • excess washing or vaginal douching
    • allergy or a reaction to hygiene products such as soaps, shower gels, shampoos, or hygiene sprays
    • disinfectants, antiseptics and ointments
    • sanitary pads or tampons, condoms
    • sweating
    • swimming in a chlorine pool
    • wearing new underwear, especially if it is not made of cotton
    • very rarely, vulval cancer

    Groin irritation can also be due to a build-up of sweat from not washing and drying your groin properly, or from over-washing or scrubbing the area.

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    What Is The Treatment For Vulvar Eczema

    As with other types of eczema, vulvar eczema requires good, gentle skin care even when the skin returns to normal. This includes wearing cotton underwear, avoiding tight clothing, and using fingers to clean instead of a washcloth. Avoiding cleaning products with multiple ingredients can also help reduce the risk of a skin reaction.

    Mild cases can be treated with a topical corticosteroid cream twice daily for two to four weeks, and then slowly reducing the application until the symptoms have resolved. More severe cases may need a stronger corticosteroid cream. You may also use an antihistamine at night to reduce itching. During the day, a cold pack can help to reduce the itch.

    Steroid-sparing medications for the skin, like pimecrolimus and tacrolimus, may be used for maintenance or to help keep your skin clear.

    Vulvar eczema typically appears because of an irritant or allergen. These can include:

    • soap, bubble baths, or detergent
    • adult/baby wipes

    Infection Treatment For Vaginal Or Penis Blisters

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    Treatment for the two diseases will differ as well. Confronting infections in reproductive parts is tricky and embarrassing. But please dont fret, the process is quite docile and easy.

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    Applications for both:

    Administrations just for HSV:

    • Long-term continual antiviral medications for six to twelve months following the outbreak.
    • Prophylactic to protect sexual partners from the transmission.

    Addressing only shingles:

    • Lidocaine on the urethra opening to ease painful urination

    Caring for your general health can support and speed up the healing process. Utilizing some of the following can ease annoying symptoms of vaginal or penis blisters:

    • Cold compress. Ice numbs the nerve endings to reduce pain.
    • Vaseline. Provides a moisturizing barrier.
    • Loose fitting clothing. Promotes airflow and oxygen.
    • Baking soda baths. Diminishes itching. Be careful not to turn the water too hot. When already sick, you could shoot your blood pressure too high or cause dizziness and fainting.

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    Ultraviolet Radiation Therapy For Eczema

    Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can help reduce the symptoms of chronic eczema. Exposure under medical supervision can be carefully monitored with the use of specially designed cabinets the person stands naked in the cabinet and fluorescent tubes emit ultraviolet radiation.A person with stubborn eczema may need up to 30 sessions. The risks of unsupervised ultraviolet radiation therapy can be the same as for sunbathing faster ageing of the skin and greater risk of skin cancer.

    Is Eczema In Vaginal Area From Sexual Activity

    If you develop a rash on your genitalia, your first thought might go to the bedroom. Indeed, a rash and need to scratch down there can often be the result of a sexually transmitted disease . If you have had recent unprotected sex or multiple partners, this may likely be the origin of redness. There are over 20 types of STDs including chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, crabs, pubic lice, Molluscum Contagiosum, HIV, AIDS, Trichomoniasis , Scabies, Human Papilloma Virus , Hepatitis, and Mycoplasma genitalium. All of the previously mentioned share a resemblance to eczema in some form. You may want to make an appointment with your gynecologist to arrange a blood test or examination. Even if it is just eczema, it doesnt hurt to check and be safe.

    The combination of eczema tendencies and STD can be deadly. Eczema herpeticum constitutes as a medical emergency due to the serious complications that can be fatal if untreated. This happens when a generally lax HSV-1 turns into scarring blisters, swollen lymph nodes, and fever. Organ failure, blindness, and spreading to the brains, liver, and lungs can all occur. This is more of a problem for vulnerable populations who have weakened immune systems due to skin conditions but is something to keep in mind.

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    Whats The Difference Between Dermatitis And Psoriasis

    Psoriasis and dermatitis can appear similar. Both cause patches of red skin. However, in psoriasis, the scales are thick and the edges of those scales are well-defined.

    Discuss with your healthcare provider your questions about which type of skin condition you have. You can have more than one skin condition at a time. Treatments for one may not work for the other.

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    Some forms of atopic dermatitis start early in life while others begin after 20 years of age. Rough, inflamed patches of skin may suggest eczema, particularly if the skin lesions intensify and then subside. The following criteria help physicians diagnose the disease:

    • Itchiness
    • Skin changes that very with age
    • Chronic and relapsing skin changes

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    What Causes Neurodermatitis

    The underlying cause of neurodermatitis is unknown. However, it has been observed that the itch can start during times of extreme stress, anxiety, emotional trauma or depression. The itching sometimes continues even after the mental stress eases or stops.

    Other possible neurodermatitis triggers include:

    • Nerve injuries.
    • Insect bites.
    • Dry skin.
    • Wearing tight clothing, especially if the material is a synthetic fiber, like polyester or rayon. These factors can cause sensitive skin to overreact and itch.
    • Other skin diseases. Neurodermatitis sometimes happens as a result of eczema and psoriasis.

    Groin Or Vaginal Infection

    Washing tips: Clean the area in warm water at least twice a day. Pat dry carefully and then apply any cream you have been given by your doctor or pharmacist.

    Avoid using perfumed soaps, shower gels or deodorants around the area, as this can cause further irritation. Do not douche. Keep the area dry and free from sweat to make it difficult for the fungus to survive.

    Wash your hands before and after cleaning to prevent the spread of the infection. Also, do not share your face cloth or towel with others.

    Creams: If you are using intravaginal creams or pessaries, youâll need to use menstrual pads rather than tampons.

    Clothing: Change underwear daily and wear loose-fitting pants.

    Pain relief: If you are in pain, get advice on medicines you can take.

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    Scratching Can Increase The Spread Of The Disease To Other Body Parts

    The lists above only present the parts of the body that are most commonly affected by eczema. In reality, all parts of the body can be affected by the disease. Eczema can cause the development of fluid-filled lumps, which can also be very itchy. However, you are not supposed to scratch them. If you do, you can easily pass the infection to other parts of your skin and further increase your skin problem.

    How To Spot Early Symptoms Of Eczema Herpeticum

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    The first signs of eczema herpeticum occur about 5 to 12 days after exposure to HSV, says the AAD. At that point, it can be easy to think that changes in the skin are simply a particularly bad flare-up of eczema.

    However, symptoms of eczema herpeticum which include painful red, purple, or black blisters tend to be more dramatic in appearance than eczema, says the NEA.

    These blisters typically occur on the face and neck, but they can appear anywhere on the body where there is eczema and the skin has been in contact with the herpes virus.

    In addition to a painful, blistery rash, eczema herpeticum can cause more general body-wide effects, says Sruthi Renati, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of MichiganMichigan Medicine in Ann Arbor.

    Some patients develop high fevers, a general feeling of discomfort or feeling unwell, and enlarged lymph nodes, she explains. These symptoms often start as the blisters are appearing.

    Due to the potential for severe complications, you should call your doctor or dermatologist right away if you or a family member who has eczema develop any of the following symptoms:

    • A cluster of small, itchy, painful blisters
    • Blisters that are around the same size and have a punched-out look
    • Blisters that are red, purple, or black
    • Crust that forms over older blisters
    • Blisters that ooze pus when broken
    • A cold sore above the upper lip
    • High fever and chills

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