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How To Treat Vulva Eczema

Vulvar Contact Dermatitis Resulting From Urine Incontinence

10 Home Remedies for an Itchy Vagina, and When to See a Doctor | vulvar itching home remedy
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First Posted : March 22, 2011Last Update Posted : April 8, 2015

Vulvar contact dermatitis is a common problem presenting as vulvar pruritus, burning or irritation. Its estimated prevalence is 20-30% in vulvar clinics, but the prevalence in the general population is unknown.

Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin resulting from an external agent that acts as an irritant or as an allergen. The skin reaction may be acute, subacute or chronic, resulting from prolonged exposure to weak irritating substances.

The most common form of VCD is irritant contact dermatitis, and it usually presents as vulvar itch. The causes that contribute to VCD are increased sensitivity of the vulvar skin to irritants compared to other body parts, decrease in the skin barrier function due to exposure to sweat, urine and vaginal discharge and constant friction of the vulvar area. In menopausal women, lack of estrogen contributes to tissue atrophy and thinning, and may increase the effect of irritants on the vulvar skin.

Getting A Diagnosis For Vulva Skin Conditions

Getting a diagnosis for vulva skin conditions

Vulvar skin conditions are highly treatable, but the treatment depends on the specific cause. And identifying the underlying diagnosis can be very challenging.

Tell your clinician about any other past or present medical conditions and any skin problems elsewhere on your body. For example, psoriasis anywhere on the body raises the risk of a vulvar condition known as lichen sclerosus. Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory intestinal disease, may cause abscesses or draining fistulas in the vulvar area, and vulvar skin problems are often one of its early symptoms. A mouth condition called lichen planus is another cause of vulvovaginal problems. Long-term treatment with oral steroids, immune suppressants, or antibiotics can affect vulvar skin and raise the risk infection.

Your clinician will want to know how you care for your vulvar skin, which can help identify possible sources of irritation. Even if you can’t pinpoint a change, that doesn’t mean your standard routine isn’t the culprit. Sometimes vulvar problems are the cumulative effect of long-term practices.

It’s often what you’ve done day after day, year after year, that causes the problem. If you wear abrasive clothing and engage in abrasive activities like bicycling or spinning class and wear tight workout clothes that expose your vulva to sweat or to detergent or soap residue, eventually it might catch up with you.

How To Treat Vulva Eczema Home Remedies And Treatments

img source: medicalnewstoday.com

Can it be treated? Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. When treating this condition, the main focus should be to heal to injured skin and limit the symptoms from aggravating. The treatment plan must also consider the victims age, the severity of the symptoms and the current state of health conditions.

Another thing we must consider about eczema is that, for some individuals, it can vanish of their own although, it may be a lifetime problem. There are a number of things that people suffering from eczema can do to manage this condition. They include medical and home treatments.

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Treatment And Home Remedies

The right treatment will depend on what is causing the discomfort. For example, if dermatitis is the cause, treatment may simply involve identifying and avoiding the irritant.

If a person contracted an STI, a doctor may be able to prescribe medication to treat the infection. While it is possible to cure some STIs, others are conditions that a person will need to manage long term.

If a yeast infection is causing the irritation, an over-the-counter topical antifungal cream will usually resolve the symptoms. If the infection does not clear, a doctor may need to prescribe a stronger medicated cream.

A doctor can treat bacterial infections, including UTIs, with a course of antibiotics.

Home remedies for rashes, skin conditions, and irritation due to hormonal changes include:

  • using moisturizer
  • using anti-itch creams or ointments
  • trying oatmeal baths

Types Of Genital Eczema

Eczema: Symptoms, Causes, And 9 Natural Remedies To Help ...

There are seven different types of eczema, four of which can appear on the genitals. They are:

  • Atopic dermatitis: Atopic dermatitis, or AD, is a chronic form of eczema that begins in childhood and comes and goes throughout a persons life. It is characterized by a dry, itchy rash that appears purple, gray, brown, or red. Scientists believe that AD is caused by an overactive immune system.
  • Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes into contact with an allergen or irritant. It is characterized by itching, blistering, or burning. Certain washes, lubricants, and fabrics can cause contact dermatitis in the genitals.
  • Neurodermatitis: This type of eczema is characterized by small patches that are intensely itchy. Although neurodermatitis occurs more often in women than in men, it can occur on the penis and can be made worse by tight clothing.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of eczema that occurs in oily areas of the skin, including in the groin. It is linked to having too much yeast on the skin and is characterized by red, swollen, and greasy scales on the skin.

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What Is Contact Dermatitis Of The Vulva

It is a skin problem that causes:

  • Vulvar or vaginal burning
  • Irritation
  • Itching

It happens when the vulvar skin becomes sensitive to products called contact irritants. This can be sudden or get worse slowly with repeated exposure to irritants, such as:

  • Laundry detergents
  • Fabric softeners and dryer sheets
  • Body soaps
  • Feminine products

When To See A Healthcare Provider

Eczema should always be diagnosed by a healthcare provider. Although its tempting to try to treat your eczema at home, seeing a medical professional is especially important if you have genital eczema.

Eczema on the penis can look like other conditions including STIs or a yeast infection. A healthcare provider will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and connect you with the treatment you need.

Seeing a healthcare provider can also help prevent further complications.

Having eczema can cause your skin to crack. This removes some of the protective functions of the skin and can put you at increased risk of infection. Because of that, people who have eczema are more likely to have infections including herpes and staph infection.

The following symptoms can indicate an infection. If you have them, reach out to your medical provider immediately:

  • Pus-filled bumps or a rash that is moist or weepy
  • Skin that feels warm or hot
  • Areas of the skin that are red, swollen and painful to touch

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Itch Due To Neuropathy

Neuropathy should be considered as a cause of vulval itch if there are no signs of infection or skin disease apart from lichen simplex which can be secondary to a pruritic neuropathy especially if vulvodynia is present. The neuropathy may be caused by injury, surgery or disease locally , within the pelvis or in the spine.

How Is Vulvitis Treated


The first treatment is to immediately stop the use of any products that may be causing the irritation and to wear loose-fitting, breathable white cotton undergarments. Over-the-counter anti-itch products should be avoided, as they can make the condition worse, or last longer.

Your doctor may also prescribe the use of an over-the-counter cortisone ointment on the affected area several times a day. This can help reduce the irritation and itching.

Sitz baths and the use of a topical estrogen cream may also be prescribed to deal with the itching and other symptoms of vulvitis.

If these treatments do not reduce the irritation, further tests may be prescribed to rule out more serious underlying conditions such as vulvar cancer. Luckily, vulvar cancer is rare.

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Stress And Vulva Dermatitis

img source: alighahary.ca

Stress is known to trigger many skin condition eczema not excluded. Stress can lead to a decrease or increase in levels of certain hormones and this can trigger it. To many people, the symptoms of eczema usually aggravate when they have stress. Some people also get stressed if they discovered they have this skin condition and this can worsen the situation. See your GP to discover how to manage stress.

Vulval Symptoms: Often A Skin Problem Not A Gynaecological One

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.

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Vaginal Or Vulvar Eczema Symptoms And Treatments

The groin area is perhaps the worst possible area to get eczema. This is because vaginal eczema is often misdiagnosed as a Sexually Transmitted Disease. And you can blame no one for this because we often trust our gynecologists on any matters that relate to the nether regions. But a sad reality is they have zero training on skin conditions and therefore will try to relate your problem to your sexual history.

You can still get this condition even when you do not have an active sex life. And it can be quite embarrassing because it is itchy, and you may be tempted to scratch this area in public. It can also make your love life horrible by preventing you from having sex. As I said earlier, most people think it is an STD and may raise infidelity doubts in a relationship.

What causes it?

But today is your lucky day because I am going to share with you the symptoms of vulvar dermatitis, causes, treatment, and prevention.

In this article

Here are some symptoms of vulvar dermatitis you should beware about.

  • Burning and itchy sensation around the vaginal area labia majora, labia minora.
  • Inflammation in the vulva area.
  • Sores
  • Painful red bumps or reddish skin around this area.
  • Swelling
  • Dry skin, considering that this area is supposed to be naturally moist

What Is Vulvar Dermatitis

PatologÃa Benigna Genital. 2015

Vulvar dermatitis is when the folds of skin around the vagina become inflamed and irritated. The area can be painful, itchy, and red. The inflammation is sometimes called vulvitis. The soft skin folds of the vulva are designed to stay moist and warm, making them susceptible to irritation or infection.

Dermatitis can develop anywhere on the body. It is caused by irritants, such as hygiene products, clothing, bacteria, yeast, or viruses, coming into contact with the skin.

Your symptoms could also be caused by another condition or simply be your body’s response to exposure to an irritant.

Vulvar dermatitis can affect people of any age. However, young people who have not started their periods yet and people who are postmenopausal are more likely to develop it.

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Diagnosis And Treatment Of Vulvar Dermatitis

If you think you may have vulvar dermatitis, schedule an appointment with your doctor. During your visit, theyâll ask you about your symptoms, if you have a history of eczema, any allergies you have, what your vulvar cleaning habits are, and what products you use around your vagina.

Then, your doctor will do an exam of the skin around your vagina. Theyâll look for skin changes such as cracking, thickening, redness, or scaling. They may also test a sample of your vaginal discharge to rule out infection.

If your doctor finds that you have eczema on your vulva, theyâll suggest the next steps for treatment. Itâs best to go with your doctorâs recommendations rather than over-the-counter methods since these might have additional allergens or irritants in them.

Your doctor might prescribe a cream to treat your eczema. You should apply the cream to your vulva as often as instructed by your doctor. While you use it, youâll want to keep stronger soaps and cosmetic washes away from your vaginal area.

Your doctor may also give you a topical steroid. The skin on your vulva will absorb this medication quickly, so itâs important that you use it carefully and as directed. Usually, you should only use these medications once or twice a day. Sometimes your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic with your steroid cream as well. Make sure you follow the directions to avoid further eczema flares.

Having A Pelvic Examination

  • You’ll be asked to remove your underwear and lie on your back.
  • The doctor or nurse will gently put a smooth, tube-shaped tool into your vagina to hold it open so they can see inside.
  • A small cotton bud may be wiped inside your vagina to check for infections.
  • You can ask the doctor or nurse to stop at any point if you find it too uncomfortable.

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    The Signs And Symptoms Of Genital Skin Conditions

    Generally speaking, psoriasis appears as patches of red skin with shiny scales. When this condition develops in the genitalia, the patches tend to be bright red, and the classic scales of psoriasis are absent. In the vast majority of cases, your doctor will make the diagnosis of psoriasis by inspecting your skin. However, some tests may be necessary to rule out other diagnoses . Genital psoriasis may cause itching, burning, and a sensation of discomfort. In rare cases, patients complain of pain in the affected areas.

    The following products may worsen your symptoms:

    Rough toilet paper

    Sanitary products that irritate the skin

    Proper Diagnosis Treatment Vital To Get Relief From Vulvar Itching And Other Irritating Conditions

    Eczema In Genital Region – Your Key To Instant Relief

    The vulva is subject to a range of skin problems, many of them inadvertently self-inflicted.

    You may routinely pamper your face and work hard to keep it moisturized and irritation-free, but what have you done lately for the more sensitive skin of your vulva, the external genital area surrounding your vagina?

    Many women have been primed to think no further than “itch equals yeast infection.” But with age and the decline in estrogen after menopause, women become more prone to a variety of conditions that irritate vulvar skin. These conditions aren’t getting the medical attention they need and women aren’t getting the relief they deserve.

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    Treatment For Vaginal Eczema

    In order to determine the treatment for your vaginal eczema, you need to determine what causes your specific outbreaks. If it is an STD, take some penicillin and get clear. If it is more of an allergic reaction, it is time to reassess the products you are using. There are certain soaps targeted specifically at vaginal cleansing. These are different than other soaps as they are formulated for the extra sensitive area. Additionally, change up the type of underwear you use. A thong or something lacy might irritate your skin. Cotton or silk fabrics are the softest types. There are special lotions and creams you can purchase to help ease the discomfort. Taking oral medications such as Benadryl can be helpful in some cases as well. If you are looking for something more natural, home remedies such as oatmeal baths have also proven effective.

    Can Vulvitis Be Prevented

    Women can take several measures to prevent vulvitis. These include using gentle, unscented cleaning products on the genital area, and thoroughly drying the genitals after bathing. In fact, using wateronly is often sufficient to clean the genital area. It is also advisable to avoid the use of douches and other fragranced feminine products. Wearing breathable, loose fitting cotton undergarments can also help prevent vulvitis, as can changing into dry clothing soon after swimming and exercising.

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    How Long Does It Take Vulvar Dermatitis To Heal

    The amount of time it takes vulvar dermatitis to heal will depend on the cause.

    For example, if caused by irritation from a product or clothing, the symptoms will likely resolve within one to two weeks after removing the irritant.

    If caused by an infection, symptoms should start to get better within one to two weeks of treatment. However, symptoms could remain for a month or longer.

    What Are The Signs

    • Mild to severe burning and/or itching of the vulva
    • Vulvar redness and swelling
    • Raw feeling due to the vulvar irritation
    • Damp or wet feeling due to weeping of the irritated skin surface
    • Some women mistake this dampness as vaginal discharge.
  • Pain with insertion of a tampon, speculum, or with intercourse
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    The Problem With Self

    When vaginal or vulvar itching occurs, women usually assume it’s a yeast infection and treat it with an over-the-counter antifungal cream. Often this does the trick, but not always. Instead, the cause of the symptoms might be dry skin, a sexually transmitted disease or bacterial infection, a less common strain of yeast that required special medication, or irritation by and allergic reactions to common products such as soaps, creams, and lotions.

    If yeast isn’t the problem, an antifungal cream isn’t the solution. And if your skin is already irritated, you may exacerbate the problem by introducing preservatives and other ingredients contained in many antifungal remedies. That’s why it’s important to see your gynecologist or dermatologist if a problem persists after you’ve tried a standard antifungal cream.

    Another common response of women faced with a vaginal discharge or itch is to wash the vulvar skin vigorously, on the assumption that this will disinfect the area or remove irritants. But aggressive cleansing can add to the irritation. Until the problem is diagnosed, it’s best to follow a gentle skin care routine . In fact, gentle cleansing applies whether you have a vulvar skin condition or not: Wash the area gently with your fingertips or a soft cloth and pat dry with a soft towel. Don’t use a rough washcloth, and don’t rub.


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