Vulvitis is not a disease, but refers to the inflammation of the soft folds of skin on the outside of the female genitalia, the vulva. The skin of the vulva is especially susceptible to irritation due to its moistness and warmth.Any woman of any age can be affected by vulvitis especially if they have allergies, sensitivities, infections, or diseases that make them more vulnerable.
Vulvitis can be classified in two categories which includes –
• Candida vulvitis: A yeast infection of female external genitals (the vulva).
• Chronic vulvitis: A chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects external female genitals (the vulva).
The symptoms of vulvitis can include:
• Extreme and constant itching
• A burning sensation in the vulvar area
• Vaginal discharge
• Small cracks on the skin of the vulva
• Redness and swelling on the vulva and labia (lips of the vagina)
• Blisters on the vulva
• Scaly, thick, whitish patches on the vulva
Allergies or sensitivities to certain products, items, or habits usually provoke vulvitis. Any of the following may cause vulvitis –
▪︎ Certain hygiene products such as –
• colored or perfumed toilet paper
• vaginal sprays or douches
• shampoos and hair conditioners
• laundry detergents
• topical creams and medications
▪︎ Allergic reaction to –
• bubble bath or soap used on the genitals
• sanitary napkins
▪︎ Irritation caused by –
• a yeast infection
• chlorinated water in swimming pools or hot tubs
• synthetic underwear or nylon pantyhose
• wearing a wet bathing suit for a long time
• bike or horseback riding
• poor personal hygiene
Postmenopausal women can be particularly susceptible to vulvitis. As estrogen levels drop, the vulvar tissues become thinner, drier, and less elastic. This makes women more vulnerable to irritation and infection.
Female children who haven’t reached puberty are also at risk because they don’t make adult levels of estrogen yet.
Your doctor can usually diagnose vulvitis with a pelvic examination. Several diagnostic tools may also be used. These include –
• urinalysis (urine test)
• testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
• a Pap smear (test for abnormal cervical changes)
• 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.
Ayurvedic Formulations –
• Gokshura kwath
• Punarnava Mandoor
• Neembadi churna
• Kaishore guggulu
• Arogyavardhini Vati
• Jatyadi oil for local application
• Neem oil for local application
As a general rule, keep your vaginal and vulvar area clean, dry, and cool, especially during menstrual periods and after bowel movements. Be sure to gently cleanse the vaginal area. Avoid harsh rubbing with washcloths or towels.
Other ways to prevent vulvitis include –
• Wearing cotton underpants
• Avoiding excessively tight pants, pantyhose, or any clothes that are abrasive to the vulvar area or that don’t allow for adequate air circulation
• Opting for unscented, white toilet paper and fragrance-free feminine products
• Using fragrance and dye-free laundry detergent
• Avoiding fabric softener when washing underwear
• Avoiding vaginal sprays and powders
• Changing out of wet clothing promptly, such as after a swim or vigorous exercise
• Using external or internal condoms during sexual activities to reduce your risk of vulvitis, STIs, and other vaginal infections
For more informative articles on female health and other health related issues, please visit our website www.santripty.com and also feel free to consult.