Vulvitis is the inflammation or irritation of the vulva, which is the skin fold outside the vagina. Since it is a skin fold which located in a warm and moist environment, vulvitis can happen to anyone. In general, vulvitis is not a serious condition, but it can cause discomfort and pain if left untreated. It can be hard to find out the exact cause, making diagnosing and treating this condition to be difficult.
Risk factor vulvitis :
Some women are more prone to getting vulvitis than other women. This is due to some risk factors associated with the occurrence of vulvitis. Some risk factor such as allergies and sensitivities are not preventable, whereas risk factor such as wearing tight undergarments is modifiable by wearing loose clothing.
Some recognised risk factors include:
- Underlying diseases such as diabetes. High blood sugar content causes body more prone to infections.
- Wearing tight undergarments
- Previous vaginal infections
- Women around pre-puberty or post-menopause. It is related to low estrogen level.
Causes of vulvitis :
Vulvitis is normally caused by anything that irritates the vulva. There are several common causes which include :
1) Infection :
It is the most common cause of vulvitis. These infections can be caused by bacteria, virus or fungal. Some of the common vulvitis associated with vaginal infections include vaginitis, genital herpes and vaginal candidiasis. Most infections are treatable if the correct diagnosis is identified.
2) Irritants :
There are different types of possible irritants present in our daily products. It can vary from added dye, perfumes or some other materials. Some of the products can be soap, sanitary napkins, underwear, pantyhose, massage oils or powder can cause allergic reactions of the vulva. Avoiding these products can cure the problem if you are allergic to it.
3) Medications :
Some medications can cause vaginal dryness that irritates the vulva, increasing the risk of getting vulvitis. These medications include antibiotics, hormonal supplements and anti-anxiety medications. Antibiotics can cause changes in the vaginal microbiota, leading to vaginal infections and vulvitis.
4) Vaginal douching :
Douching refers to the action of washing the vagina with water. Douching can cause vulva to be irritated and dry, but also alter the changes the microbiota of the vaginal. This combination of factors makes the vulva susceptible to vulvitis.
5) Hygiene habits :
Bad hygiene habits can cause vulvitis. Bad hygiene habits include prolonged moisture around the vulva, not wiping or drying vulva properly and not changing pad or underwear.
Treatment of vulvitis :
Treatment of vulvitis is based on the cause of vulvitis. Therefore, it is important to identify the cause of vulvitis. If the cause is due to irritants, avoidance of the irritants is the best way to treat the vulvitis. If the underlying cause is due to bad hygiene habits, you should keep your private part clean to prevent vulvitis in the future.
Your doctors may recommend some self-care ways to deal with vulvitis :
- Discontinue usage of the irritants. You need to identify the possible products that can irritate you.
- Prevent scratching the area to prevent bleeding and infection. Itchiness can be reduced by cream given by your doctor.
- Wash the area with warm water once daily. Over-washing may do more harm than good.
- Prevention is better than cure. Avoid wearing tight undergarments or clothing, avoid vaginal sprays or powders and use condoms during sexual intercourse.
If you have infections, the doctor may prescribe appropriate medications according to your causative organisms. In post-menopausal women, lack of estrogen causes vulvitis and they may be given topical estrogen to prevent vulva dryness.
Dealing with vulvitis is not a complicated issue as long as the exact cause is found. Hygiene habits and appropriate lifestyle changes are very effective in dealing with most cases of vulvitis. If you experienced any discomfort or pain around the vulva, please consult your doctor immediately to check for the cause. You can read more about vulvitis treatment by DoctorOnCall on their website.