Vulva skin disorders that cause itching
Some of the skin disorders that affect the vulva include folliculitis, contact dermatitis, Bartholin gland cysts, lichen simplex chronicus, lichen sclerosis, and lichen planus.
Folliculitis appears as small, red, and sometimes painful bumps caused by bacteria that infect a hair follicle. It can occur on the labia majora. This can happen because of shaving, waxing, or even friction. Folliculitis often goes away by itself. Attention to hygiene, wearing loose clothing, and warm compresses applied to the area can help speed up the healing process. If the bumps do not go away or they get bigger, see your gynecologist or other health care professional. You may need additional treatment.
Contact dermatitis is caused by irritation of the skin by things such as soaps, fabrics, or perfumes. Signs and symptoms can include extreme itching, rawness, stinging, burning, and pain. Treatment involves avoidance of the source of irritation and stopping the itching so that the skin can heal. Ice packs or cold compresses can reduce irritation. A thin layer of plain petroleum jelly can be applied to protect the skin. Medication may be needed for severe cases.
Bartholin Gland Cysts
The Bartholin glands are located under the skin on either side of the opening of the vagina. They release a fluid that helps with lubrication during sexual intercourse. If the Bartholin glands become blocked, a cyst can form, causing a swollen bump near the opening of the vagina. Bartholin gland cysts usually are not painful unless they become infected. If this occurs, an abscess can form.
If your cyst is not causing pain, it can be treated at home by sitting in a warm, shallow bath or by applying a warm compress. If an abscess has formed, treatment involves draining the cyst using a needle or other instrument in a health care professional’s office.
Lichen simplex chronicus may be a result of contact dermatitis or other skin disorder that has been present for a long time. Thickened, scaly areas called “plaques” appear on the vulvar skin. These plaques cause intense itching that may interfere with sleep. Treatment involves stopping the “itch-scratch” cycle so that the skin can heal. Steroid creams often are used for this purpose. The underlying condition should be treated as well.
Lichen sclerosus is a skin disorder that can cause itching, burning, pain during sex, and tears in the skin. The vulvar skin may appear thin, white, and crinkled. White bumps may be present with dark purple coloring. A steroid cream is used to treat lichen sclerosus.
Lichen planus is a skin disorder that most commonly occurs on the mucous membranes of the mouth. Occasionally, it also affects the skin of the genitals. Itching, soreness, burning, and abnormal discharge may occur. The appearance of lichen planus is varied. There may be white streaks on the vulvar skin, or the entire surface may be white. There may be bumps that are dark pink in color.
Treatment of lichen planus may include medicated creams or ointments, vaginal tablets, prescription pills, or injections. This condition is difficult to treat and usually involves long-term treatment and follow-up.
Genital Herpes can show no symptoms or be silent. When symptoms arise, you may have any of the following:
- Sores or blisters around the vaginal region, vulva and/or cervix.
- Fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, discharge, vaginal itching or pain while urinatingSource: www.acog.org
HPV can show no signs for years—sometimes there are never symptoms at all! In that case, a gyno exam is needed to diagnose the condition. If they appear, symptoms will include:
- Genital warts
- Itching around the vaginal area.