“Any itching, burning or discomfort of the vulva
is often described as vulval irritation,
which is relatively common in women of all ages”.1

Umbrella
What may the Vulval Irritation Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Genital Itch
  • Vestibulitis
  • Vestibulodynia
  • Vulva/Vulval/Vulvar Discomfort/Irritation/Pain
  • Vulva/Vulval/Vulvar Skin Conditions
  • Vulvar Itching
  • Vulval Vestibulitis
  • Vulvitis
  • Vulvovaginal Discomfort/Pain

Vulva

What is the vulva?

DotS the definition of the vulva may vary. The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s (JH) definition is:

“Vulva is the name for the external parts of the female genitals (private parts). The vulva is often mistakenly called the vagina, but the vagina is the internal, or inside part of your genitals”.2

Vulval Irritation

What is vulval irritation?

DotS the definition of vulval irritation may vary. In Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Irritation the JH explain:

“Any itching, burning or discomfort of the vulva is often described as vulval irritation, which is relatively common in women of all ages. A small part of the vulva, or sometimes the entire vulva, can be affected.

Signs and symptoms to watch for include:

  • Burning and/or itching
  • The feeling of crawling under the skin
  • Redness and/or swelling
  • Associated vaginal discomfort and/or discharge
  • Skin cracking or splitting (fissuring)
  • Whitening of skin (leukoplakia)
  • Painful sex (dyspareunia)”.3

Vulvitis

What is vulvitis?

DotS the definition of vulvitis may vary. In Vulvitis: Overview – What Is Vulvitis? the (United States) Cleveland Clinic’s definition is:

“Vulvitis is inflammation in your vulva, or your genitals. Your vulva includes the soft folds of skin that surround your vagina, including your labia majora (the outer folds), labia minora (vaginal lips) and your clitoris. Your vulva may become inflamed because of an infection, allergic reaction or injury that irritates your skin”.4

Cause

What can cause vulval irritation?

In Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Causes of Vaginal Irritation the JH note:

Vulval Irritation
“Vulval irritation can be caused by many things, including:

  • An imbalance in the bacteria and microorganisms that naturally live inside the vagina (known as the vaginal microbiome)
  • Sweating and/or discharge from the vagina
  • Fungal, bacterial or viral infections such as:
    • Candidiasis/‘thrush’…
    • Trichomonas/‘trich’…
    • Bacterial vaginosis…
    • Genital herpes…
  • Allergies/adverse reactions to products such as:
    • Perfumed products such as ‘feminine’ hygiene sprays…
    • Sanitary pads and tampons
    • Tight and/or synthetic clothing, tights, or stockings, G-strings
    • Chlorine or wet, sandy swimwear that is left on
    • Perspiration and other bodily fluids
    • Soaps, bath and hair products
    • Laundry detergent
    • Hair removal and bleaching products
    • Condoms, spermicides and lubricants (you can buy non-latex condoms and lubricants made from other ingredients to avoid allergies)
    • Nail polish and/or fake nails, hand creams
    • Scented or coloured toilet paper or wipes
    • Douches (using a vaginal wash or douche is never advised as it disrupts the normal vaginal microbiome)
  • Some medications, and local anaesthetic
  • Piercings…
  • Ingrown hairs…
  • Bartholin glands cyst…
  • Varicose veins…
  • Hormonal changes…
  • Skin conditions such as:
    • Dermatitis/eczema
    • Lichen sclerosis
    • Psoriasis
    • Lichen planus
  • Vulval cancer”.5

Douching

What is douching?

DotS the definition of douching may vary. In Douching: What Is Douching? the Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov’s definition is:

“The word “douche” means to wash or soak. Douching is washing or cleaning out the inside of the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids. Most douches are sold in stores as prepackaged mixes of water and vinegar, baking soda, or iodine. The mixtures usually come in a bottle or bag. You squirt the douche upward through a tube or nozzle into your vagina. The water mixture then comes back out through your vagina”.6

Is douching different from washing the outside of your vagina during a bath or shower?

Yes. Womenshealth.gov explain:

“Douching is different from washing the outside of your vagina during a bath or shower. Rinsing the outside of your vagina with warm water will not harm your vagina. But, douching can lead to many different health problems.

Most doctors recommend that women do not douche”.7

Vulval Clinics

Are there clinics specializing in vulval conditions?

DotC (Depending on the Country) there may be clinics specializing in vulval conditions with gynecologists, dermatologists, physiotherapists and other multidisciplinary staff.

These multidisciplinary clinics may be called:

  • Genito-Urinary Medicine Clinics
  • Multidisciplinary Vulva/Vulval/Vulvar Clinics
  • Vulva/Vulval/Vulvar Clinics
  • Vulvovaginal Clinics

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have vulval irritation?

If you think you have vulval irritation, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The JH encourage us to seek help and explain:

“If you are experiencing vulval or vaginal irritation and your symptoms are not getting better, make an appointment with your doctor or qualified health professional. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner your symptoms will improve”.8

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to the Vulval Irritation?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Where may I find Links related to Vulval Irritation?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Irritation. Last Updated: 11 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 01 November 2022
  2. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Irritation. Last Updated: 11 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 01 November 2022
  3. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Irritation. Last Updated: 11 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 01 November 2022
  4. Vulvitis: Overview – What Is Vulvitis? Last Reviewed By A Cleveland Clinic Medical Professional on: 21 June 2022. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15175-vulvitis Accessed: 01 November 2022
  5. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Causes of Vulval Irritation. Last Updated: 11 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 01 November 2022
  6. Douching: What Is Douching? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/douching Accessed: 01 November 2022
  7. Douching: What Is Douching? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/douching Accessed: 01 November 2022
  8. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Diagnosis. Last Updated: 11 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 01 November 2022
Topic Last Updated: 01 November 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 01 November 2022

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