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VULVAL PAIN AND DISCOMFORT

What can cause vulval pain and itching?


Pain, itching, burning and irritation of the vulval area can be the result of a vaginal  infection , or the result of a non-infectious skin problem such as dermatitis, eczema.

 
 
 

What are the causes of non infectious skin diseases which can cause vulval pain and discomfort?


A woman's vulva can also be affected by skin problems that are not infectious and cannot be passed on to sexual partners. Soap, disinfectants and detergents used for washing underwear can easily irritate vulval skin.


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 How can vulva skin problems be treated?

Treatment often includes using a steroid cream and emollients which  are bland creams and ointments  free of skin irritants. They can be used to soothe and hydrate sore and cracked skin and as a soap substitute to clean the vulva. They are available as creams and  lotions  and are available from chemists without a prescription.

 

 How can a woman care for her vulval skin?

If you have, or are prone to, vulval problems, avoid wearing tights or tight fitting trousers. Avoid synthetic underwear and try cotton underwears  that are not too tight. Use mild soap for washing the vulval skin.

 

 What is the commonest cause of swelling in the vulva?

The commonest cause for swelling in the vulva is known as “Bartholin’s cysts”. Bartholins glands are two tiny glands present on both sides of the vaginal opening. There are tiny ducts in the gland and if those get 'clogged' up by skin cells or secretions, it can form a cyst - (a fluid filled sac). The cyst can grow from the size of a  pea to larger than a golf ball.

 

 How is Bartholin’s cyst treated?

The treatment really depends on several things; the size of the cyst, how painful it is, if it is infected and how your gynecologist chooses to treat them. Some cysts are just treated with oral antibiotics. Sometimes your gynecologist might decide to put a 'drain' into the cyst, The drain (like a thick string) stays in place for about 2 to 4 weeks. This allows the fluid to drain and causes a small opening to form inside the lip of your vagina. The drain is removed after that 2 - 4 week period.

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