The vulva is the outer part of the female genitalia and is a sensitive part of the body. Vulvar disease is an abnormality or pathological condition that affects a part or all of the vulva. Some of the common infections may include folliculitis, contact dermatitis, and vulvodynia, among others. The health of your genitalia is a sensitive aspect of your health, and an infection in this part could be both uncomfortable and irritating. If you are experiencing any abnormalities in your vulva, such as itching pain or a burning sensation, it would be wise to consult a gynecologist as soon as possible. At All Women’s Care in Los Angeles, we will help you overcome any reproductive system issue you may be having.
Overview of Vulvar Disease
The vulvar is the outer part of the female genitalia and is quite sensitive to the surrounding environments. Itching, presence of a burning sensation, or pain in this area could indicate vulvar disease. If you experience any abnormality, you should contact your gynecologist. Several infections could affect your vulvar ranging from mild skin infection to cancer of the vulvar.
When you visit the gynecologist, a physical exam is performed to identify the severity of your symptoms. Also, a swab or biopsy may be carried out to determine the exact condition. Treatment for diseases of the vulva could be either medication, home remedies, or even surgery.
Vulvar cancer is cancer that affects the fleshy outer part of the female genitalia. In most cases, vulva cancer will form a red and itchy lump around the vulva area. It is not clear what caused this type of cancer, but it is often diagnosed in older females. The conditions begin when cells develop mutations in your DNA. This allows the cell to grow and divide, causing the death of healthy cells.
Vulvar cancer can either be melanoma or cell carcinoma. The carcinoma begins as thin cells forming on the vulvar area, while melanoma is a pigment-producing cell on the skin. The type of cancer you have helps the gynecologist determine the cause of treatment.
Risk Factors of Vulvar Cancer
Even though the particular cause of the condition is not known, the following factors can increase your chances of developing vulvar cancer:
- Exposure to HPV — HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, and the presence of the disease in your genitalia exposes you to different forms of cancer, including cervical and vulvar cancer.
- Increasing Age — Advancement of age increases your risk of developing vulvar cancer
- Compromised immune system — Individuals who have had severe conditions or surgeries in the past may have a weak immune system. This may increase the probability of suffering from vulva cancer during old age.
- Smoking — If you smoke cigarettes, your risk of developing this condition increases.
- History of precancerous conditions — If you have vulvar intraepithelial neoplastic, you may get vulvar cancer in the future.
Some of the symptoms of vulvar cancer you need to look out for include:
- Consistent itching on the vulvar area
- Pain and tenderness that doesn’t go away
- Bleeding that does not come from menstruation
- Thickening and change in color of the skin
- Bumps and open sores on the vulva
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should not hesitate to contact a gynecologist. Vulvar cancer can be diagnosed during regular gynecology visits if you experience painful or irritating symptoms. The condition is diagnosed through examinations, magnification as well as biopsy, where a sample is taken from the area and taken to the lab.
The type of treatment you get for vulvar cancer will be determined by your overall health and the disease’s stage. Treatment options could be undergoing a surgical procedure to get rid of the cancerous tissues. The surgery could be minor or extensive, depending on the extent of cancer. When cancer has spread through the lymph nodes, surgery can remove these parts as a way to get rid of cancer. Radio and chemotherapies are also used to treat vulvar cancer.
Folliculitis is a condition where hair follicles get inflamed, causing red bumps on the vulva. Although folliculitis is not life-threatening, it can cause itching and swelling. This condition is often a result of bacterial infections on hair follicles. Some of the risk factors for developing this condition include:
- Having a medical condition such as HIV that would suppress your immunity increases your chances of developing this condition.
- Being on medications such as prolonged tie antibiotics or steroids can increase your risk of folliculitis.
- Wearing clothes that trap heat and sweat
- Soaking in a poorly maintained bathtub can cause you to develop folliculitis in the vulva.
The symptoms of folliculitis that you need to check out for include:
- Blisters that are filled with pus
- Small red bumps that develop around the hair follicles
- Tender and painful skin
- Itching and burning sensations on the vulvar area
- A mass of large swollen bumps
Folliculitis is diagnosed by observation of the skin around your vulvar area and checking your medical history. Treatment for this condition could range from creams and pills to minor surgeries. Once you develop an instance of folliculitis, it is likely to recur in the future. Also, you may develop boils, black spots, and permanent skin damage.
Some of the ways through which you could prevent folliculitis include:
- Shaving with care. If you want to cut your pubic area, you should do it with care and less frequently to avoid inflammation of the hair follicles.
- Contact your gynecologist. Depending on the nature of your past experiences, your doctor can recommend ways through which you can prevent a recurrence.
- Avoid tight clothes. Avoiding tight underwear can help you avoid incidents of folliculitis.
- Use cleat hot tubs. If you have to get into a hot tub, you need to ensure that they are treated with chlorine.
Vulvodynia is chronic pain or discomfort around the vulva that doesn’t have a definite cause. The pain that accompanies this condition could last for up to three months and causes immense discomfort. If you have trouble and irritation of the vulva without visible inflammation or wound, you should seek the help of a gynecologist. Even though the leading cause of the disease isn’t clear, the following factors increase your risk of developing this condition:
- Irritation and injury to the vulvar region
- Skin sensitivity
- A history of vaginal infections
- A weakness of the pelvic area
- Hormonal imbalance
Some of the symptoms that could indicate that you have vulvodynia include:
- Burning sensation on the vulvar area
- Soreness and pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Itching and stinging
Most women do not mention this problem to the doctor during visits due to a lack of visible signs. However, any itchiness or burning sensation on your genitalia should be discussed with your gynecologist. Before diagnosing vulvodynia, your doctor will want to know your history and try to understand the severity of your symptoms. The gynecologist may perform pelvic exams and cotton swabs even when a visual sign if the infection isn’t present.
Treatment for vulvodynia focuses on relieving your symptoms, and the treatment method will depend on specific details of your situation. The following are some treatment options:
- Local anesthetics. Your doctor may recommend some ointment that you can apply for temporary relief of pain and soreness.
- Antidepressants and antihistamines could help lessen chronic pain which results from vulvodynia
- Nerve blocks. If you have severe pain that doesn’t go away with other forms of treatment, the doctor could recommend nerve blocking injections.
- In cases where vulvodynia is localized, surgical procedures could be used to remove the affected skin.
- Pelvic floor therapy. Having muscle weakness in the pelvic floor predisposes you to vulvodynia. Pelvic floor therapy strengthens the muscles and relieves pain.
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by herpes simplex. The disease causes pain, itching, and sores on the vulvar and other parts of the genitalia. Often, there is no cure for genital hers, but a gynecologist could recommend some medications to ease the symptoms. Women who have multiple sexual partners are more likely to develop genital herpes.
Most people who develop genital herpes may not realize it due to a lack of symptoms. However, when they manifest, the symptoms include:
- Tiny blisters on the vulvar area. The blisters could last for a few days or weeks after infection
- Pain and itching. When you have genital herpes, you are likely to experience tenderness and pain in the genital area. Itching on your vulva is quite uncomfortable and embarrassing, and you should not be reluctant to discuss the issue with a gynecologist.
- Ulceration forms when the blisters rupture, causing discharge and bleeding. When you develop ulceration in the vulva from genital herpes, you may have a burning sensation when passing urine.
- As the ulceration heals, the skin may form scabs and crusts which damage the area around the vulvar.
Although the symptoms of genital herpes aren’t severe, some complications arise as a result of the infection. Babies born to women infected with genital herpes are exposed to the infection at birth. The sores and ulceration that develop during this condition are a risk factor for bladder problems. Also, meningitis and rectal inflammation is a likely result of untreated genital herpes. The doctor performs a viral or blood test to diagnose herpes.
There is no cure for genital herpes. However, with prescription medications, your sores may heal sooner. Also, the drugs could lessen the severity of the symptoms and prevent instances of recurrence. Finding out that you have genital herpes could cause shame and anger. However, you need to get your partner to see a gynecologist help avoid such an infection in the future.
If you are pregnant and are experiencing a symptom that resembles those of genital herpes, you should contact a gynecologist immediately. This will help in early diagnosis and treatment to avoid complications with the pregnancy. Also, when you take the medication, an infection to the baby during birth is prevented.
Bartholin Gland Cyst
The Bartholin glands are located on the vagina opening, and they secrete fluids that aid in vaginal lubrication. When the opening of these glands gets obstructed, the fluid gets back into the glands, causing a cyst. Although the cyst is often painless, it could get infected, causing an abscess. Doctors believe that the Bartholin cyst is caused by fluid retention on the glands. When the fluid bursts, bacteria will enter, causing an infection.
You should seek medical attention if you have a painful lump at the opening of the vagina. Even after treatment, it is common for the cyst to recur later. A full brow infection could occur within a few days. The treatment you get for this condition will depend on the size and extent of the cyst. The following symptoms may help indicate the presence of a Bartholin cyst is:
- Discomfort when sitting or walking
- A tender and a painful lump near the vaginal opening
- Pain during sex
When you visit a doctor, they will want to understand our health history. This will entail any medications you are taking or a history of sexually transmitted diseases. Also, a pelvic exam is carried out to identify the size of the bump. Simple secretions are removed from the area and taken to the lab to test for sexually transmitted infections. In the case of a recurrence, a mass biopsy is carried out to rule out the possibility of vulvar cancer.
In most cases, a Bartholin cyst will require no treatment, especially where there are no signs. However, where treatment is needed, the cyst’s level of infection and size is considered during treatment. Some of the most common treatment options for a Bartholin cyst include:
- Surgical drainage. If the cyst in your genitalia is large or highly infected, you may need to undergo minor surgery to drain it. You will receive local anesthesia then the doctor makes an incision to remove the fluid. A catheter may have to remain on the incision for up to six weeks. This allows all the fluid to drain.
- In the case where a lab test indicates the presence of an STD, you may get drugs to help clear the infection. However, if surgical draining was successful, you may not need antibiotics.
- Warm baths. When the cyst is small in size and is intact, soaking in a war, a water bath may soften the area causing it to burst and drain without surgery.
- Removal of the glands. If you have a recurring Bartholin cyst infection that doesn’t clear with other treatment options, surgery can be used to permanently remove the Bartholin glands.
A Bartholin cyst could either be a simple infection that clears with antibiotics or a more severe problem like vulvar cancer. Therefore, you should not hesitate to contact a gynecologist if you have a cyst.
Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina and vulva that results in discharge. Vaginitis could either be bacterial or yeast, depending on the organisms present in your genitalia.
Risk factors that are associated with vulvovaginitis include:
- Hormonal change that occurs during pregnancy, from birth control or menopause, could increase the risk of getting vulvovaginitis.
- Use of strong hygiene products that irritate the skin around your vulva area
- Wearing tight clothing that does not allow air to get into your body.
- Using spermicides as a method of birth control
- Having a history of sexually transmitted
- Prolonged use of steroids and antibiotics
Vulvovaginitis is caused by:
- Bacteria. Bacterial vaginosis is a common form of vaginitis, and it results from an overgrowth of healthy bacteria. The condition is linked to having multiple sexual
- Yeast. When fungus such as candida Albicans presence in your vagina overgrows, you can develop vulvovaginitis.
- Exposure to irritants such as soaps, shampoo, and other feminine products could cause vulvovaginitis. Also, poor hygiene could cause irritation and the development of the condition.
- Sexually transmitted infections. If you have a history of a sexually transmitted disease, you could easily suffer from vulvovaginitis.
Some of the ways through which vulvovaginitis manifests are:
- Irritation of the genital area
- Itching of the vulvar
- Inflammation of the labia and perineal area
- A burning sensation and discomfort during urination
Due to the inflammation caused by vaginitis, you may be at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. When you visit a gynecologist, the problem gets diagnosed by discussing the severity of your symptoms. A test is also carried out to detect the kind of organism that is causing the problem. Once you are diagnosed, your doctor will prescribe medications, including antibiotics, to clear the infection.
Lichen sclerosis is a condition that creates white patches on the skin, making it appear thinner. Although anyone could contract Lichen Sclerosus, women who have reached menopause have an increased risk of developing this condition. If you have a weak immune system from past illnesses, you may quickly develop Lichen Sclerosus. For individuals with a mild infection, there are no signs. However, some symptoms that are present in the vulva include:
- Redness and irritation
- Itching that could be serious and uncomfortable
- White and tender patches on the skin around the vulvar
- Tearing and bleeding of the skin around the vulva
- Blistering and presence of ulcerated sores
- Pain during intercourse
It would be wise to consult with a gynecologist if you are experiencing an abnormality in your genitalia. Through a physical examination and performing a biopsy, your doctor can detect Lichen Sclerosus. If the infection is spread through your genitalia or is producing severe symptoms, your doctor could recommend treatment. The treatment will help relieve the itchiness and soreness. However, it is crucial to understand that the condition could recur. Therefore, you can try the following home remedies and self-care tips:
- Apply lubricants on the affected area
- Washing your genitalia gently while avoiding harsh feminine products
- Sit on ice packs to ease the burning sensation and pain
- Take antihistamine drugs to help control itching.
Genital warts are a common, sexually transmitted infection that occurs in sexually active individuals. For women, the infection affects the vulva forming colored bumps that resemble a cauliflower. Genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus. Risk factors for getting infected with genital warts include:
- Presence of other sexually transmitted infections
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Being sexually active at a young age
- Having a weak immune system
When genital herpes appears on the vulvar, you may experience the following signs:
- Small swellings around the genital area
- Cauliflower-shaped bumps caused by several warts
- Bleeding during sexual intercourse
- Discomfort and itching of the vulvar
Genital warts are caused by the HPV virus that is linked to the development of cervical cancer. Therefore if you have a history of genital warts, you may be at risk of cervical cancer. When the warts are too large in pregnancy, there is a likelihood that the baby could develop warts in the mouth and throat. If you have itching and discomfort from warts, your doctor will recommend medication to get rid of the infection. For larger warts, you may need surgery to remove them. If you have an onset of warts, it is crucial to consult a doctor for effective treatment.
Treat Vulvar Disease with the Help of a Competent Gynecologist Near Me
The female genitalia is quite sensitive and is prone to a wide range of diseases and infections. You should not entrust the treatment of conditions to any doctor. You will require a facility where you feel at ease explaining your problems for a better outcome. If you or your loved one is suffering from vulvar disease, you should contact a gynecologist. At All Women’s Care, we strive to display the highest standards to help you understand the nature and severity of your condition. Also, we will let you know the treatments available for the particular vulvar disease you may be battling. Contact us today from any location in Los Angeles at 213-250-9461, and allow us to guide you through the path to recovery.