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Vulvovaginal Rash: All You Need To Know

What is Vaginal Rash? |What Causes Rashes On The Vulva And Vagina?|Symptoms |reatment of Vaginal Rash|Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies
Vulvovaginal Rash: All You Need To Know

What is Vaginal Rash? 

You may find that your vagina or the area surrounding it is itchy and irritated. This may make you feel anxious as your vagina is a sensitive area, and a healthy vagina should not itch.

Rashes on the vulva and in the vagina have various causes. In this article we will list down some possible causes of rashes on the vulva, the genital area outside, including the labia and vaginal opening, and in the vagina, which is found inside.

What Causes Rashes On The Vulva And Vagina?

Below are the possible rashes on the vulva and vagina causes:

Vaginitis

One of the possible vaginal rash causes is vaginitis. Vaginitis Is the term we use to refer to disorders of the vagina caused by a change in the normal vaginal flora, infection, or inflammation. Along with itchiness or rash, other symptoms may include:

  • Change in color, odor, and/or amount of vagina discharge
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain when you urinate
  • Light vaginal bleeding

There are many types of vaginitis. Some of these are bacterial vaginosis (an overgrowth of bacteria inside the vagina), yeast infections (a type of yeast growing in the vagina), and trichomoniasis (a parasite transmitted through intercourse).

Reduced estrogen levels (usually in menopausal women), foreign bodies, such as condom or tampons, allergens and irritants (douches, washes, etc.), and skin disorders may also be a cause for vaginitis.

Treatment for vaginitis will depend primarily on the type.

Immediately consult a doctor if you develop unusual vaginal discomfort coupled with these symptoms:

  • Particularly unpleasant vaginal odor, discharge, or itching
  • Multiple sex partners, a new partner, or a partner that was recently diagnosed with an STI
  • Fever, chills or pelvic pain

Lichen Sclerosus

A common condition that causes white, patchy skin to appear usually in the anogenital area. The affected skin looks thinner than normal. While this condition can occur anywhere in the body, it is commonly found around or near the genital or anal area. It is possible for anyone to contract lichen sclerosus. However the risk for postmenopausal women are high compared to other demographics. Lichen sclerosus is one of the rarer causes of rashes on the vulva and rarely, in the vagina.

Some symptoms of lichen sclerosus include.

  • Itching (may be severe)
  • Pain
  • Smooth white patches on your skin
  • Blotchy wrinkled patches
  • Bleeding
  • Ulcerated sores
  • Painful sex

The causes for lichen sclerosus is unknown. Doctors suspect that lichen sclerosus may have something to do with your immune system.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis may happen if the genital area comes into contact with substances that can cause irritation or an allergic reaction. Products such as soaps, feminine washes, lotions, or perfumes may be the cause of contact dermatitis in the vulva.

Contact dermatitis in the vagina occurs because the woman has an allergy to latex condoms.

Lichen Simplex Chronicus

A skin condition that starts with itchy patches of skin, Lichen simplex chronicus, a common form of neurodermatitis, may be one of the causes of rashes on the vulva and vagina.. Scratching these patches may cause these areas to become itchier. Hence, the itch-scratch cycle ensues causing damage to the sensitive vulvovaginal skin.

Chronic neurodermatitis causes the affected area to be leathery and thick due to chronic friction caused by scratching. While it is not life threatening and not contagious, it may cause major discomfort. Here are some signs that you may have neurodermatitis:

  • Patches of itchy skin
  • Scaly or leathery texture of the affected areas
  • Patches are darker or are more red than other areas of your skin

You might want to seek medical attention if neurodermatitis prevents you from living your life normally without distractions. This is usually associated with emotional triggers and stressors such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Finally, be mindful as constant scratching of the affected area may lead to a wound, infection, and further complications.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common disease of the skin that can affect any area, including your genitals and anus. Cells build up on the skin surface due to a speeded up life cycle.This excess of skin can be itchy and painful. Here are some symptoms of psoriasis:

  • Red patchy skin covered by thick silvery scales
  • Small scaling spots
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Soreness
  • Dry, cracked skin that can possibly bleed

While there is no direct cure for psoriasis, it is still possible to manage and moderate its condition.

Molluscom Contagiosum

A common viral skin infection, molluscom contagiosum caues patches of small red shiny bumps to appear in your skin, including the pubic area. Adults with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to contracting the disease. It can be transmitted sexually. You may also catch the infection if your genitals come into contact with objects that contain the virus, such as towels, seat covers, or underwear.

Possible symptoms include bumps on the skin that:

  • Are raised, dimpled-bumps which are skin colored
  • Are a quarter of an inch
  • Have small indentations
  • May be red or inflamed
  • Can be removed by itching and scratching

If you notice that your bumps fit the descriptions above, be careful in removing them. Scratching or removing these bumps may spread the virus to other parts of your body or to other people. This condition is self-limited, meaning it goes away by itself and isn’t dangerous.

Scabies

Scabies is a skin condition caused by a mite or parasite that is burrowing underneath your skin. The itchiness occurs where the mite is burrowing.

Here are some symptoms that indicate you might have scabies:

  • Itching, severe and noticeably worse at night
  • Thin, irregular burrow tracks composed of tiny blisters or bumps on your skin

Scabies is highly contagious and should be treated immediately.

STIs

Sexually Transmitted Infections can also be the cause for your vaginal rash. Experiencing redness, irritation, inflammation, and itching in the genital area may be indicative of herpes and syphilis.

Symptoms

Rashes on vagina causes discomfort, along with other symptoms, such as:

  • itching
  • burning sensation
  • blisters or sores
  • skin discoloration
  • fever
  • vaginal discharge
  • inflammation
  • patches of swollen skin
  • vaginal odor
  • pelvic pain
  • pain upon urination or sexual intercourse
  • enlargement of lymph nodes

reatment of Vaginal Rash

Treatment for vaginal rash may depend on the disease or infection you are experiencing. Consult with a doctor to receive the correct treatment. Your doctor may prescribe topical or oral medication depending on your condition.

Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

Here are some good ways to avoid vaginal rash

  • Practice good hygiene. Use water or unscented non-soap cleanser to wash genitalia. Use warm (not hot) water and the hand (not a washcloth). Wash off dead skin, dirt, and sweat that may have gathered, especially in the folds of your vagina.
  • Limit your number of sexual partners.
  • Practice proper after-sex hygiene, such as washing your genital area after intercourse.
  • Always use a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections or STIs.
  • Avoid irritants in the genital area like strong perfume, detergents, iodine-containing feminine wash, napkin use an the likes

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Is My Vagina Normal? https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/vagina-shapes-and-sizes/ Accessed 28 April 2020

Vaginitis https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354707 Accessed 28 April 2o20

Lichen Sclerosus https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lichen-sclerosus/symptoms-causes/syc-20374448 Accessed 28 April 2020

Lichen Sclerosus – Diagnosis and Treatment https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lichen-sclerosus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374452 Accessed 28 April 2020

Contact Dermatitis https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/contact-dermatitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352742 Accessed 28 April 2020

Neurodermatitis https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neurodermatitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20375634 Accessed 28 April 2020

Psoriasis https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840 date accessed 4/28/20

Molluscum Contagiosum https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/molluscum-contagiosum/symptoms-causes/syc-20375226 date accessed 4/28/20

Scabies https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scabies/symptoms-causes/syc-20377378 date accessed 4/28/20

Scabies – Diagnosis and Treatment https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scabies/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377383 date accessed 4/28/20

Vulvar contact dermatitis, https://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1255&context=pog, Accessed July 7, 2021
Sexual Dysfunction in Female Patients With Neurodermatitis, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.2164/jandrol.110.010959, Accessed July 7, 2021
Lichen Simplex Chronicus, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499991/, Accessed July 7, 2021
Vaginal lichen sclerosus: report of two cases, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5819327/#:~:text=Lichen%20sclerosus%20(LS)%20is%20a,that%20rarely%20affects%20the%20vagina., Accessed July 7, 2021

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Written by Sky Abundo Updated Jul 07
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, M.D.
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