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Vulval Disorders - Vulvar Pain, Burning and Itching - Causes and Symptoms

There are numerous vulval disorders that can affect the skin of the vulva or cause pain, itching or burning sensations. If you experience any of the above, please contact a specialist.

What Different Types of Vulval Disorders are there?

There are many different types of vulval disorders, including:

Skin Disorders

  • Folliculitis - Small, red bumps are symptomatic of folliculitis. This is caused when bacteria infects hair follicles and can sometimes be painful. These often disappear with time.
  • Contact Dermatitis - Irritation of the skin by soaps, perfumes or fabrics. Symptoms include extreme itching, stinging, pain and burning.
  • Bartholin Gland Cysts - The Bartholin glands secrete a fluid to aid in lubrication during sexual intercourse. When these become blocked a cyst can form, causing a swollen bump in the vagina. These are not usually painful unless they are infected. An abscess can form if this is the case.
  • Lichen Simplex Chronicus - This can come as a result of long time skin disorders or contact dermatitis. Symptoms include itchy, scaly areas called "plaques".
  • Lichen Scelrosus - This skin disorder can cause itching, burning, pain during sex and skin tears. The skin of the vulva may be thin, white and wrinkled with white bumps.
  • Lichen Planus - This skin disorder is more commonly found in the mouth, but occasionally can affect genital skin. Symptoms can include itchiness, soreness, burning and abnormal discharge. The appearance of Lichen Planus varies, the whole of the vulval skin can be white, or there may be white streaks and/or dark pink bumps.
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Other Disorders

  • Vulvodynia - Symptoms include many different types of pain, described as burning, stinging, irratation, rawness, aching, throbbing and swelling. The pain can be localised to one place such as the clitoris or over the entire vulva. Symptoms can be consistent or come and go without warning.
  • Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) - This is caused by a decrease in sexual hormones, primarily estrogen, during menopause and perimenopause. Vaginal dryness, painful sexual intercourse, frequent UTIs, burning, itching and irritation.
  • Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia - VIN is often caused by a HPV infection - the presence on abnormal non-cancerous cells. Symptoms can include itching, burning or abnormal skin. This should be treated to prevent the development of vulvar cancer.
  • Vulvar Cancer - Vulvar cancer can be caused by a HPV infection. Other cancerns which affect the vulva inclkude melanoma (skin cancer) or Paget disease. These can be signs of cancer in another area of the body, such as the breast or colon. Symptoms include burning, inflammation, pain or itchiness, as well as lumps or sores on the vulva, changes to the skin colour or a bump in the groin.

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Diagnosis for Vulval Disorders:

We highly recommend expert diagnosis and advice for all symptoms and potential problems. Diagnosis for prolapse will include a physical exam, as well as a discussion of your symptoms and medical history.

Well Woman Clinic always puts the patient first. We're here to listen to your concerns and help to reassure you. When you book with Well Woman Clinic, you skip the long wait times of the NHS and gain direct access to the UK's leading consultants.

How can Vulval Disorders be Treated?

Vulval Disorders can be treated differently depending on the condition and severity of symptoms. For skin conditions, if the symptoms are minor, you will often be recommended to leave the area alone and promote good hygeine. For other conditions, the treatment will differ considerably. We highly recommend you seek proper advice from a specialist. Our doctors are all consultants with many years of experience.

Can Vulval Problems be Prevented?

Certain vulval disorders can be prevented with the proper self-care measures:
  • Clean your vulva by rinsing with warm water and dabbing/patting dry.
  • Do not wear tight, or synthetic underwear.
  • Do not use tampons or other sanitary products that contain deodorant or a plastic coating.
  • Do not used perfumed soap.

Vulval Disorders - Specialists

Dr Mamta Pathak

Dr Mamta Pathak

Consultant Gynaecologist

Dr Mamta specialises in office Gynaecology consultations and procedures, having helped to establish and develop the office Gynaecology department in the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals.

Office Gynaecological procedures have made a significant clinical impact by removing the need for general anaesthesia, thereby allowing for a quick recovery following treatment.

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