How Can You Tell if Your Vulva is Inflamed?

“Vulvitis is an inflammation of the vulva. This is the soft folds of skin outside the vagina. It’s a symptom that can result from an array of diseases. This can include infections, injuries, allergies, or irritants. Because it can be challenging to find the exact cause, diagnosing & treating this condition can be difficult” [1]
So this is why visiting an Experienced Vulvodynia Specialist, is the way forward

What Causes Vulvitis?

There is a long list of potential culprits, and vulvitis can be caused by one, or a combination of the following:
•Toilet paper made with dye or perfume
•Perfumed bubble bath
•Perfumed soap
•Hair conditioner
•Laundry detergents
•Vaginal sprays
•Vaginal deodorant
•Douche products
•Chlorine and other chemicals in the swimming pool /hot tub
•Non-cotton underwear
•Underwear that does not have a cotton crotch
•Rubbing the vagina against a bicycle seat
•Horse riding
•Keeping a wet bathing suit on for an extended period of time
•Infections e.g., mites (scabies) or pubic lice [1].

“Any woman with certain allergies, sensitivities, infections or diseases, can develop vulvitis. Women may develop it before puberty & after menopause. – This may be due to a drop in oestrogen” [1]

So What Are the Symptoms of Vulvitis?

These comprise:
•Swelling and redness of the labia and other areas in the vulva
•Overwhelming itching
•Fluid-filled, clear blisters
•White, thick, scaly or sore patches on the vulva

Note: as the symptoms can resemble other medical issues or conditions, it is crucial to be examined by an experienced Vulvodynia Specialist. Unfortunately, the majority of general practitioners (GPs), have not undergone the necessary intensive training, and to that end, it is easy for them to make a misdiagnosis.

How Will a Vulvodynia Pain Consultant Diagnose My Vulvitis?

In the first instance, they will review your medical history, ask you specific questions, and then, if necessary, give you an examination. They may also carry out one or more of the following tests:
•A blood test
•A urine test
•An STD test (for sexually transmitted diseases)
•A Pap test (smear). This checks for inflammation, infection, and pre-cancers (cell changes on the cervix, which, without treatment, could potentially develop into cervical cancer) [1].


[1]. John Hopkins Medicial (2022). ‘Vulvitis.’