PRURITUS VULVAE (Female Genital Itching)
(Female Genital Itching)
DESCRIPTIONPruritus vulvae is an acute or chronic disorder of the skin around the vulva (the vaginal lips) and anus. This disorder is characterized by severe itching. It is not contagious. The vulva and skin surrounding the vulva and anus are involved. Females of all ages are affected.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis has been established.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSIntense itching, sensitivity, and irritation in the genital area. The skin may be dry and red. With secondary infection the skin may become moist and ooze.
Thin, white vaginal discharge (sometimes).
Discomfort during sexual intercourse.
CAUSESSkin disease, such as psoriasis or lichen planus.
Systemic disease, such as diabetes.
Atrophy and dryness caused by estrogen deficiency.
Skin reaction to irritants, such as toilet tissue, sanitary pads, soap, douches, deodorants, powders, perfume, and fabric.
Systemic allergies, including food allergies.
Disorder of the vagina or rectum, such as vaginitis or hemorrhoids.
Days prior to menstruation.
Hot, humid weather.
Lack of urinary control.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your daughter:
Wear cotton panties rather than nylon.
Avoid contact with irritants listed above.
Obtain medical treatment for underlying causes.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Diagnostic measures including cultures of involved skin to test for yeast or fungus infection.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSSecondary bacterial infection of the inflamed skin.
Home treatment usually provides relief in 4 to 7 days. If medical treatment becomes necessary, allow 2 weeks for recovery.
HOME CAREInstructions for your daughter:
Follow suggestions under
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE.
Keep the area as dry and cool as possible. Wear loose clothing.
Don't scratch the itchy area. Scratching will aggravate soreness and irritation.
Wash the genital area with water and unscented soap only once a day.
After urinating or having a bowel movement, clean the genital area gently with absorbent cotton or antiseptic wipes. Wipe from front to back (vagina to anus).
During menstruation, use tampons rather than sanitary napkins until the disorder heals.
Use a lubricant such as K-Y Lubricating Jelly or baby oil during intercourse.
MEDICATIONMore potent steroid creams or lotions to reduce inflammation. These require 24 to 36 hours to provide relief.
Ointments that contain hormones.
Benzodiazepines or antihistamines at night to ensure rest.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your daughter may use low-potency, non-prescription steroid creams or ointments. If these are not effective, your doctor may prescribe:
Your daughter should avoid overexertion, heat, and excessive sweating.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet, except for your daughter to avoid foods to which she may be allergic.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your daughter has symptoms of pruritis vulvae.
Symptoms don't improve in 2 weeks, despite treatment.
Scratching leads to skin infection.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.