It’s time to talk gynea stuff, and for the third installment of our new gynea series we discuss irritated vulva. Join us everyday for two weeks for expert advice on common intimate issues
Call them what you will – ‘women’s issues’, ‘intimate health problems’, ‘gynae things’, whatever, all women will experience at least one or two intimate conditions at some stage in their life.
Over the next two weeks, Healthista will be sharing some common intimate conditions many women experience but don’t talk about.
Here is what is helpful to know about some of the most common intimate issues, today we discuss why you may be experiencing an irritated vulva.
Who knew vulval disorders are some of the most common problems seen by gynaecologists?
Common causes include infections like thrush and generally harmless skin conditions like lichen sclerosus (which typically causes itchy white patches around the vulva – or opening of the vagina).
This condition can be irritated by perfumed soaps and perfumed products
This condition can be irritated by perfumed soaps and perfumed products, plus spermicide or panty liners and sanitary towels. It can also be exacerbated by wearing tight, restrictive clothing.
Ulcers are also a fairly common vulval condition but can potentially be indicative of something more serious like Crohn’s disease or chancroid (a sexually transmitted disease).
What can help:
Vulval disease that is dermatologically related can be treated with ‘emollient soap substitutes, using a barrier cream on the affected area like petroleum jelly and possibly a prescription steroid cream’, says consultant gynaecologist Tania Adib from The Medical Chambers Kensington.
Try to avoid anything likely to inflame the condition – including perfumed bath and body products, perfumed toilet paper, restrictive or tight clothing or wearing your wet swimming costume for any length of time.
Always schedule in a gynae examination at the earliest opportunity to catch any problem quickly
Wear loose clothing and/or natural breathable fabrics (including your underwear) instead of manmade fibres to improve the condition and if vulval irritation is making sex uncomfortable use a vaginal lubricant/moisturiser daily to help.
Always schedule in a gynae examination at the earliest opportunity to catch any problem quickly and to rule out anything potentially serious like a pre-cancerous condition (the risk is very low but having lichen sclerosus does increase your risk of cancer of the vulva).