We run a specialist clinic for skin problems around the genital area. As well as providing the best possible course of treatment, our specialist clinicians offer support and guidance for patients who find their condition physically or emotionally distressing.
The clinic is run by one of our consultant dermatologists, Dr Kate Short.
This is a common problem as the vulva is a sensitive area which is exposed to various things which may irritate it for example, urine and blood.
Vulval eczema may be associated with eczema elsewhere or may occur on its own. It may be brought on by an episode of thrush or a reaction to a cream or wearing of tight clothing which has caused friction.
Vulval eczema usually improves but the skin is going to be more sensitive for a few months and may react to things that previously did not cause a problem.
The following measures should help:
- avoid tight clothing, nylon or Lycra underwear or shorts
- avoid using soap, bubble bath or shampoo in the bath
- apply your steroid cream as directed. If you have no symptoms then use it less often. If your symptoms recur then increase the frequency again.
This is a condition that usually affects women who have never had any problems until they get an episode of something such as thrush, eczema or have an operation.
When this episode has cleared they are left with hypersensitivity of the inner part of the vulva, which is called the vestibule.
This can mean that sexual intercourse, inserting tampons and touch of the area causes discomfort. There is no evidence that this is due to infection so you can’t give anything to your partner. The condition usually improves but may take months or even a few years.
Treatments consist of the following steps which usually help:
- avoid tight clothing and nylon or Lycra pants or shorts
- avoid using soap, bubble bath or shampoo in the bath or deodorants in this area
- use Epaderm as a soap substitute and moisturiser
- you may be given an antihistamine tablet to stop the irritation
- amitriptyline, an antidepressant tablet useful for neuralgia, where the nerve endings become oversensitive. It is used in small doses to start with in order to reduce the side effects of sleepiness, and the dose gradually increased.