Vulvar irritation – causes and Treatment

Most women have the random vaginal itch, which is usually quite harmless and not a sign of anything serious. However, frequent or constant vulvar irritation, itching, soreness, redness and/or swelling is usually the result of an underlying condition that requires evaluation. The external female genitals can become irritated due to contact irritants in ordinary hygienic products, inflammation, infection, skin dermatoses as well as pre-cancer and cancers. In addition to these skin and or external factors, internal factors arising from the vagina can give rise to external symptoms as well.

Internal Factors
The internal flora of the vagina consists of over 30 different strains of bacteria, some good, and most bad. Generally the good bacteria dominate the bad, and as long as this balance exists, the vagina remains in a healthy state. However, if something should occur to unsettle this balance and make the bad bacteria take control, then this can result in abnormal secretions, which irritate the vulva.

External Factors
External irritants that can affect the vulvar include chemical ingredients such as those found in some feminine hygiene products. Other products that may also result in vulvar irritation include soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, anti-cling agents, shampoos and conditioners, and toilet paper.

The source of the vulvar irritation is not very easy to identify, and may require expert diagnostic tools, such as those available at FowlerGynInternational.com (FGI). At FGI this included a vaginal fluid analysis to identify abberant factors in vaginal secretions. Women with vulvar irritation should have all the potential cause addressed in their treatment protocol for it to be effective.

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