Genital itching and redness are common vaginal problems that affect most women at some time in their life. But there are occasions when these issues may indicate the presence of a serious condition. So when should you see a doctor about genital itching and redness?
Genital Itching And Redness: When To See A Doctor
Genital itching is a minor issue that women don’t usually need to be worried or distressed about. The skin in the vulva area is delicate, and ingredients in products such as soap and detergent can irritate these tissues and cause itching and redness.
Most women have short episodes of genital itching and redness that resolve without treatment, but when these symptoms persist, it is best to see a doctor. The doctor will make a diagnosis based on the symptoms described and an examination of the genital area and perhaps a biopsy.
When conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and lichen sclerosus and VIN/cancer have been excluded, itchy genitals and redness may be the result of vulvar contact dermatitis.
What Is Vulvar Contact Dermatitis?
Vulvar contact dermatitis is a chronic skin disorder that typically affects the external genital organs of the vulva. The condition may occur as a result of external or internal factors.
Vulvar contact dermatitis may occur as a result of the reaction of the skin to contact irritants in products like body soaps, laundry detergents, shampoos, conditioners, and toilet paper. Repeated exposure to the irritants in these products can cause symptoms to worsen.
Vulvar contact dermatitis can also be caused by changes in the vaginal secretions. This occurs when there is a shift in the normal constituents of the vaginal microflora, which leads to an altered vaginal microflora pattern.
The Vaginal Microflora
The vaginal microflora refers to the mix of 30+ strains of bacteria present in the vagina. A healthy vagina is dominated by good bacteria known as lactobacilli, which provide a protective barrier along the vaginal mucosal surfaces.
Altered Vaginal Microflora
An altered vaginal microflora pattern occurs when there is an imbalance in the vaginal microflora, which causes harmful bacteria to multiply. The secretions that originate from the abnormal microflora can irritate the vaginal tissues and cause symptoms such as itching, burning, odor, and irritation.
How Is Vulvar Contact Dermatitis Treated?
In cases where vulvar contact dermatitis is caused by external factors, Fowler GYN International (FGI) advises patients to adopt a Hypocontactant Vulvar Skin Regimen. Hypocontactant skincare products are free of ingredients that can irritate sensitive external genitalia tissues.
At FGI, they recommend a combination of products known as the FeminaRx Pure Skincare Collection. The Collection consists of an astringent skin rinse to reduce yeast and bacteria at the vaginal opening, vaginal lubricant, several types of soap, a labial emollient, moisturizing skin lotion, and shaving cream formulated for vulvar use.
The FeminaRx Pure SkinCare Collection helps keep the labial folds free of build-up and soothes the vulva tissues.
When vulvar contact dermatitis is due to internal factors, the vaginal microflora must be restored to a healthy state, to resolve symptoms. This is done by first verifying the presence of an altered vaginal microflora pattern using a vaginal fluid analysis (VFA) test.
The VFA test examines the characteristics of the vaginal fluid to determine if there is an altered vaginal microflora present. If an altered microflora is confirmed, a treatment protocol that includes medication and hypocontactant skincare products is put together.
Take the Next Step
The experts in vaginal health at Fowler GYN International (FGI) Phoenix, AZ regularly treat vulvovaginal issues such as vulvar contact dermatitis. The founding owner is Dr. R Stuart Fowler an Emeritus Mayo Clinic board certified gynecologist.
You can reach them at https://www.fowlergyninternational.com/, or by calling (480) 420-4001.