Vulvar disorders can cause pain as well as itching or burning and can severely impact your quality of life. If you have any symptoms affecting your vulva, experienced gynecologist Noreen Kamal-Mostafavi, MD, in Staten Island, New York, can alleviate your discomfort and restore your vulval health, often using medications and other noninvasive therapies. Call the office and speak with a friendly team member to find out more or book an appointment online today.
Vulvar Disorders Q&A
What are vulvar disorders?
Vulvar disorders are conditions that affect the external female genitalia. That’s the labia, clitoris, glands, and other tissues around the entrance to your vagina.
Common symptoms of vulvar disorders include:
- Irritation and itchiness
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be responsible for some of these symptoms. It’s also possible to have infections that aren’t related to STDs. Menopause can often lead to dryness, which in turn causes irritation and itching.
What vulvar disorders might I get?
The most common vulvar disorders are:
This is a problem that develops when the good bacteria that keep your vulva and vagina healthy decrease, and bad bacteria take over. As well as the irritation, itchiness, and burning, bacterial vaginosis causes a thin discharge and a fishy odor.
A yeast infection causes curds of white discharge, plus itching and burning. It develops when there’s an overgrowth of yeast in your vagina and vulva. The type of yeast infection you’re most likely to get is candida albicans.
This is a painful condition also known as vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS). Pain can affect one part of the vulva or the whole area. It can also cause painful intercourse (dyspareunia). Causes include neuropathy (nerve pain), hypersensitivity, recurrent infections, and autoimmune disorders.
This condition causes abnormal skin growth on your vulva. The skin might thicken, get thinner, or both. Squamous cell hyperplasia is a type of vulvar dystrophy that results in white or gray patches of skin developing. Lichen simplex chronicus is a type of vulvar dystrophy that causes a thickened white area of skin, typically one side of your vulva.
Lichen sclerosus and lichen planus
These conditions cause vulvar skin changes, creating white patches or sores that can be painful. Neither is infectious. Lichen planus is an autoimmune condition, and it seems likely that lichen sclerosus has autoimmune origins as well.
How are vulvar disorders treated?
Getting the right treatment for your vulvar disorder depends on the type of disorder and what’s causing it. Dr. Kamal-Mostafavi examines you and then runs tests to find out which condition you have.
Antifungal creams or medications can treat yeast infections, and antibiotics can treat bacterial vaginosis. Topical estrogen creams can improve problems with dryness. You might need to use moisturizers as well, plus lubricants and dilators to reduce pain during intercourse.
Sitz baths can ease symptoms like pain and irritation, and a tricyclic antidepressant called amitriptyline can be helpful in reducing sleep itchiness and pain. Ice can also soothe inflamed tissues.
Vulvar dystrophy and autoimmune disorders like lichen planus can benefit from short courses of ultra-high potency steroid creams. Vulvodynia treatments include:
- Soothing creams
- Physical therapy
- Relaxation therapy
- Lidocaine ointment
- Pudendal nerve blocks
- Botulinum toxin injection
In cases where the pain is severe and not improving with other treatments, you might need to undergo a vestibulectomy to remove the affected skin and tissue.
Call Noreen Kamal-Mostafavi, MD, today to find out more or book an appointment online.