Vulvar dermatitis, also called vulvar eczema, is a common cause of irritation of the vulva. There are two types of vulvar dermatitis. Both types can be attributed to a hypersensitivity of the immune system. The vulvar areas commonly affected by vulvar eczema are the labia and perineum. Vulvar eczema can also affect the buttocks. Both skin conditions of the vulva can cause pain and itchiness. This skin condition can be quite uncomfortable.
Atopic dermatitis of the vulva is called endogenous vulvar dermatitis. This type of vulvar dermatitis is thought to be caused by a genetic predisposition to dermatitis. The treatment for chronic atopic dermatitis of vulvar regions help to reduce irritation. Topical medications may be used as treatment for chronic atopic dermatitis of vulvar area. Keeping the area clean is vitally important, though the person should refrain from using harsh or perfumed soaps.
Exogenous vulvar dermatitis is caused by external factors. It is a form of contact dermatitis. An irritant or allergen causes an exaggerated immune system response like an allergic reaction. This causes the formation of an eczema rash. Common triggers for exogenous vulvar dermatitis are soaps and shampoos, adult or baby wipes, antiseptics, body fluids, dyes, emollients, colored or scented toilet paper, condoms, rubber and latex, vaginal contraceptives and lubricants, laundry detergents and fabric softeners, female hygiene pads or tampons, tea tree oil, and vaginal hygiene products.
If a woman has used a new product and develops exogenous vulvar dermatitis, she should avoid any future use of that product since it may have triggered the condition. If a product did trigger the condition, it is likely to continue to trigger rashes with continued use. Whichever type of vulvar dermatitis that the woman has, she should try to avoid scratching. The scratching can cause the skin to be susceptible to a secondary infection.
A common treatment for vulvar eczema is topical estrogen cream. Use of this product can cause adverse hormonal reactions in young girls. If estrogen cream is used for treatment on a young girl, she should be carefully monitored for side effects. In some cases, the doctor may perform a biopsy to rule out more serious conditions. Most cases are simple vulvar eczema, but potentially serious conditions such as cancer or human papillomavirus (HPV) should be ruled out. If the woman with vulvar eczema develops a second infection, the doctor may choose to prescribe a corticosteroid cream.