Vulvitis is the medical term used for inflammation of the vulva. The vulva are the folds of skin around the opening of the vagina. The urethra, which empties urine from the bladder, also opens into the vulva.
Vulvitis can happen to a woman at any age. Possible causes are:
The most common symptoms are:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history, hygiene products that you use, and your symptoms. Your provider will examine you. Sometimes, your provider may remove (biopsy) a small piece of tissue from the vulva to find out what kinds of cells are causing the problem.
The treatment for vulvitis depends on the cause. If an infection is the cause, it may be treated with medicine put on the vulva or into the vagina. It can also be treated with pills taken by mouth or shots. Your healthcare provider may ask you to stop sexual activity until the vulvitis heals. To prevent reinfection or spread of infection, your partner may need to be treated also.
If vulvitis is being caused by a substance that is irritating the vulva, it will usually go away when you stop using the irritating substance. Some irritations are treated with steroid or hormone creams.
Depending on the cause of the vulvitis, it may heal in a few days with treatment or it may take a few weeks to go away. In some cases vulvitis can be a chronic condition and not go away, even with treatment.
To help relieve the symptoms you can:
Call your healthcare provider if you have removed all possible irritants and you still have symptoms of vulvitis.