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Overview of vulvitis

Vulvitis is inflammation of the vulva, the external female genitalia. It rarely causes long-term complications, but can cause significant discomfort. Symptoms vary from woman to woman and may depend on the severity of the inflammation.

Anything that irritates the skin of the vulva can cause vulvitis. Common causes include:

  • Allergic reactions to chemicals used in toilet paper, laundry detergent, vaginal sprays, soaps, bubble baths, spermicides, or sanitary pads
  • Infections, including yeast infections, herpes, scabies, and pubic lice
  • Skin disorders, including eczema or dermatitis
  • Physical irritation, from sports activities, biking, horseback riding, or continued exposure to moisture (such as remaining in a wet bathing suit)