Vulvitis

Diagnosis of vulvitis

When you go to your doctor with symptoms of vulvitis, the first thing your doctor will do is discuss your symptoms with you, go over your medical and sexual history, and perform a pelvic exam. During this exam, your doctor will visually examine your vulva for any signs of lesions, blisters, or dry, cracking skin. They will also look for signs of vaginal discharge. 

Other tests your doctor might run include: 

Treatment 

Fortunately, vulvitis treatment is very successful. Your treatment options will depend on your age, health history, lifestyle, and personal risk factors, as well as the severity of the irritation. 

Mild cases of vulvitis, or vulvar itching, may not require any medical attention at all. Simple self-care measures, including the avoidance of irritating substances and sitting in warm water, can ease discomfort and promote healing. You may also benefit from the use of substances that soothe the area, such as anti-itch ointments and emollients. 

If your vulvitis symptoms do not improve within a day or so, visit your doctor at Dignity Health. Your doctor can help determine the cause of vulvar irritation and prescribe appropriate treatment. Medical treatment may include: 

  • Topical creams or ointments, including hydrocortisone ointment or estrogen cream 
  • Medication to treat any underlying infections 

It is essential to understand that if the causes of vulvitis remain present or the genitals are regularly exposed to irritants, vulvitis may become chronic. Chronic vulvitis is typically not caused by infection or sexual activity, but rather by irritants and/or allergies. 

This is a condition that is not curable and can go into remission. In these cases, treatment aims to reduce the severity of symptoms by reducing inflammation. 

If steroid creams are required for vulvitis treatment, there are different strengths that can be used. Hydrocortisone is the weakest and most commonly used. Other options are Locoid, Eumovate, Betnovate, and if the condition is severe, Dermovate. 

Preparation 

It is best to prepare before your appointment with your doctor: 

  • Prepare a list of questions you have 
  • Bring a list of all medications you are taking 
  • Be prepared to discuss your medical history, sexual history, lifestyle, and symptoms  
  • Try to go when you are not menstruating since you will have a pelvic exam 
  • Bring someone with you for support 

Recovery 

With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, most cases of vulvitis go away within a few days or weeks. If there is an underlying condition causing the vulvitis, recovery will depend on first treating this condition. Afterward, symptoms of vulvitis should clear up within days or weeks. 

When you go to your doctor with symptoms of vulvitis, the first thing your doctor will do is discuss your symptoms with you, go over your medical and sexual history, and perform a pelvic exam. During this exam, your doctor will visually examine your vulva for any signs of lesions, blisters, or dry, cracking skin. They will also look for signs of vaginal discharge. 

Other tests your doctor might run include: 

 

  • Urine sample to test for urinary tract infection (UTI) 
  • Pap test to check the cells of the cervix for any abnormalities 
  • Blood tests 
  • Tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)  

Treatment 

Fortunately, vulvitis treatment is very successful. Your treatment options will depend on your age, health history, lifestyle, and personal risk factors, as well as the severity of the irritation. 

Mild cases of vulvitis, or vulvar itching, may not require any medical attention at all. Simple self-care measures, including the avoidance of irritating substances and sitting in warm water, can ease discomfort and promote healing. You may also benefit from the use of substances that soothe the area, such as anti-itch ointments and emollients. 

If your vulvitis symptoms do not improve within a day or so, visit your doctor at Dignity Health. Your doctor can help determine the cause of vulvar irritation and prescribe appropriate treatment. Medical treatment may include: 

  • Topical creams or ointments, including hydrocortisone ointment or estrogen cream 
  • Medication to treat any underlying infections 

It is essential to understand that if the causes of vulvitis remain present or the genitals are regularly exposed to irritants, vulvitis may become chronic. Chronic vulvitis is typically not caused by infection or sexual activity, but rather by irritants and/or allergies. 

This is a condition that is not curable and can go into remission. In these cases, treatment aims to reduce the severity of symptoms by reducing inflammation. 

If steroid creams are required for vulvitis treatment, there are different strengths that can be used. Hydrocortisone is the weakest and most commonly used. Other options are Locoid, Eumovate, Betnovate, and if the condition is severe, Dermovate. 

Preparation 

It is best to prepare before your appointment with your doctor: 

  • Prepare a list of questions you have 
  • Bring a list of all medications you are taking 
  • Be prepared to discuss your medical history, sexual history, lifestyle, and symptoms  
  • Try to go when you are not menstruating since you will have a pelvic exam 
  • Bring someone with you for support 

Recovery 

With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, most cases of vulvitis go away within a few days or weeks. If there is an underlying condition causing the vulvitis, recovery will depend on first treating this condition. Afterward, symptoms of vulvitis should clear up within days or weeks.

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.