Itching around the vagina is very common especially after shaving, excessive use of pads, or even using intimate washes that contain fragrance. However, an itchy vagina for an excessive amount of time is a cause of concern because it can cause skin flare-ups like vaginal eczema making it red, itchy, and painful. But here is all you need to understand about this condition and how you can prevent it.
What Is Vaginal Eczema?
Vaginal Eczema is also known as Valvular Dermatitis, a skin condition occurring around your vagina when the soft folds of it turn red, itchy, and painful. In extreme cases, it can also cause cracks, red patches, vaginal weeping, and crust formation. However, this is an atopical infection occurring over the skin and therefore can be treated with antibiotics and at-home remedies.
What Can Cause Vaginal Eczema?
Like most skin infections, Vaginal Eczema too is the result of skin irritants or allergens. These can include:
- Soaps, bubble baths, bath salts, shampoo, conditioner, or detergent
- Nylon underwear
- Pantyliners or sanitary pads
- Perfume or essential oils like tea tree oil, etc
- Vaginal discharge, pee, or sweat
- Baby powder, lubricants, or spermicide
- Alcohol or astringents
Apart from these some well-known allergens like latex, propylene glycol (used as a preservative in many products), imidazole antifungal, neomycin, etc can also act as a trigger to vaginal eczema.
Therefore, the risk factors of Valvular Dermatitis are as follows:
- emotional stress
- physical irritants
- too much soap, especially perfumed soap
- family history of eczema
- wearing nylon underwear
- wearing tight pants
Symptoms Of Vaginal Eczema
Symptoms of vaginal eczema are similar to other types of eczema and you may either start noticing these signs suddenly or more gradually as they get severe over time. Here is what they look like:
- Dry, scaly patches
- Mild to severe burning
- A wet or damp feeling from weeping on the affected skin
- Pain when using a tampon, speculum, or even during sex.
How Is Vulvar Eczema Diagnosed?
If you think you have a rash on your vaginal region or you think there is something down there that is itching you a little too much, see a specialist. There is a high chance that this rash can lead to dermatitis if ignored for a prolonged period. Here’s how it goes:
- As a feature of your test, the gynaecologist will check out the area and take a total clinical history. However, in most cases of eczema, they can simply look at the affected area and figure it out.
- Since there is no particular test for dermatitis, the majority of the finding has to do with the doctor assessing the vaginal region and ruling out different issues.
- They will likewise also get some information about your chemical prescriptions like hormonal medication, birth control pills, etc since the skin around the private parts is largely affected by fluctuating hormones.
- In case of discharge near the area, they will swab some of it from testing at a lab. At this point, if they suspect an STI, they might do a blood test for STI testing to rule out sexually communicated contamination.
- They may likewise do a vulvoscopy, wherein the doctor looks at the vulva with an instrument that magnifies the skin through a light connected to it. Doing this can help them eliminate the probability of other conditions.
- The doctor may likewise perform "patch testing" — or simply test a tiny patch on your skin that helps to identify allergies.
In case your doctor confirms dermatitis, they will first recognize and eliminate the possible irritants or allergens. This can be accomplished with a "skin diet" and using a couple of hypoallergenic items.
Treatment & Home Remedies For Vulvar Dermatitis
Your doctor will most likely give you a cream or a topical steroid to apply to your vulva every night before you go to sleep. The skin will absorb this medication and will heal the affected area in 2-3 weeks. While being on medication, you should stay clear of any irritants like harsh soaps or cosmetic intimate washes.
For those who don’t want to use these antibiotic creams, home remedies could also be tried to treat eczema. The reason these remedies work is because this condition is atopical and doesn’t involve the deeper layers of your bloodstream or tissue.
One of these methods is trying baking soda soaks. You can soak in tepid shower water with 4 to 5 tablespoons of baking soft drink to assist with relieving your vulvar itching. Do this one to three times each day for 10 minutes. Other methods include vaginal dusting powders that can instantly help your itch and control the dampness of your underwear.
Vaginal Eczema is quite uncomfortable but it can be cured. Doing these steps at home or applying a simple antibacterial cream is enough to help you cure it. If you have regular flare-ups, it is advisable to talk to your doctor regarding the same to help you find possible triggers or allergens that cause it.