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What is vulvitis?

Vulvitis is simply an inflammation of the vulva, the soft folds of skin outside the vagina. This is not a condition, but rather a symptom that results from a host of diseases, infections, injuries, allergies, and other irritants. Diagnosing and treating this condition can be frustrating because it is often difficult to determine the specific cause of the irritation.

What causes vulvitis?

Vulvitis may be caused by one or more of the following:

•    scented or colored toilet paper
•    perfumed soaps or bubble baths
•    shampoos and hair conditioners
•    laundry detergents (especially enzyme-activated “cold water” formulas)
•    vaginal sprays, deodorants, douches, and powders
•    spermicides
•    douches that are too strong or used too frequently
•    hot tub and swimming pool water
•    synthetic undergarments without a cotton crotch
•    rubbing against a bicycle seat
•    wearing a wet bathing suit for a long period of time
•    horseback riding
•    infections such as pubic lice (pediculosis) or mites (scabies)

Treatment for vulvitis:

Specific treatment for vulvitis will be determined by your physician based on:

•    your age, overall health, and medical history
•    cause of the disease
•    type and severity of the symptoms
•    your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
•    expectations for the course of the disease
•    your opinion or preference