The vulva can be affected by generalised skin conditions such as psoriasis or allergic reactions. More specific vulval conditions consist of swellings of the Bartholin’s gland, vulval atrophy due to the menopause and thrush infections.
Vulval dystrophy is a chronic and recurrent condition, often presenting with itching, pain on intercourse or cracking of the skin. A biopsy under local anaesthetic is often required for diagnosis. Treatment is generally by a reducing course of strong steroid ointment.
Vulvodynia is a term given to a severe, chronic discomfort and or itching in the vulva that is not associated with infection of vulval dystrophy. This condition may well respond to tricyclic antidepressants. For more information please see www.vulvalpainsociety.org
Vulval ulcers or swellings should always be assessed by a specialist as they may be a sign of early cancer. Often a biopsy is required.