Vulval and Vaginal Eczema
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by irritation and itching of the skin.
It can occur anywhere over the body, but usually affects the exposed areas of the body.
Eczema is common over the vagina and the vulva also. All age groups are equally prone to this condition.
Eczema is chiefly of two types. They are:
When something external irritates the skin over the groin region, localized eczematous presentation may be seen.
The irritant may be some soap, cloth, gel or perfume being used there. Some ladies may have a tendency to get irritated skin against toilet papers, sexual lubricants, excess sweat or even semen.
The condition is usually reversible. It improves as the irritant is withdrawn.
This comes from internal tendency of the skin to express out as irritation.
Such individuals may also have asthma or hay fever in some phase of their life. This tendency may be referred to as atopy.
Eczema may be all over or localized over a portion of the skin. It usually flares up in winters, when the skin is dry and there is lack of moisture in the air.
Why this occurs is not clearly understood. It has been postulated to be due to some immune system dysfunction.
The skin is reddish in color and looks irritated. Some swelling may be there over the affected area.
Th affected area is itchy. There is no discharge, no smell and no growth.
Other Conditions With Similar Presentation
These need to be ruled out.
In menopausal women, withdrawal of female hormones may cause thinning of the skin in the genital region. It also mays the skin out there dry and hence itchy.
The condition is alleviated by using topical estrogen creams.
Infections of the genital region also present as red, itchy skin. However, in such cases, some discharge from the vagina is often seen. Also, the condition is foul smelling.
With the same symptoms, if you find any growth there, always go for a biopsy to rule out cancer.
General anxiety states may also give rise to a dry and itchy vagina. This may be due to transient hormonal fluctuations seen in these states.
The management is suppressing the inflammation over the affected area.
Firstly, the cause of irritation needs to be removed. See if you have added a new cosmetic or personal hygiene product. If yes, try abstaining from it and see if there is any reduction in the eczematous reaction.
Local anti inflammatory ointments may be applied over the affected skin area. You may use 1% hydrocortisone cream, which is available over the counter easily.
Visit a doctor if you are not cured in a week or two.
- Wash the groin region with plain water only. Avoid using any gel or soap there. These would unnecessarily make the region dry, making it prone to development of eczema.
- Avoid too much of hot showers, especially in winter months.
- Practice some relaxation technique to manage stress. Do not let it take a toll over yourself.
- Keep the skin out there well moisturized.
- Drink plenty of water and sleep well. Eat plenty of vegetables and seasonal fruits in your meals. These are the best detoxifyers for the body and would keep in check the endogenous causes responsible for the occurrence of eczema.
- Avoid shaving over the affected area.
- Include adequate quantities of probiotics in your diet. Home made curd is the best.
- Bland, that is non perfumed, coconut oil is the best to be used as a lubricant down there.