Vulvitis (inflammation of the vulva)

What is vulvitis?

This is inflammation of the vulva (the external part of the female genital area).

What causes vulvitis?

  • Infections, including thrush (candidiasis), genital herpes or warts.
  • Allergic reactions to soap or creams.
  • Urinary incontinence.
  • Changes to the vulval skin — this can occur in women after the menopause. Red or white patches can develop on the skin and these may be inflamed — these changes are generally known as vulval dystrophy.
  • Pubic lice and scabies.

How is vulvitis treated?

Medications are used to treat the underlying cause, if one is found. These may be in cream or tablet form. If an allergy is suspected, you will be advised to avoid potential triggers, such as body sprays or bath oils. If urinary incontinence is a contributory factor, more effective treatment of this condition will improve the vulvitis.