Skin discomfort in the genital area such as itching and burning is a distracting and upsetting experience.
There are many reasons why women develop different skin conditions. It is a good idea to rely on a dermatologist, along with a gynecologist, for help in diagnosing and treating any serious and ongoing conditions. The genitals are an area that many people feel uncomfortable discussing with their doctor. It may be reassuring that not all conditions are contagious and a number are readily treatable. They include the following:
- Irritation due to contact with soap, garments, urine, allergens and even sexual contact
- Bacterial overgrowth of different kinds
- Vaginitis due to the use of wet toilet paper, vaginal sprays, douches and spermicides
- Dryness due to hormonal changes
- Conditions brought about by medication use
Common skin conditions can affect the genitalia:
Psoriasis – Usually called inverse psoriasis, it presents as well-defined smooth red patches and plaques. It often responds to topical agents.
Dermatitis – This is commonly either allergic or irritant in nature. Allergic contact dermatitis is caused when the skin of the genitals comes into contact with a material that the person is allergic to (often without knowing they have the allergy). Irritant contact dermatitis will occur when something irritating such as soap or a spray comes in contact with the area enough times to damage the skin and cause an eczema. The dermatitis is often treated by attempting to identify the causative agents. Topical creams are also commonly prescribed.
Lichen Planus – Though uncommon, this is a condition affecting the mucous membranes and skin. It may be associated with a viral infection.
Lichen Sclerosis – This is a chronic disorder of the genitals and perianal areas. It is associated with significant discomfort. Lichen sclerosis may cause permanent scarring. It is mostly found in women and will start at any age, though the post-50s years are the most likely. Women with this condition should be followed regularly by their dermatologist or gynaecologist.
If you have any questions or concerns about female genital skin disorders contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a dermatologist. Contact us today.