Vulvitis Symptoms & Causes

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In-Depth

What are the symptoms of vulvitis?

The experience of vulvitis can differ from woman to woman. Possible symptoms include:

  • redness and swelling of the labia and skin surrounding the vagina
  • excruciating itching or burning
  • clear, fluid-filled blisters
  • sore, scaly, thickened or whitish patches (more common in chronic vulvitis)

What causes vulvitis?

The irritation of vulvitis can have many causes:

  • allergies or sensitivities to perfumes, soaps, toilet Paper, vaginal sprays, laundry detergent or body washes
  • long-term inflammatory skin conditions, such as dermatitis, seborrhea or eczema
  • fungal or bacterial infections, scabies or pubic lice
  • 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

Who is at risk for vulvitis?

Any woman with allergies, skin sensitivities, conditions or diseases can develop vulvitis. Girls who have not yet reached puberty and post-menopausal women may possibly develop the irritation because of low estrogen levels.

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