Vulva Infections – What Should You Know About Them?

Vulva Infections – What Should You Know About Them?

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By Dr. Jayashri S, Gynaecology

There are several medical conditions that can adversely impact the vulva in females. There can be infections ranging from mild to high as per the skin condition. The vulva is also at the risk of developing cancer in some cases. It is advisable to consult a doctor, whenever you find any bleeding, rash or lump in the vulva. Your doctor will be in a position to tell whether you need immediate treatment or not. Your symptoms will help him to determine the cause behind the changes.

What is the vulva?
Vulva forms the outer (external) sex organs of a woman. It is made up of two pairs of muscular ‘lips’. The outer pair is called the labia majora. The outer pair is covered in pubic hair. The inner pair is called the labia minora. The inner pair is thinner and is very delicate and sensitive. You will find two openings in between these lips. These lips lead to uterus and urethra separately. There is a tiny organ called clitoris that lies just in front of the vulva.

What are the symptoms linked to vulva related diseases?
The symptoms will depend obviously on the underlying condition. Ranging from painitching, and finding a lump, you may notice several kinds of symptoms. All these changes are related to the appearance of the vulva. The symptoms decide the gravity of the situation. It is advisable to not wait and take prompt medical help in case of lumps in the vulva. A doctor will be able to tell what has happened to tell you by means of physical examination first. Later, you might have to take tests like internal swab test. A swab is nothing, but a small ball of cotton attached to a thin stick. It will be rubbed inside vulva to collect samples for testing. The doctor may also go for a biopsy to confirm the presence of carcinogenic cells in the vulva lump.

What infections can affect vulva?
Vulva can be affected by infections that are caused by germs such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. You may be affected due to the following infections:
1. Thrush: It is a common infection in women. It leads to a whitish discharge. It makes the vulva red and very itchy. It can be treated with anti fungal creams.
2. Genital herpes infection: It is a sexually transmitted infection and spreads by skin-to-skin contact. Many people who are infected might not have symptoms. But they are carriers and can pass on to a healthy person. There is an occurrence of mild soreness or blisters.
3. Genital warts: It is caused by viral infection due to close sexual contact.
4. Other infections: You vulva can be affected by scabies and pubic lice.