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Vulvar Dystrophy Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Vulvar dystrophy or dermatoses, are the changes in the skin of vulva. It is anatomical reproductive disease and relatively commonly occurring gynecologic problem in postmenopausal woman. It is a condition caused by abnormal growth of skin on vulva. It is considered as chronic disorder. Most commonly It may be due to squamous cell hyperplasia or due to lichen sclerosis. Most dystrophies are diagnosed by Vulvar biopsy.


There are four different types of dystrophy effecting the vulva are explained as:

Squamous cell hyperplasia, also known as hypertrophic vulvar dystrophy, is the most common form, among 40% and 45% of diagnosed cases. In this type, the skin becomes abnormaly thick with white or gray patches

Lichen sclerosis causes the skin to become thin, pale in colour and wrinkled.

Lichen planus, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease which can cause red areas or sores.This is more severe type, and can involve not only the vulva, but also the vagina.

Lichen simplex chronicus involves thickened white patches on one side of the vulva. The itching seems to increase in the evening mostly when the vulva is dry.

Woman may be diagnosed with mixed dystrophics, and it is completely common. A combination of squamous hyperplasia and lichen forms of vulvar dystrophy.

Vulvar Dystrophy Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Vulvar Dystrophy Symptoms


Patients experience as a first sign is continuous itiching, pain, burning, stinging of the vulva, sensitivity, wart like growths, lumps and ulceration. Vulvar disorders also lead to increase in the desire to scratch. White or grey patches of thickened or thin skin appears on the vulva, sometimes with scaling, cracking, surface bleeding, or wrinkling and swollen vagina are seen. Redness or sores on the vaginal area is also seen. Patients also feels pelvic pain. Patients suffered from painful sexual intercourse. Heat, sweat and friction also worsen the condition. In some cases there may be asymptomatic. It may lead to skin cancer.

Vulvar Dystophy Causes


The exact cause of this disorder is still not known. It is thought to be immune mediated disorder. Initially it occurs due to yeast infections. It may also be due to skin irritation, skin infections or the Human Papilloma virus (HPV). Patients once established natural itch scratch cycle can increase the problem. Itch-scratch cycle is provoked by skin irritation which leads to pruritus and scratching. Scratching results in skin thickening and additional irritation which contributes to the vulvar disorder. It occurs where there is a loss of epidermis.

Vulvar Dystrophy Treatment


Long term treatment requires to reduce discomfort. Patient should take bath with unscented soaps and rinse the genital area thoroughly, and dry without rubbing the vulva. Patient should wear cotton fabric, scented products should be avoided like perfumes, sanitizers etc.

Topical progesterone, hydrocortisone creams are used, high potency topical corticosteroid cream that is applied into the vulvar area for several weeks. Sitz baths helpful in removing all irritants and allergens to reduce itching and irritation. Cream should be rubbed in to the genital area approximately 2 minutes. Vulvar soothing creams are used to sooth and restore the vulvar tissues.
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