Eczema

Eczema (said ‘ex-ma’) is an inflammatory skin condition which can make skin red, dry and itchy. It is one of the most common causes of vulvar irritation.


What are the signs of vulvar eczema?

Symptoms can include:

  • itchiness (especially in the outer part of the vulva where there is hair)
  • thicker skin with creases.

There isn’t usually a rash unless you have been scratching.

What causes vulvar eczema?

Eczema can be trigged by emotional stress. It can also be caused by:

  • sanitary pads or panty liners (especially if used daily)
  • using lots of soap
  • toilet paper
  • female deodorants
  • excessive vaginal discharge.

Eczema is not infectious so you can’t ‘catch it’ from contact with someone else.

How is vulvar eczema treated?

Applying cortisone cream to the affected skin once or twice a day is usually effective.

You can prevent eczema from returning by avoiding the things that irritate the skin of your vulva. Our section ‘How can I stay healthy down there?’ has a list of practical suggestions.

If stressful events trigger your eczema, you should consider seeing a counsellor. If vaginal discharge seems to be the cause, you should see a specialist in women’s health (a gynaecologist).

Things to remember

  • Eczema is one of the most common causes of vulvar irritation.
  • It can be triggered by physical irritants (such as sanitary pads) as well as emotional stress.
  • There are ways to both treat and prevent eczema.

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Disclaimer

The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.

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