Experiencing symptoms related to your vulva can be quite troublesome, especially when you’re not sure what they are or how to treat them.
That’s why when you notice a problem, you need to see a vulva specialist in Virginia. This is the only way to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.
What Are the Three Conditions a Vulva Specialist Treats?
The vulva is the external area of the vagina. The outer folds are called the labia majora, and the inner folds are called the labia minora.
Unfortunately, vulva skin disorders can impact your daily life significantly. The three conditions that are most often treated by a vulva specialist include:
- Lichen sclerosus: This is the most common of the three skin disorders. Symptoms include white patches of skin on the vulva, thin or dry skin, burning, stinging, painful intercourse, painful urination, severe itching, and / or pain. Any of these symptoms may be exacerbated by stress. Left untreated, lichen sclerosus can increase your risk of cancer, as well as severe scarring.
- Lichen simplex chronicus: With this condition, you may experience intense itching that is irritating enough to disrupt your sleep. You might notice your skin becomes thicker around your vulva. Symptoms of lichen simplex chronicus include thick, scaly patches of skin.
- Lichen planus: This is the least common of the three conditions. With lichen planus, you may notice inflammation around your vulva and vagina, as well as other areas of your body. Symptoms include pain, bleeding, soreness, and / or painful intercourse.
Are Those The Only Conditions a Vulva Specialist Can Treat?
Your vulva specialist may also treat folliculitis (red bumps caused by bacteria), contact dermatitis (irritation of the skin), and Bartholin gland cysts (Bartholin glands are located under the skin inside the vagina), as well as other conditions affecting the area.
Be sure to ask if you have a concern that isn’t listed.
How Are Vulva Conditions Diagnosed?
A visit to a vulva specialist in Virginia is the only way to diagnose your condition. Your appointment will begin with a discussion about your medical history. Your vulva specialist will want to review previous medical records including any test results.
You’ll have a pelvic exam, which might include a Pap smear. If necessary, your doctor may perform a biopsy to remove a small sample of skin from the affected area. You might also have blood tests or imaging tests.
What Are My Treatment Options for Vulva Skin Disorders?
Your treatment depends on your diagnosis. You might benefit from phototherapy, prescription topical therapies, oral medications, physical therapy, and / or sexual therapy. In some cases, surgery might be necessary.
Treatment for vulva skin conditions typically begins with topical steroids, but this can be combined with oral steroids or other medications. It might take more than one treatment to successfully manage your condition, so be patient and stick with your treatment plan.
It could take some time to heal from vulva skin conditions, potentially weeks or even months. You might find your healing is faster with a combination of treatments.
To Help Keep Vulvar Skin Healthy, You Can Take the Following Self-Care Measures
Your doctor may recommend medicinal therapies, as well as simple measures you can take at home to help relieve your symptoms. The following steps can help to clear up vulva skin conditions:
- Good hygiene is a must. You can keep your vulva clean by rinsing it with warm water. Pat dry, do not rub.
- Make sure you wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants. Only wear pantyhose with a cotton crotch.
- Only use unscented pads or tampons.
- Do not use scented soaps or toilet paper.
- Avoid using talcum powder or feminine sprays.
- Do not douche unless your vulva specialist tells you otherwise.
Here’s How to Prepare for an Appointment With a Specialist
If this is your first time seeing a specialist, it is a good idea to prepare for your appointment. One thing you can do beforehand is to fill out patient forms. It’s a lot easier to do this at home than it is to feel rushed in a waiting room. Your vulva specialist should have these available on their website.
It’s a good idea to skip grooming. Delay waxing or laser hair removal until after your vulva specialist appointment, as these can cause inflammation that can make a diagnosis a little trickier.
If you have a copy of your medical records, take them with you. It saves a lot of time if the staff at your vulva specialist’s office doesn’t have to track those down.
Next, take the time to write down your questions and concerns. It’s also helpful to keep a written record of your symptoms, including what you experience, how long you’ve had symptoms, and any triggers you’ve noticed.
Lastly, while it is difficult sometimes to discuss personal matters, know your vulva specialist is there to help you without judgment. They have seen and heard it all! Breathe. Relax. Feel confident knowing you’re taking control of your health.
Choose Annandale Ob-Gyn for the Best Vulva Specialist in Virginia!
Our healthcare experts at Annandale Ob-Gyn strive to provide our patients with the highest quality care possible. We deliver personalized treatments in a warm, comfortable environment. Many of our services can conveniently be done onsite.
If you suspect you have a vulva skin condition or any other women’s health concern, we encourage you to contact us at 703-642-7522 to schedule an appointment. Please do not delay treatment. The earlier you seek help, the higher the chance of successful treatment.