Vulvitis in Teens

Vulvitis is an inflammation of the vulva. The vulva is the outer part of the female reproductive system. It’s also called the external genitalia. The labia majora and labia minora are 2 folds of skin that are part of the vulva. The outer folds are called the labia majora. The inner folds are called the labia minora.

Vulvitis causes symptoms such as redness, swelling, itching, and pain. It can be caused by diseases, infections, injuries, allergies, and other irritants. It is often hard to find the specific cause of vulvitis.

Vulvitis can be caused by the skin reacting to an irritant. Some of these include:

  • Scented or colored toilet paper
  • Perfumed soaps or bubble baths
  • Laundry detergents, especially enzyme-activated cold water formulas
  • Vaginal sprays, deodorants, and powders
  • Spermicides
  • Condoms
  • Contraceptive creams, jellies, foams, nonoxynol-9, lubricants
  • Tampons and pads
  • Antibacterial or anti-fungal cream or ointment
  • Cream or ointment medicine to treat genital warts
  • Douching
  • Hot tub and swimming pool water
  • Horseback riding

It can also be caused by:

  • Infections from pubic lice or mites (scabies) 
  • Infections such as trichomoniasis, herpes, syphilis, HPV, mulloscum contagiosum, and fungal infection
  • Skin problems such as psoriasis
  • Crohn’s disease

A teen is more at risk for vulvitis
if she has certain allergies, sensitivities, infections, or diseases that can lead to
vulvitis. Girls who have not yet reached puberty and women after menopause are more at
risk for vulvitis. This may be because of lower levels of estrogen.

Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each girl. Symptoms on the vulva can include:

  • Redness and swelling
  • Severe itching
  • Clear, fluid-filled blisters
  • Sore, scaly, thick, or whitish patches

The symptoms of vulvitis can be
like other health conditions. Make sure you r child sees her healthcare provider for a
diagnosis.

The healthcare provider will ask
about your teen’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your teen a physical
exam. The physical exam may include a pelvic exam. You teen may also have tests, such
as:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine test
  • Tests for sexually transmitted
    infections (STIs)
  • Small piece of vulva tissue removed for testing (biopsy)

Treatment will depend on your
child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the
condition is, and what caused it. Treatment may include:

  • Sitz baths to help soothe itching
  • Cream to soothe irritated skin
  • Steroid or antifungal cream or ointment to treat an infection
  • Medicine taken by mouth (oral) to treat infection or other cause

Your teen will also need to not
have contact with any irritants that may have caused the problem.

Talk with your child’s healthcare
provider about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.

Vulvitis caused by irritants can be prevented by not having contact with them.

Call the healthcare provider if you
have:

  • Symptoms that don’t get better, or get worse
  • New symptoms
  • Vulvitis is an inflammation of the
    vulva.
  • Vulvitis causes symptoms such as
    redness, swelling, itching, and pain.
  • It can be caused by diseases,
    infections, injuries, allergies, and other irritants.
  • Treatment can include sitz baths and
    cream or ointment.
  • You should not have contact with any
    irritants that may have caused the problem.

Tips to help you get the most from
a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment
    is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects
    are.
  • Ask if your child’s condition can be
    treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if your child does
    not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If your child has a follow-up
    appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your child’s
    provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have
    questions or need advice.