Irritated Vulva: Causes and Relief

Irritated Vulva: Causes and Relief

The vulva is the external portion of female genitalia, and its delicate skin is particularly vulnerable to irritation and inflammation.

Continue reading to learn all about the causes of an irritated vulva as well as the corresponding treatment options.

Irritated Vulva: What Are the Causes?


An irritated vulva can be caused by a number of environmental irritants including: 

  • Trapped sweat which may result in irritation and itching.
  • Various soaps, moisturizers, creams, and other chemical based products can also irritate the vulva and present as allergies or contact dermatitis.


An underlying bacterial or yeast infection is often the source of an irritated vulva, and both can produce uncomfortable itching and inflammation.

Additionally, there are a number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, genital warts, and genital herpes, that can cause vulvar irritation.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes, that are the result of menopause or hormonal medications like birth control, may also be responsible for an irritated vulva.

Skin Conditions

An underlying skin condition is another possible culprit. As such, providers usually attempt to diagnose or rule out the following conditions: 

  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Lichen planus
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Folliculitis

In rare cases, an irritated vulva may be indicative of vulvar cancer.

Irritated Vulva: Which Treatments Offer Relief?

When it comes to relieving an irritated vulva, the appropriate course of action depends on the underlying cause.

If inflammation is the result of an irritant or allergen, patients are advised to avoid it.

Yeast infections, and associated itching and irritation, can be treated with a topical antifungal cream or prescription medication.

Bacterial infections, including UTIs, are usually remedied with oral antibiotics.  Antibiotics are also effective for treating sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia.

In addition, there are a number of home remedies that patients can try, including OTC antihistamines, moisturizer, oatmeal baths, cold compresses, and anti-itch creams or ointments. 

Learn More About Irritated Vulva: Causes and Relief

For additional information about the causes and relief of an irritated vulva, please call our office today to schedule a comprehensive consultation with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Melinda Hall.

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