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Vulva Skin Disorders

There are many benign abnormalities of the vulva that may cause severe symptoms such as itching, bleeding, and pain, however many vulva disorders are totally without symptoms. Virtually any skin disorder that occurs in other areas of the body can occur on the vulva. This includes apthous ulcers (like one gets in the mouth), infections of all types, eczema, contact dermatitis, folliculitis, atrophic vulvitis, polyps, and abscesses.

Lichen sclerosis and lichen simplex chronicus are relatively common diseases that cause a thickening of the vulva skin causing the skin to have a white color. This chronic inflammation is associated with squamous cell cancers of the vulva and thus frequent evaluation of the vulva skin is indicated. More unusual disorders presenting as vulva lesions include psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa,varicose veins, metastatic cancers, lymphoma,bowel disorders and autoimmune disorders.

Many STDs infect the vulva and will present as bumps, ulcers or sores such as genital herpes, condyloma accumunata or molluscum contagiosum. HPV of the vulva and perianal area may lead to vulva or anal cancers if left undetected and untreated. Clinicians, in general, do not check the vulva in a systematic fashion. At TGM Center, a complete skin check of the vulva, anus, and buttocks requires a separate visit from the annual exam and is indicated in symptomatic patients, patients with HPV infections or patients at high risk for skin cancers.