The groin area is perhaps the worst possible area to get eczema. This is because vaginal eczema is often misdiagnosed as a Sexually Transmitted Disease. And you can blame no one for this because we often trust our gynecologists on any matters that relate to the nether regions. But a sad reality is they have zero training on skin conditions and therefore will try to relate your problem to your sexual history.
You can still get this condition even when you do not have an active sex life. And it can be quite embarrassing because it is itchy, and you may be tempted to scratch this area in public. It can also make your love life horrible by preventing you from having sex. As I said earlier, most people think it is an STD and may raise infidelity doubts in a relationship.
What causes it?
But today is your lucky day because I am going to share with you the symptoms of vulvar dermatitis, causes, treatment, and prevention.
Symptoms of vaginal eczema
Here are some symptoms of vulvar dermatitis you should beware about.
- Burning and itchy sensation around the vaginal area; labia majora, labia minora.
- Inflammation in the vulva area.
- Painful red bumps or reddish skin around this area.
- Thickened skin
- Dry skin, considering that this area is supposed to be naturally moist
Causes of vulvar dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis — This is a red, itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance you are allergic to or an allergen. It is characterized by swelling, burning and tenderness of the skin. The substances could be soaps, cosmetics or even pants. You can, therefore, get vaginal itchiness if you are known to have an existing case of contact dermatitis.
- Discharges and secretions – Excess vaginal secretions including sweat, urine and other discharges make your private paths damp and thus causing vulvar eczema.
- Folliculitis – this is the inflammation of the hair follicles, it is normally reddish and very painful. It is caused by ingrown hair or shaving your hair with infected blades.
- Allergic reaction some contraceptives – Some women are allergic to the latex present in condoms and diaphragms. Using them may result in an itching sensation in your groin area.
- Vaginal douching – this is the practice of washing the vagina with water or a mixture of fluids to eliminate odors. Douching has several disadvantages including vaginal eczema. It has also been linked to increased chances of developing cervical cancer. Douching ruins the natural pH levels of the vagina leading to more irritation.
- Chemicals found in bathing soaps can also cause this condition.
- Using baby wipes, toilet paper to wipe your groin area may result in vaginal eczema.
- Wearing tight clothes can also cause friction around the groin area leading to vaginal eczema. The same applies to nylon underwear because they are unbreathable and lead to the problem.
- Excessive use of panty liners and sanitary pads can also cause irritation of the vagina.
- Bubble baths, oils, bath salts and skin softeners can cause vulvar dermatitis.
Since this area is often moist, treatment can take a longer time than when treating eczema on other parts of the body.
A cold compress will reduce the inflammation and thus quicken your healing time. Put some ice in a clean cloth then place the cloth on the affected area for a maximum of 15 minutes. This numbs the area which in turn reduces the itching and irritation.
Sitz baths and soaks
A sitz bath or hip bath is a bath in which a person sits in warm water up to the hips. It is used to relieve discomfort in the lower parts of the body according to Wikipedia.
You can buy a sitz bath at your local pharmacy or online. You also can make a sitz bath with bathing soda by adding 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the water, dissolve the baking soda by swirling the water than sit in it for 1o minutes. This is a good itching vagina treatment.
Topical steroids are immune suppressants that help with the autoimmune nature of eczema. Buy them from your pharmacy. It is advisable to strictly follow the instructions given on the steroids.
Prevention of vulvar dermatitis
As you have seen, there are very few treatment options for this condition as curing it completely might not be easy. Therefore, prevention becomes very important. Here are some ways you can prevent it;
- Avoid possible irritants like soaps and detergents. Only shower with mild soaps. Do not douche when taking shower.
- Only wear cotton panties because they are breathable. Avoid wearing underwear when sleeping.
- Do not shave your pubes if you are prone to this condition. But if you must shave, then use fresh razor every time.
- Replace your sanitary towels with tampons to avoid friction around your vagina.
- Use non-latex condoms when you have sex. You should also ensure you get a vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Eat a diet with healthy fats like olive oil and avocado to keep your body moisturized. You should also drink at least 2 liters of water per day to avoid dryness. Avoid eating eggs and dairy products because they are known to worsen eczema.