Vulvitis Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Vulvitis Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Vulvitis is a disease in the female genital area that is characterized by inflammation of the vulva. The vulva is a fold of skin that is in front of the vagina, or in layman’s often referred to as the lips of the vagina.

This disease can be experienced by women of all ages, from before puberty to after menopause.

Vulvitis Symptom

Symptoms of vulvitis are quite varied. The main symptom is generally vaginal discharge. To differentiate it from normal vaginal discharge, vaginal discharge due to vulvitis generally smells bad, is darker in color, and is numerous. In addition, usually there are other symptoms that accompany the vaginal discharge.

In candidiasis vulvitis, vaginal discharge is usually white, lumpy, and very itchy. In addition, the vaginal lips will look red and swollen.

In atrophic vaginitis, symptoms do not always appear. Or sometimes there are symptoms, but it doesn’t bother the sufferer. Symptoms of atrophic vaginitis are generally felt by about 40 percent of women who experience it. These symptoms can include vaginal dryness, soreness, pain during intercourse, or a burning feeling after intercourse.

In vulvar vestibulitis, the main symptom that is felt is pain during intercourse, especially when the penis begins to penetrate into the vagina. The pain is usually described as a burning or aching sensation.

In vulvitis due to contact dermatitis, apart from vaginal discharge, itching is very disturbing. In addition, the area around the vagina and vulva will feel sore when exposed to substances that cause irritation.

Vulvitis Reason

Vulvitis can be caused by many things, such as allergies, hypersensitivity (overly sensitive) to some products that affect the vulva and vaginal area, as well as germs (fungi, viruses, and so on).

Based on these causes, vulvitis is divided into several types, namely:

  • Candidiasis vulvitis

Candidiasis vulvitis is vulvitis caused by infection with Candida species, especially Candida albicans species. Groups of women who are prone to this infection are those who are mainly pregnant, use hormonal contraception (especially birth control pills), suffer from HIV/AIDS, have menopause, or have hormonal diabetes whose blood sugar levels are not controlled.

  • Atrophic vulvovaginitis

This type occurs due to very low levels of the hormone estrogen in the body. This is generally found in post-menopausal women, who have had surgery to remove their ovaries or have had radiation in the vaginal area due to certain types of cancer.

  • Vulvar vestibulitis

In vulvar vestibulitis, inflammation occurs primarily at the ‘entrance’ to the vagina. This disease can be caused by bacterial infections (especially Candida fungi and Human Papilloma Virus ), or it can also be due to other causes such as side effects of vaginal medications, use of feminine products, or sexual violence.

  • Contact dermatitis

Vulvitis due to contact dermatitis is vulvitis caused by an allergic reaction or irritation to certain substances that affect the vulva and/or vaginal area. These substances can be in the form of vaginal fluids, urine, vaginal cleansing soap, condoms, soap, pads, underwear, and so on.


In the early stages of determining a diagnosis of vulvitis, the doctor will conduct a complete interview regarding matters related to risk factors or causes that make a person susceptible to vulvitis. After that, a direct examination of the vulva and vaginal area needs to be done.

During this examination, vaginal acidity (pH) levels will be checked, as well as vulvar and/or vaginal swabs to be taken to the laboratory for microscopic examination.

Vulvitis Treatment

Treatment of vulvitis depends largely on the cause. Some of the things that are usually done are as follows:

  • Candidiasis vulvovaginitis can be treated with anti-fungal drugs such as clotrimazole, miconazole, or tioconazole placed in the vaginal area. Alternatively, oral anti-fungal medication tablets (such as fluconazole ) can also be used to treat this type of vulvitis.
  • Atrophic vaginitis generally improves after estrogen therapy. Usually, estrogen therapy is used in the form of a cream that is applied to the vulva and vaginal area, for at least 1–2 weeks. In addition, a lubricant to ‘wet’ a dry vagina can also help relieve symptoms.
  • Vulvar vestibulitis can heal on its own over time. However, if the complaint does not improve immediately or the symptoms are very disturbing, anesthetic cream can be applied to the vulva and vaginal area during intercourse.
  • In vulvitis due to contact dermatitis, the most important thing is to know the substance that causes inflammation. After that, avoid exposing these substances to the vulva and vagina. For example, if contact dermatitis is caused by using vaginal cleansing soap, then the soap should not be used again at all.

After that, the genital area should only be cleaned with clean water. Steroid creams such as triamcinolone twice a day will also be given by the doctor to help relieve irritation.


Vulvitis can be prevented by maintaining proper hygiene of intimate organs, including by:

  • Avoid using special cleansing soap for the vaginal area on a regular basis
  • Avoid using perfume or pads that contain perfume
  • Cleansing the vagina in the shower alone with running water and dry the vaginal area well before wearing underwear
  • Use cotton underwear, and change it if it gets wet
  • If you are using pads, it’s best to change them at least every four hours.

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