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About Vulvar Dermatoses

Skin disorders that affect the vulva (or external opening of the vagina), causing itching, burning and discomfort. These conditions can be fairly common affecting one in five women. Depending on the severity of the vulvar dermatoses, a woman’s well-being as well as her physical and sexual function may be at risk. There are two types of vulvar dermatoses non-scarring (eg: contact dermatitis and lichen simplex chronicus) or scarring (eg: lichen sclerosus and lichen planus). In some post-menopausal women, vaginal dryness causing severe burning pain and pain with sex, may occur causing vulvar dermatoses to manifest. With some women, vulvar dermatoses may also present as a symptom of an ongoing chronic condition (eg: psoriasis, HPV) and cannot simply be treated locally, however management of vulvar dermatoses can be achieved through education and hygiene. Sometimes, these types may occur at the same time.

Treatment for Vulvar Dermatoses at UT Health Austin

Physical examination of the vulva and other tests or screenings may be recommended to aid in proper diagnosis of vulvar dermatoses. Depending on the cause of your vulvar dermatoses, a variety of treatments may be recommended as a part of your care plan including removing certain products, such as scented soaps, wipes or certain contraceptive products, from use, as well as prescribing medications or pelvic floor physical therapy. Regardless of your treatment, your care team will work with you to understand the risk and benefits and what you can expect throughout your care and recovery. Treatment over a 3-4 month period of time is possible, but for some patients it may be of a longer duration if they do not respond to initial treatment or if there are other conditions to address. An experienced vulvar dermatologist will work with you and your provider to assess and create a personalized treatment plan for you.

Care Team Approach

We have assembled a team of experts that includes specialized physicians and surgeons, dermatologists, pelvic floor physical therapists, associate providers, dietitians, and social workers. This team enables us to provide the right care for the right patient at the right time. For some patients, nonsurgical interventions such as lifestyle modifications, pelvic floor therapy physical therapy and medication can help improve pain and function, while surgery may be the best course of action for others. Whatever your needs, our team is here to listen and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

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