Women's Health

What is the Vulva?

What is the Vulva?

Key Takeaways

  • Vulva refers to the external female genital area.
  • Jock itch and yest infections are two conditions that can cause you to experience rash, redness, inflammation, pain and discomfort in your vulva.
  • Seek out immediate medical attention so that your doctor can provide you with an effective treatment.

The vulva is the female genital area and as such, it is prone to infections like any other part of the human body. You may be surprised to know that most women suffer from one disorder or the other in this part of the body, but only half or so get treated effectively. While some of these infections start out mildly like an itch, the problem is that most often turn into serious health issues and can cause a wide range of health complications, from infertility to being unable to walk. This is why it is important that you seek out medical help at the earliest as it can help you get the effective treatment you need and even help to mitigate and alleviate the symptoms such as pain and discomfort.

When meeting your doctor, you must be able to describe your symptoms to  a T. For example, if you are experiencing sharp pain in your groin area, then you must be able to explain to the doctor the intensity of the pain and also whether it is radiating out and whether the pain is constant or goes away after a while. The reason you need to explain the symptoms properly is so that the doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. There are many health issues that can cause you to experience debilitating pain and discomfort in the groin area, to be more specific, the vulva. This is why it is important that you seek out medical attention immediately and get yourself diagnosed so that your doctor can prescribe an effective course of treatment.

Here are a few conditions that can cause you to experience rash, redness, inflammation, pain and discomfort in your vulva.

Jock Itch

Women are also prone to develop jock itch just as men do and this is because bacteria and to be more specific, candida organism has infected your vulva and the gap between your legs. This is mainly on account of an outbreak of candida organism in that region which can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, if you do not practice good hygiene or wear the same underpants for days on end, then chances are high that you will develop a jock itch. The itch is easily noticeable on account of the rash and the raised ridges that come with it. Apart from this, there’s the pain, discomfort and itchy feeling that you get in that area. Seek out medical attention right away for if you leave it untreated, then chances are that you are going to end up with an even more serious problem as the bacteria multiplies and spreads to other parts of your body.

Consult a doctor if you display the following symptoms along with an itching sensation in your vulva:

  • Redness in the groin area
  • Rashes in and around the vulva
  • Headaches
  • Respiratory based illness 
  • Slight swelling in groin area
  • Discharge from vulva 
  • Body aches
  • Joint pain
  • Frequent urination 
  • Extreme pain when voiding bowels 

These are some of the symptoms that you need to be on the lookout for and while some of these symptoms may seem disassociated with the general area of infection, the fact is that jock itch is an infection just like any other. So it can spread when you scratch the affected area with your bare hands and then touch other parts of your body without sanitizing your hands, resulting in spreading the infection all over. Similarly, you may end up touching common household objects without washing or cleaning your hands and could end up passing the jock itch to all those who live with you. This is why it is important that you carry a bottle of hand sanitizer that you can always use to clean your hands.

Make it a point to wash your hands as often as possible with a disinfectant and then move on to touch other people or objects. But above all, maintain a healthy distance from all till the issue is resolved for once and all.

Treatment for Vulva

The doctor would want to run a series of tests to ensure that you are indeed suffering from jock itch. All he would need to do is to take a sample and set it up on a slide to confirm the presence of the organisms causing the jock itch. Post diagnosis, he will prescribe a course of treatment and some relief for the pain, discomfort and itching sensation in the affected area.

Remember to be upfront to your doctor regarding your infection and go in for regular checkups to avoid similar outbreaks in the future. Also, always practice good hygiene and wash your underclothes with hot water.

Yeast

This is another infection that is similar to jock itch; with the only difference here being that the infection is caused by Candida and can be quite painful and debilitating. You need to seek out effective medical treatment before the condition gets serious. This is a fungal infection and causes you to experience a whitish discharge from your vulva, along with increased feelings of discomfort and itching sensation which gets serious as time goes along. The infection can be so debilitating to the point that you may even find it hard to step outside as the itching sensation in the groin area becomes unbearable.

The yeast infection occurs due to candida outbreak and must be treated right away or else the infection can spread to other parts of the body, and affect other areas of your body including your fallopian tubes. This can even result in infertility, which is why you need to seek out medical help right away.

Your doctor would run a few tests to determine the cause of your infection, whether it is fungal or bacterial or due to an underlying health issue. It is important that you seek out immediate medical attention so that your doctor can provide you with an effective treatment which can consist of anti-fungal ointments and antibiotics.

Certain other health conditions can cause your vagina to be similarly inflamed, some of them are:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Parasitic organisms
  • Environment and associated factors, such as tropical temperatures, excessive sweating
  • STDs
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Chemical agents, such as new soaps

These are some of the other conditions which can cause your vulva to be similarly inflamed and tender to touch, along with itching sensation which increases with intensity. 

You need to be completely upfront with your doctor regarding your condition, your medical history and whether you have started using a new soap recently or have been exposed to chemical agents and/ or toxic substances. Your doctor would need this information in order to make an effective diagnosis, regarding your current condition.

You need to be honest regarding your medical history and whether you have a history of being allergic to certain substances, as this will have a bearing on your treatment and the medicines that you will be prescribed. Your condition can also be on account of an allergic reaction so you need to check with your doctor at the earliest so that he can evaluate your current condition, take a pap smear, identify the main cause and then prescribe a course of pain killers, antibiotics and tropical solutions or ointment for your skin. This should help to alleviate most of your symptoms and you should return back to normal within a few days. But until then, you will remain infectious so take care as not to affect anyone.

Also, remember to use a bottle of hand sanitizer every now and then to clean your hands. Use a disinfectant on your hands as this can help you to connect with others at home. But try to maintain some distance till the situation clears up completely. and try not to have any intimate relations with anyone till your doctor says that it is safe to do so.

And once your condition clears up, make sure that you always carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times. Either use it regularly or use a disinfectant to clean your hands effectively. Try not to touch common utensils, as well as common objects in the living room such as the refrigerator, TV remote etc. Seeing how the condition is quite infectious, it is important that you practice good hygiene and remember to keep distance from others for a while.

Make it a point to wash all your clothes in hot water as well as your utensils, this should help to eliminate all the germs, and with timely diagnosis and effective treatment, you should be able to get back to normal at the earliest. And remember this infection can reoccur, and this is why it is vital that you practice good hygiene.