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Vulvar Dystrophy

What is Vulvar Dystrophy?

Vulvar dystrophy is a degeneration of the vulvar tissue. It occurs in women who are past menopause. The vulva is the external female genitals, including the clitoris and labia. It includes the mound of tissues over the pelvic bone that becomes covered with hair at puberty.

Vulvar dystrophy is harmless. It does not grow in size or develop into cancer.

Dystrophy is derived from the Greek words for 'poor nutrition'.

Types of Vulvar Dystrophies

There are two main types of vulvar dystrophies: thick lesions and thin skin.

The thickened type of vulvar dystrophy is usually caused by irritation. Vulvar dystrophy can develop at any age. It often starts with itching or burning in the vulvar area. If the irritation continues, the skin will develop a white, thickened surface with some cracking. Bleeding may also occur.

Thin skin vulvar dystrophy is mostly found in menopausal women. Itching and pain during sex are often the first symptoms.

Symptoms of Vulvar Dystrophy

The most common symptoms of vulvar dystrophy are:

  • dry, reddened areas in the vulva
  • itchy vulva
  • white or thickened areas of the vulva
  • shiny skin around the vulva
  • pain during sex
  • shrinkage of the labia and vaginal opening.

How is Vulvar Dystrophy Diagnosed?

Your doctor will take a biopsy of the vulvar tissue to rule out cancer. The doctor will also check for signs of infection.

Can Vulvar Dystrophy be Treated?

Vulvar dystrophy can be treated . The treatment will depend on the source of the problem. Your doctor may prescribe creams that will relieve your symptoms.

The doctor may also suggest the following:

  • keep the area dry
  • wear lose clothing and
  • stop using vaginal sprays
  • do not use perfumed soaps
  • do not use perfumed laundry detergent or fabric softener
  • do not use tampons or scented toilet paper

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