Summary: Ardor, itching, and dryness in the vulva are common symptoms among women. It can be caused by various factors ranging from hygiene habits to medical conditions.
1. Hygiene Habits
Poor hygiene habits can lead to vulva discomfort. Women should avoid wearing tight underwear made of synthetic fabrics as it can trap moisture and promote the growth of bacteria. Women should wear loose cotton underwear and change them daily. Additionally, women should avoid using soaps, bubble baths, or other products that contain harsh chemicals as it can strip the natural oils from the vulva and trigger itching and dryness. Finally, women should wipe from front to back after using the bathroom to prevent the spread of anal bacteria to the vulva.
Frequent douching can also cause irritation and dryness in the vulva. Douching can alter the PH balance in the vagina and remove the healthy bacteria that protect the vagina from infections. Women should avoid douching completely to maintain a healthy vagina and vulva.
Go commando at night. Wearing no underwear while sleeping can allow your vulva to breathe and lower the risk of developing infections or irritation due to tight underwear or pajamas.
2. Medical Conditions
Ardor, itching, and dryness in the vulva can be caused by various medical conditions such as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted infections, lichen sclerosus, atrophic vaginitis, contact dermatitis, and vulvodynia.
Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of candida, a type of fungus that exists naturally in the vagina. Symptoms include intense itching, burning, swelling, and thick discharge that resembles cottage cheese. Treatment involves antifungal medications that can be applied locally or taken orally.
Bacterial vaginosis occurs when the balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Symptoms include strong odor, grayish discharge, and itching. Treatment involves antibiotics that can be taken orally or applied topically.
Sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and HPV, can cause vulvar discomfort. These infections can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner. Symptoms include painful urination, genital warts, blisters, fever, and abdominal pain. Treatment involves antibiotics, antiviral medication, or topical creams.
3. Hormonal Changes
Hormonal changes during menopause, pregnancy, and menstruation can cause vulvar discomfort. During menopause, the levels of estrogen decrease, leading to thinning and dryness of the vulva. During pregnancy, the levels of progesterone increase, causing the blood vessels to dilate and the vulva to swell and itch. During menstruation, the hormonal changes can cause vaginal dryness, irritation, and inflammation.
Treatment for hormonal-related vulvar discomfort involves hormone replacement therapy (HRT), moisturizers, and lubricants. Women should consult their healthcare provider before starting any hormonal treatment.
Regular gynecological checkups can help detect any hormonal imbalances or medical conditions early on.
Ardor, itching, and dryness in the vulva are common symptoms among women. Maintaining good hygiene habits, practicing safe sex, and seeking medical attention can prevent and treat vulvar discomfort caused by various factors. Women should not feel ashamed to talk about these symptoms with their healthcare providers as prompt diagnosis and treatment can improve their quality of life.