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Vaginal Eczema: What You Need About Itchiness in Your Most Intimate Area
When you are talking about eczema, the first thing you think about is deep red rashes on your face, lips, and perhaps even on penis.
Then you start feeling an unexplainable itchiness and burning pain on your vagina.
That’s right, eczema on your vagina – which really shouldn’t be surprising because the vulva and the vagina are covered in skin. And skin means potential eczema site.
Vaginal eczema is also one of the most difficult places to treat eczema symptoms because of its location. The vulva and the vagina are often moist and damp because of the environment they are in, which makes controlling eczema on these areas more difficult than normal. It also makes it harder to diagnose than your usual eczema outbreak.
Believe it or not, if you are suffering from an itchy cooch with an occasional sensation of burning, soreness, and/or swelling – you might be suffering from vaginal eczema.
In fact, it really shouldn’t surprise you if your vaginal discomfort is actually vaginal eczema. It is alarmingly common, especially for older women, despite the lack of diagnosis towards it.
Why is my gynecologist not recognizing it as vaginal eczema?
Because gynecologists aren’t trained to be dermatologists. It is really as simple as that. They lack training in diagnosing for skin-related conditions and instead will often try to find the diagnosis in relation to your sexual health.
What happens is that many women walk away with the diagnosis of “vulvodynia” (jargon for unexplained pain in the area of the vagina), when in reality they are suffering from vaginal eczema.
How can I tell if I have vaginal eczema then?
Check for symptoms of eczema near your vagina area. It usually shows up as a reddish rash that can spread to the creases of your thigh.
If your vulva also feels swollen and dry despite of its moist environment, this can also be a pointer to vaginal eczema.
If you are really unsure, don’t hesitate to contact a dermatologist about the problem and share your concerns with them.
What can I do to improve my situation?
Vaginal eczema could be treated like any other form of eczema. Vagina and vulva are also one of the most sensitive skin on the human body – even more sensitive than the penis. So, when applying your standard cream or medication, make sure to apply less and more thinly than you usually would to another part of your body.
Make sure that you are diligent with your application. Vaginal eczema is different from any other kind of eczema because recovery period can take up to 1 months (3 – 6 months for more severe case), simply because the vulva and the vaginal are in an environment that can harbor bacteria easily.
Usually sufferers of vaginal eczema will find that their vaginal eczema refuse to go away or coming back with a vengeance. This is because they try to treat it the way they’d treat eczema on the other part of the bodies – applying cream and medication only when needed. But in the case of vaginal eczema, it is more important to build a habit of creating a healthy environment for your vagina.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your vagina’s struggle with eczema:
- Use tampons instead of pads to avoid frictions on your vulva and outer vaginal entrance.
- Make sure you use water to clean your vagina and avoid using regular body soap, as most body soap have perfume that could irritate and dry your vulva and vagina.
- Even better, look for vaginal cleansers that are 100% free from soap and perfume additives.
- Wear breathable clothing and avoid tight clothing that would increase friction on your vagina.
- On that note, wear 100% cotton panties to improve breathability for your vagina.
- DO NOT DOUCHE. It will ruin the natural pH level of your vagina, making it more acidic or more basic, causing further irritations to your vagina. Douching also pushes potential bacteria further into your vagina and uterus, leading to more complicated problems in the future.
- If you are going to have sex during an outbreak, make sure you apply a thin coating of Vaseline on your vulval skin to reduce possible friction.
- Lastly, don’t be afraid to use steroid ointment if the situation becomes unbearable. Due to the nature of vaginal eczema, steroid ointmint is one of the few ways to provide a quick relief and improvement to your vaginal eczema.
Just make sure you use a very low dose type (1% hyrocortisone ointment) due to the extremely sensitive nature of vulval and vaginal skin. An application of the steroid ointment once or twice per day is acceptable and have been reported to not cause any side effects as long as the usage is sparse.