Vulvitis – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


Inflammatory processes can manifest themselves in the sensitive female genital area, in which vulvitis is of primary importance, despite intensive personal hygiene. The vulvitis must be treated immediately because of its excruciating and uncomfortable course.

What is vulvitis?

vulvitis is a clinical picture characterized by inflammation. The outer female genitals, the labia, are hidden behind the word vulva. The ending -itis indicates an inflammatory process, which is represented by the typical signs of inflammation.

The vulvitis refers exclusively to the external areas of the genitals, but if the course is unfavorable and there is no therapy, it can also spread to the internal genital organs . In the case of a vulvitis, this often happens because the inflammatory and thus infectious germs are carried over. There are primary and secondary forms of vulvitis.


Due to the different causes of vulvitis , these are divided into the triggers of primary and secondary vulvitis. As a rule, the main cause of vulvitis is an infection of the vulva area, which can be caused by bacteria such as gono-, staphylococci or streptococci (cocci are always round), viruses or a fungus such as Candida albicans.

Another causality between the vulvitis is the so-called parasites in the form of trichomonads. In addition, previous illnesses such as diabetes or leukemia , pathological disorders of the liver or the skin can also contribute to vulvitis.

A vulvitis can also develop due to a lack of hygiene of the female genital organs. Improper hygiene when washing also carries germs towards the vulva. These can come from the urethra or the anus area.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Since the woman’s external genital organs tend to become inflamed with vulvitis , those affected feel a burning or itching sensation in the genital area. The vulva area is particularly sensitive to stimuli. This is why there is also painful discomfort when walking or sitting.

In some cases, swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin area is also noticeable. Fever is rare with this infection. However, fever is not uncommon if an initial infection by herpes viruses occurred. The inflammation can also spread further if left untreated.

If the urethra and bladder are affected, there is pain and burning when urinating . Infectious vulvitis can lead to vaginal inflammation. This manifests itself in increased discharge, which appears to have changed in colour, smell and consistency. If the bladder is weak, urine is inadvertently passed when you walk, cough or sneeze.

The resulting warm, humid environment in the intimate area makes it easy for bacteria to penetrate. People with diabetes have a high concentration of sugar in their urine. This also promotes fungal growth. Vulvitis also causes discomfort during sexual intercourse . It is not uncommon for this to lead to an increased sensation of wetness and slight bleeding.

Diagnosis & History

vulvitis is usually quickly noticed by affected women because there are clear signs of inflammation. Sweating or mechanical injuries to the vulva can cause the symptoms of vulvitis to increase dramatically as the condition progresses.

Typical of vulvitis are reddening of the female genital area, painful symptoms such as burning and itching, and more or less severe swelling. In addition, the pain of vulvitis is increased by urinating. The painful manifestations of vulvitis are also intensified when wearing underwear and during sexual intercourse. In many women, vulvitis even causes the lymph nodes to increase in size .

When diagnosing a vulvitis, both the symptoms and a visual examination as well as the laboratory examination of a smear for microorganisms are useful.


A vulvitis can have a number of complications as it progresses. Affected women primarily feel an excruciating itching. This has a negative effect on well-being and quality of life and often causes secondary symptoms such as bleeding or redness as a result of scratching.

The typical burning sensation when urinating can lead to avoidance behavior, which often leads to kidney problems. In many women, vulvitis causes the lymph nodes to enlarge, which in turn can cause fever and other symptoms. However, the most common complication of vulvitis is infection of the partner.

This can lead to a renewed vaginal infection and a spread of the disease. In the worst case, the inflammation rises via the cervix into the uterus or the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Infection of these organs can lead to infertility. Vulvitis therapy is mostly free of complications.

However, problems can arise if the patient is sensitive to the prescribed antibiotics and antiseptics. Home remedies can cause serious health problems if used without consulting a doctor. Then there can be an increase in symptoms, often associated with painful redness and the development of pustules.

When should you go to the doctor?

Due to its nature, vulvitis can only occur in people of the female sex. Therefore, girls or women belong to the risk group of the disease. If there are any abnormalities and peculiarities of the external female sex, a doctor should be consulted to clarify the cause and make a diagnosis. In case of pain, a burning sensation in the vaginal area or itching, it is advisable to consult a doctor. If there are changes in the libido, disturbances in the sexual act or problems in the partnership due to the symptoms that have occurred, a doctor’s visit is necessary.

Swelling, changes in the appearance of the skin and discomfort when wearing underwear indicate an illness. To avoid further complications, consult a doctor. If existing symptoms or their intensity increase, the affected person needs medical care. The formation of lumps and pustules, a slightly elevated body temperature, problems with urination and discharge from the vaginal area indicate health problems.

Medical tests are necessary to find the cause of the symptoms. Irregularities in menstrual bleeding and pain in the kidney area should be discussed with a doctor as soon as possible. In order to avoid contagion, the execution of the sexual act should be refrained from until a clear diagnosis has been made. Sudden bleeding and inner restlessness are further warning signals from the body that should be heeded.

Treatment & Therapy

Various concepts are available for the treatment of vulvitis , but these must be carried out regularly in the practice until the symptoms subside.

If the anamnesis shows that the vulvitis was caused by another underlying disease, the first step is to treat this health impairment. Depending on whether it is a vulvitis, which already affects the entire vagina and cervix and is possibly characterized by a yellowish discharge , different drugs are used.

Whether it is an infectious pathogen that responds to antibiotics is only decided after the microbiological assessment of the smear. In addition to antibiotics, depending on the pathogen causing the vulvitis, antiparasitic or fungicidal drugs can also be administered.

In certain cases of vulvitis, the use of antiseptics or creams with female hormones ( oestrogens ) is also relevant. Ointments containing cortisone and sitz baths with herbal additives such as chamomile help against the itching associated with vulvitis .


Although individual underlying diseases also promote vulvitis , maintaining proper hygiene is an essential factor in avoiding vulvitis. Not only young women, but especially older people with dementia or physical limitations should receive support in this regard in order to avoid vulvitis.

As part of informative talks, it is also important to point out the relevant connections to young girls as a prophylaxis against vulvitis. Wearing clean underwear and avoiding the spread of germs by not sharing towels and washing utensils also help to prevent vulvitis.


If a vulvitis has taken place and this has been diagnosed by a gynecologist, a lot can be done in the follow-up care after successful treatment. First and foremost are certain hygiene measures, especially for women who suffer more often from vulvitis or vulvovaginitis. In aftercare, as well as in prevention, it is very important to maintain gentle, consistent and regular intimate hygiene and cleaning.

In general, it is sufficient to use clear water for intimate hygiene or special intimate washing lotions that are available in pharmacies or in various drugstores. However, intimate hygiene should not be exaggerated, otherwise the vaginal environment can be disturbed. The underwear should also be changed regularly, i.e. daily, and ideally washed at 90 degrees in the washing machine.

Cotton underwear is recommended, as this material is very kind to the skin and well tolerated, especially with sensitive skin. Since bacteria and germs like it warm and moist, you should make sure that the intimate area is not only cared for, but also kept as dry as possible. Panty liners and tampons should be used properly and changed regularly.

Diet also plays an important role, as a healthy diet with enough vitamins and fiber and an active lifestyle strengthens the immune system and helps to stay healthy.

You can do that yourself

In the case of a vulvitis, good intimate hygiene should first be ensured. Regular and careful care of the inflamed region is important. The gynecologist can prescribe suitable preparations with which the inflammation can be contained. In consultation with the doctor, various remedies from naturopathy can be tested.

Treatment with an adapted diet is also important. Drink plenty of water during acute inflammation. It is important to avoid irritating foods that could stress the mucous membrane environment. Instead, foods and drinks rich in vitamins and minerals are recommended. Proven remedies are, for example, marigold ointment or a special ointment for the intimate area from the pharmacy . In addition, the cause of the vulvitis must be determined. The intimate area can be gently cooled or warmed. Because sitting can be painful during a vulvitis, it is best to use a special seat cushion. The doctor can recommend suitable aids from specialist shops.

If the symptoms do not subside after these measures, the gynecologist must be consulted again. If you have a fever or other signs of severe inflammation, it is best to consult your doctor immediately.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.