Vulvar Dystrophy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Vulvar dystrophy refers to a medical condition that changes the skin of the vulva. Vulvas are skin folds around the opening of the urethra and the vagina.

Different types of dystrophy exist that may cause grey or white patches on the skin. Some dystrophy types may cause skin thickening or thin, itchy skin patches, grey skin patches, or painful sores.  

It left untreated; dystrophy can scar or shrink the inner folds of the vulva. As a result, the opening of the birth canal can get smaller and may even get closed. Thus, it would help if you had the right treatment for Vulvar Dystrophy at the right time.


Though there are no clear causes of vulvar dystrophy, it can result from skin irritation. Irritation can result from douching, bike or horseback riding, poor personal hygiene, wearing wet underwear for a long time, and a yeast infection. 

Skin irritation in the vulva can also result from wearing synthetic underwear, incontinence, or swimming in chlorinated water. 

Certain vaginal hygiene products can also cause skin irritation. These include topical vaginal creams, laundry detergents, vaginal sprays or douches, perfumed or colored toilet paper. 

Some other medical factors can be diabetes, herpes, dermatitis, and pubic lice, causing vulvar dystrophy.


Patients with vulvar dystrophy may experience symptoms, including:

  • Gray or white skin on one side of the vulva
  • Painful intercourse
  • Scaling, bleeding and cracking of the vulva
  • Itching
  • Burning 
  • Soreness or redness on the vaginal area

Diagnosing Vulvar Dystrophy

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To diagnose, your physician may discuss the symptoms you might be experiencing. A physical examination of your body will help provide accurate insight into this condition. 

They may perform urinary tests to check out the causes of similar symptoms, such as yeast infection and discomfort in the vagina. 

Many times, the diagnoses involve a biopsy that takes a sample of your vulvar tissue. 

Treatment for Vulvar Dystrophy

The treatment of this condition depends on the type and severity of the dystrophy you have. Usually, your physician will prescribe an impactful steroid cream. You can apply or put this cream on your vulva area. 

Make sure you use steroid medicine in the same way as your healthcare provider prescribes. Never use less or more of it than prescribed by the doctor. Also, do not use it for more than the prescribed duration of time. Also, avoid using a steroid without the approval of your physician.

Preventing & Avoiding Vulvar Dystrophy

Note that practicing good vaginal hygiene is always helpful in reducing symptoms. Use unscented soaps. Rinse your genital area thoroughly after toileting. 

Keep your vaginal area as dry as possible, and use underwear made of cotton material to make this area breathe easily. 

Some other ways to take care of you and to avoid or treat vulvar dystrophy are:

  • Avoid everything that could irritate your skin.
  • Wear loose-fitting and cotton clothes. 
  • Never use scented laundry detergents.
  • Avoid the use of tampons and spermicides. 

By following these tips, you can prevent or reduce the symptoms of vulvar dystrophy.

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