ZocdocAnswersWhat causes the vulva to swell?

Question

What causes the vulva to swell?

When I woke up this morning, my vulva was swollen. It doesn't seem to have gotten any better, but it has only been 6 hours since then. Why might this be happening? What should I do?

Answer

Swelling of the vulva, also known as vulvitis, is a distressing condition which is, fortunately, rarely serious. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor or your OB / GYN doctor. Vulvitis can be caused by many things. The most common cause, however, is an allergic or sensitive skin reaction. Therefore it is important to think about possible offending agents, such as new soaps or powders or sanitary napkins. Treating with cold compresses, good skin hygiene, soothing bath treatments, and an over the counter anti-itch medicine is often enough to relieve the symptoms. You should also use light cotton underwear and avoid douching. Occasionally a bacterial or fungal infection can cause these symptoms. If they do not get better, or if you have vaginal drainage, blister formation, fever, or any other concerning symptoms you should seek medical advice immediately, as you may need antibiotics or other stronger prescription medications. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor or your OB / GYN doctor if symptoms persist is advised.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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