Irritations in the intimate areas can be due to various factors and are not necessarily related to a disease. However, if these symptoms become chronic or cause pain, it could be a case of eczema in the intimate areas. How can we recognize this skin condition?
Irritation of the intimate areas: could it be vulvar eczema?
Possible causes of irritation in intimate areas.
Irritation of the intimate areas can be triggered by numerous factors and is not necessarily indicative of eczema. Hygiene products and scented soaps can contain harsh substances that disrupt the natural balance of the vaginal flora, thus leading to irritation. Similarly, feminine hygiene products such as scented tampons or wearing overly tight underwear can cause irritation when they come into direct contact with the delicate skin of the intimate area.
These irritations can then lead to a fungal infection or a bacterial overgrowth. These often occur when the vaginal environment is unbalanced and certain populations of microorganisms living there are overrepresented. To avoid them, it is preferable to opt for sufficiently loose cotton underwear to allow air circulation.
Finally, irritation of the intimate areas can be due to a dermatosis, such as the psoriasis or eczema. These skin conditions are both characterized by discomfort and itching and can affect different parts of the body, including the intimate areas. Regardless of the cause of these irritations, if they do not naturally disappear after a few days, it is important to consult a healthcare professional. They can determine the origin of the irritations and prescribe an appropriate treatment to alleviate your discomfort.
Vulvar Eczema: Origin and Symptoms.
Itching in the vulvar area can be associated with vulvar dermatitis. This condition is often due to the intimate parts coming into contact with allergens. These can come from intimate creams, soaps, underwear, or even the latex of condoms. Care products applied to the hands that come into contact with the genital areas can also be implicated. It is also possible that vulvar eczema is of atopic origin, meaning it is linked to an individual's genetic predisposition and very sensitive skin. However, this is less common for this type of eczema.
Vulvar eczema manifests itself through the appearance of red patches covered with small vesicles on the vulva and at the entrance of the vagina. When the person scratches, these vesicles burst, causing oozing and leading to the formation of crusts. It is also possible to develop eczema in the groin folds. The symptoms are then similar to those of eczema affecting the folds of the legs and arms.
However, it is important to note that the symptoms of eczema are similar to those of other skin conditions such as psoriasis. This is why a differential diagnosis must be performed by a doctor to confirm whether it is indeed vulvar eczema or vaginal eczema. This diagnosis is made through an interview accompanied by a clinical examination. If contact eczema is suspected, patch tests are performed to identify the responsible allergen(s).
And what about genital eczema in men?
While vulvar and vaginal eczema are common in women, men can also be susceptible to this type of skin condition. In this case, it refers to eczema of the male intimate areas. Penis eczema is particularly common and is characterized by red patches on the male genital organ. These can also be located on the pubic area and cause skin lesions. Similar to genital lip eczema in women, this disease causes itching and pain.
Genital eczema in men can also affect other areas of the private parts such as the testicles. The main cause of eczema in the private parts in men is contact with allergens. It is indeed very rarely due to atopy. The main allergens responsible are latex found in condoms and certain substances contained in care products such as gels and soaps.
Eczema in intimate areas: what are the solutions?
As soon as symptoms of eczema in intimate areas are identified, it is recommended to promptly consult a doctor. The doctor will be responsible for the diagnosis to determine the causes of the irritation. They will prescribe an appropriate treatment that it will then be important to follow through to the end, in order to prevent relapses. If the eczema is of allergic origin, it will be necessary to remove the causative agent from the daily life of the affected person.
In the event of eczema in intimate areas, you will likely be prescribed topical corticosteroids, which are cortisone-based creams. These medications have proven anti-inflammatory and soothing properties against eczema. In alternation with these creams, it is often recommended to apply more traditional emollients, that is, moisturizing creams with a rich texture to protect the skin and aid in its healing.
GOLDENBERG G. & al. Eczema. The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine (2011).
BORRADORI L. & al. Dermatologie et infections sexuellement transmissibles. Elsevier Masson (2017).