Lichen sclerosus, lichen planus, and lichen simplex chronicus are three of the most common non-neoplastic epithelial disorders of the vulva. Lichen sclerosus is characterized by intense vulvar itching and can affect men and women of all ages, but it manifests most commonly in postmenopausal women. Patients with lichen sclerosus have an increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, and they should be monitored for malignancy. Lichen planus is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder that can affect the vulva and the vagina; it peaks in incidence between ages 30 and There are three clinical variants of lichen planus affecting the vulva: erosive, papulosquamous, and hypertrophic. Lichen simplex chronicus is caused by persistent itching and scratching of the vulvar skin, which results in a thickened, leathery appearance.
Diagnosing diseases of the vulva - Clinical Advisor
Inspection of the vulva is an essential part of a complete pelvic examination, and yet the area is often overlooked or given only a very cursory examination by clinicians. For their part, patients can be confused by terminology and are often not aware of the difference between the vagina and the vulva when they are trying to report the location of a symptom or abnormality. A brief overview of the anatomy and diseases of the vulva may prove helpful for both clinicians and patients. A review of normal vulvar anatomy is critical before moving on to a discussion of evaluation, diagnosis and biopsy. The vulva includes the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris and the vestibule.
Vulvar dermatoses are skin disorders that affect the vulva, causing itching, burning and discomfort. Unlike other types of vulvar pain in which there are no visible symptoms, with vulva dermatoses there are physical signs such as lesions and other changes in the color and appearance of the skin in and around the vulva. Vulvar dermatoses can affect multiple body sites, not just the vulva. While these skin conditions can occur in younger females, they are most commonly found in postmenopausal women.
The external female genital area is called the vulva. The outer folds of skin are called the labia majora and the inner folds are called the labia minora. If you see changes on the skin of the vulva, or if you have itching, burning, or pain, contact your gynecologist or other health care professional. Your health care professional may examine you, ask you questions about the pain and your daily routine, and take samples of vaginal discharge for testing.