Aunt Vadge: weird dry, itchy bumps on my labia

Hi there Aunt Vadge, 

So I’ve had these bumps around my vaginal flap… It is like a dry patch and causing a lot of irritation. If I shower and put cream on it, it feels okay for a little while, but a few hours later it is itchy once again. I got scared and thought it was herpes, but when I look up pictures and symptoms, this dry patch looks less like a blister. Also I’ve had it for weeks now and it just keeps getting more dry and itchy! I have no idea what it is. I also noticed that if I have sex the days after, it feels more irritated. WHAT IS THIS???? 

Sincerely,
Itchy
Canada Age: 19

Hi there Itchy,

There are a couple of options we’ll discuss.

First, you need to go and be screened for all STIs to eliminate them. This is just standard procedure when you are trying to figure out what is wrong – it’s a process of figuring out what it isn’t, narrowing it down based on your symptoms, and then getting a proper diagnosis of what it is. Also, a doctor will be able to test your dry patch and offer some clues as to what it might be.

You can also go armed with the following:

Check out our articles on lichenoid conditions, including contact dermatitis. There are a bunch of conditions that result in itchy, dry patches.

It could be another a fungal infection of some kind (yeast, tinea). It could also be genital psoriasis, scleroderma, or Sjogren’s syndrome.

If it doesn’t heal up soon or change at all, go and see your doctor, dermatologist or a gynaecologist (or all of them). These conditions are not fun, so ruling them out should be a priority. If you do have one of them, it’s important to catch it early and get rid of symptoms so your vulva stays intact.

A doctor will likely prescribe you steroid cream for starters, which may clear the dry patch up completely and permanently, or may only temporarily reduce the problem, or may not work at all. However, your doctor will be able to identify the nature of the problem, and offer ideas for treatment.

Once you have a diagnosis, you can then delve into whatever alternatives you like. Unless the solution is straightforward (take this = problem solved) then naturopathic solutions may have a lot to offer you.

Read up, see what seems the most likely, write a timeline diary with symptoms, changes to habits (laundry detergent, toilet paper, food, moved house, job or school, etc.) and take that with you to your appointment.

Write back anytime.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge