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Vaginal rashes usually occur due to allergic reactions, sexually transmitted diseases and fungal or bacterial imbalances. While they can be uncomfortable, they are rarely dangerous and are usually easily treatable. Here are some causes of vaginal rashes.
1. Inadequate Personal Hygiene
The genital area is moist and warm, making it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, especially with vaginal discharge, perspiration and urine build-up. So keep clean. Wash the genital area with mild soap and water to help control bacteria growth and limit irritation rashes and infections. And when you have your period, change your sanitary pad regularly.
Contact dermatitis is a condition caused by contact with irritating chemicals, which can cause an itchy rash. These irritants can include soap, detergents, bubble baths, feminine sprays, douches, latex condoms, topical contraceptives, lubricants, creams and scented toilet paper. The rash is easily fixed by simply switching products. Tight fitting or synthetic clothing can also rub against sensitive areas and cause a rash.
3. Yeast Infection
While yeast is a fungus that normally exists in the vagina, when it grows unchecked (usually after a course of antibiotics), it can cause an uncomfortable infection with symptoms such as itching, burning and a lumpy discharge.
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4. Skin Disease
Sometimes, skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis can also cause redness and itching in the genital region. Eczema causes inflammation with dry, itchy and flaky skin, while psoriasis causes raised red or white patches topped with silvery scales. Keeping the area well moisturised will help, but a doctor can prescribe steroid cream and/or antihistamines to reduce the itching.
5. Sexually Transmitted Infections
STIs can be transmitted during unprotected sexual intercourse and cause rashes, burning and vaginal itching. These include chlamydia, trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea, genital herpes and warts. The conditions can also cause abnormal growths, green or yellow vaginal discharge, and pain while urinating. It is important to see a doctor if you suspect the rash is caused by an STI.
6. Bacterial infection
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) occurs as a result of a bacterial imbalance. It causes an itchy rash that usually is accompanied by a foul smelling discharge that may be thin and grey or white. Once diagnosed, BV is treated with a course of antibiotics. Another condition is folliculitis, which is an infected hair shaft. A red, tender lump may form when skin bacteria causes an infection at the base of a hair shaft.
Scabies is a skin condition caused by tiny mites that burrow into the outer layers of the skin. They cause intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash, which is treated with a prescription topical cream.
Pubic lice are small insects that attach themselves to the skin and hair in the pubic area. They cause intense itching in the genitals or anus, and sometimes a mild fever and low energy. Treatment is by over-the-counter topical application.
8. Bartholin gland cyst
Bartholin glands are two small glands located on each side of the opening of the vagina, that produce fluids that lubricate the opening. If one of the glands gets blocked, fluid can build up and cause a painless lump called a Bartholin cyst. These cysts usually do not need treatment, but sometimes need surgical draining if a gland becomes infected.
As women enter into menopause, oestrogen levels drop and this can lead to vaginal dryness and irritation, especially after sexual intercourse if there is not enough lubrication.
10. Vulvar Cancer
In rare instances, a vaginal rash may be caused by vulvar cancer. While early symptoms are not always present, some women may have persistent itching, or a patch of skin that is red, pink or lighter than the surrounding area.