Disorders of the Vulva

Disorders of the Vulva

WomanCare Clinic

Meriter WomanCare Clinic
20 S. Park Street, Suite 450
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 417-5433 or 1-888-409-3852

UW Health - OB/GYN
20 S. Park Street, Suite 307
Madison, WI 53715
Telephone: (608) 287-2830


Disorders of the vulva are painful problems that occur on the external genitalia, which is often referred to as the vulva or labia, and not within the vagina.

Symptoms that indicate there’s a problem with the Vulva:

  • Pain During Intercourse
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bumps
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Discharge
  • Bleeding

Common Causes of Vulva Problems:

  • Dryness
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Sexually Transmitted Disease
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Yeast Infection

What is the Vulva?

Most women don’t know that the vulva and the vagina are two different organs. It is important to differentiate between the two, because they are each composed of different tissues and experience different problems. For instance, if a woman has a vulva problem, inserting medication into the vagina will not help the problem. If a woman suffers from a bacterial infection in the vagina, applying medication to the vulva won’t cure the problem. For a bacterial infection, medication must be inserted directly into the vagina.

Learning the anatomy of the vulva and vagina is an important step towards improving gynecological health. Women will then improve their understanding of where their pain is coming from and how to go about getting treatment to correct the problem.

Self-Help Tips for Vulva Skin Care:

  • Use dermatology approved detergent
  • Use 100% cotton menstrual pads and tampons
  • Urinate and rinse vulva with cool water after sexual intercourse
  • Before intercourse, apply a lubricant that is water soluble
  • Wear 100% cotton underwear
  • Avoid tight-fitting undergarments and pantyhose
  • Use mild soaps for bathing and clean the vulva with water only
  • Do not use vaginal wipes, deodorants or bubble baths
  • Do not douche