The word "vulva" refers to a woman's external genitals. Some conditions can cause pain, burning, itching or other concerns involving the vulva.
Vulvodynia is vulvar pain felt as itching, burning or raw sensations. This can be caused by an infection or an external irritant, or can be the result of an allergy or skin disorder. If you have vulvar pain, your provider will examine the vulva and surrounding skin, and may taken a small tissue sample to determine the cause.
If you are suffering from prolonged vulvar pain, burning or itching, it is important to work with a provider to determine the cause so any needed treatment can begin quickly. It can be easy to dismiss itching or discharge as a simple yeast infection or other infection; however, often there is another cause.
Even before you seek treatment, it is important to avoid potential irritants including Always® pads, Vagisil® or any topical cream which contains alcohol. It is also important to avoid any over-the-counter treatments including intravaginal cream or suppositories for at least three days prior to your exam, as these can make an accurate diagnosis more difficult.