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Vulvovaginal Disorders

Vulvovaginal disorders can refer to a number of different conditions and infections that affect a woman’s external genitalia (vulva) and vagina. Vulvovaginal disorders and their associated symptoms can be mild or serious.

In order to receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for your vulvovaginal disorder, it’s important to seek the help of a healthcare provider who specializes in women’s health issues. At The University of Kansas Health System, our skilled specialists offer advanced care and treatment for these complex, intimate concerns.

What are vulvovaginal disorders?

Vulvovaginal disorders can refer to a wide spectrum of health conditions that impact the vulva and vagina. These can range from mild yeast infections to more significant concerns like gynecologic cancer.

Although they are common, vulvovaginal disorders are also frequently misdiagnosed. A provider with expertise in urogynecological health is essential for determining a proper diagnosis along with prompt treatment.

We offer a variety of appointment types. Learn more or call 913-588-1227 to schedule now.

Types of vulvovaginal disorders

There are many different kinds of vulvovaginal disorders. Some of the most common are:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Clitoral pain (clitorodynia)
  • Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
  • Genital warts
  • Lichen planus
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN)
  • Vulva intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN)
  • Vulvar dermatitis
  • Vulvar pain (vulvodynia)
  • Vulvar vestibulitis syndrome
  • Yeast infections

Vulvovaginal disorders symptoms and risks

The symptoms experienced with various vulvovaginal disorders will vary depending on the exact condition. Some signs that could indicate the presence of an infection or other concern can include:

  • Irregular bleeding
  • Itching or burning, either internally or externally
  • Skin irregularities, such as white patches or bumps
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal or vulvar pain

Risk factors also vary depending on the condition diagnosed. Possible risk factors that could increase a woman’s chances of developing vulvovaginal disease symptoms include high-risk sexual behavior and a history of smoking. However, some vulvovaginal conditions can occur due to another underlying health concern. For example, yeast infections are more likely to occur in those with diabetes, and they can also be triggered by taking antibiotics.

Vulvovaginal disorders diagnosis and screening

Because many vulvovaginal disorders can present with such similar symptoms, a medical history and description of symptoms alone is not sufficient for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis. Instead, your doctor may perform 1 or several additional tests to determine the cause of your symptoms:

  • Amine odor test
  • Biopsy, if needed
  • Physical evaluation, including a pelvic exam
  • Saline wet mount
  • Vaginal pH level test
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Vulvovaginal disorders treatment

There are several different possible treatments your doctor may recommend, depending on your symptoms and the type of vulvovaginal disorder diagnosed:

  • Physical or sexual therapy
  • Prescription oral medication
  • Prescription topical creams or ointments
  • Surgery
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