An overview of the most common infectious and noninfectious causes of vulval symptoms. The key to the successful management of vulval skin conditions is a careful history and examination.
The vulva is part of the skin and thus can demonstrate signs and symptoms of many common skin diseases, both infectious and noninfectious. However being in the genital area, any vulval symptoms, particularly in patients who are sexually active, may lead to additional anxiety of the possibility of a sexually transmissible infection (STI). This concern may impact on the comfort of the patient in giving her doctor a full description of her symptoms and her recent medical and sexual history. It can also be expressed as the patient’s desire to ensure that the skin is ‘clean’, and additional symptoms can then be caused by over-washing and the application of topical antiseptic agents to the vulval skin.