Vulvar eczema

(53 Posts)
ouchthatssore Thu 14-Oct-10 18:11:43

Bit personal hence the name change.

Does anyone know anything about vulvar eczema?

I've recently been diagnosed with this after a couple of years of having itchy and sore bits and slight tearing during sex (not much fun sad). Thought it was thrush at first but it is this apparently. I don't have eczema anywhere else and never have.

Unfortunately, they say there isn't really a treatment - I've been given an emulsifying ointment (bit like vaseline) to wash with, and a steroid cream for when it's really bad, but they don't seem to help much.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Anything that worked for eczema elsewhere on the body that I could try?

Don't really want to have broken lady bits for the rest of my life sad


OP’s posts: |
blinks Thu 14-Oct-10 18:25:53

am clearly unashame-ed as can't be arsed name changing... i've got this too and i reckon baths and soap make it loads worse. i've tried the wash stuff and it's shite.

i think toilet paper might affect it also so maybe try bleach/chlorine free bog paper.

<blesses your lady bits>

ouchthatssore Thu 14-Oct-10 18:37:46

My lady bits thank you for the blessing!

Since you're so unashamed grin can I ask, do you have the painful sex thing (and if so what do you do about it?)

I don't have many baths (and never use bubble bath) and don't use soap. Thanks for the tip about toilet paper, will keep an eye out for the grubby looking unbleached stuff.

A few people have suggested giving up dairy, but I love dairy so much it's almost worth the eczema - is that something you've tried?

OP’s posts: |
raindroprhyme Thu 14-Oct-10 18:49:07

wash with aquauos (sp) cream use like shower gel and lather it on at every opportunity. i occasional get a bit sore and dry reaction to washing powder and horseriding!
i have a large tub of aquauos cream by the bog rub a good dollop in every time i go to the toilet. don't use bog roll jug of water and muslin to blot dry then cream.


blinks Thu 14-Oct-10 18:52:08

yeah, when it's bad, sex can be sore... it's like the skin is thinner and tears slightly, if that makes sense... we've been trying lube to the max but not sure if it's helping.

it's a bugger.

ouchthatssore Thu 14-Oct-10 19:00:40

it is indeed blinks. Much sympathy.

yes, the tearing thing makes a lot of sense. I described it to the doctor (vulval dermatologist who I finally got to see after months of thrush diagnosis) as feeling like a "paper cut" and she said that was exactly what it looked like. Miserable really. I haven't found lube really helps much, but certain <ahem> positions are better, usually where my legs are closer together and so there is less stretching in that area.

raindrop thanks, I will try the cream as well as the wash since the wash does help me a bit. I'm at work most of the day so can't really do the jug/muslin thing though... but does sound like it's worth getting away from normal bog roll somehow.

thank you, it's actually just nice to know someone else has this (hope that doesn't sound mean)

OP’s posts: |
raindroprhyme Thu 14-Oct-10 19:03:54

worth doing the cream at work aquaous cream is nice to as it is quite light i have tried heavier stuff before more vaseline like and i didn't put it on as much cos it wasn't comfortable. with me it is the frequency that seemed tohelp.


ouchthatssore Thu 14-Oct-10 20:04:06

thanks raindrop... will have a think about whether there's a way of going to the loo at work without noticeably carring handbag/tube of cream in there with me every time!! if I do it at home then I suppose that's half the time at least.

OP’s posts: |
blinks Thu 14-Oct-10 22:03:09

mine looks exactly like paper cuts... there's generally one specific one that causes most the pain and it feels like it never totally heals no matter what i do as it's so easily torn again. it's probably only about 5mm in size but it hurts like buggery. recently i've noticed a few smaller ones around the perineum area and i think it's because i've been having more baths than usual.

i agree about the positions thing...

ouchthatssore Fri 15-Oct-10 12:31:39

Oh, one more thing I meant to ask. The doctor I saw did think it tends to go away after a few years. I've had this for about 3 years now. How long for you...?

OP’s posts: |
blinks Fri 15-Oct-10 14:03:01

at least 10 years. why would it tend to go away after a few years? how strange.

blinks Fri 15-Oct-10 14:03:37

i used to only have it at certain points in my cycle but since having kids, have it more ofte than not... i suspect there is a hormonal link.

ouchthatssore Fri 15-Oct-10 15:10:55

Well she said she didn't tend to see women in their 40s upwards with it. (Though the cynic in me wonders whether that's just because they are more resigned to it...)

That's not good news that it's got worse since having children - I don't have any yet so guess the only way is down sad

I do notice it is better and worse at certain times though, think you're right about the hormonal link.

Will try the bog roll thing and the aqueous cream thing, when I can get to the chemist.

thanks again

OP’s posts: |
Butterbur Sat 16-Oct-10 17:19:18

I suffered from it from puberty to the menopause. It was definitely worse at ovulation and during my period.Tthe itching was a nightmare, and I used to scratch myself to shreds. Literally. The only thing that helped was doses of superstrong steroid cream when it flared up.

I'm surprised I have any skin left down there.

ouchthatssore Mon 18-Oct-10 14:33:15


OP’s posts: |
PurpleLostPrincess Mon 18-Oct-10 21:44:04

Sorry you're going through this sad. I have to say your symptoms sound very much like what my mum suffers with - lichens sclerosis (sp?). She also uses lots of aqueous cream - apparently it's hereditory so I'm constantly reading up on it and similar situations as I've been told I'm 'likely' to get it later in life (33 now). I truly hope you find something that provides you with some sort of relief smile

froot Fri 21-Oct-11 12:55:56

My 14 year old ds has just been diagnosed with this and labial hypertrophy which doesn't help with the discomfort either. She has been given emulsifying ointment to wash with and Locoid ointment but not much difference in symptoms, maybe because she wont use the ointment in the daytime as she hates the feel of it, so we are only applying it once a day at night usually. Anyone found any better ointment than Locoid that might work with a once a day application?

Ragaroo Wed 04-Jul-18 13:13:55

Hi all. Bit late to the party but thought I'd add my two pennies in the hope of helping someone. I thought I had thrush for years but turns out that it's some kind of eczema or dermatitis. I use the soak and seal method - soak in a very warm bath for a min of 15 mins (when your skin goes wrinkly), pat dry then apply Canesten hydrocortisone cream 1% (doctor recommended) - the theory being that the skin is more absorbent after a soak (and also very clean = more surface area for absorbing) 5-10 mins later apply aqueous cream with a cotton pad, smearing across the surface (not rubbing in). Repeat twice daily/daily until the symptoms subside. Then maintenance: keep the area clean (I have to use tampons as period blood causes massive flare ups, as does being unwell), keep using the aqueous cream as much as possible (will sometimes sting like a bitch but subsides and numbs quickly) and if you start to feel sore again; back to hydrocortisone. It's a constant battle for me, I feel for anyone else who suffers... but the above has really helped me live almost normally until a flare up which is pretty rare (maybe once every 2 months?)
There is also a lube called Sylk which my Dr recommended, for daily use. So if I anticipate sex within the next 8 hours (lol good planning!!) I switch from aqueous cream to this smile good luck xx

Geelooc Mon 13-Aug-18 16:39:39

Hi guys, thanks for sharing all of this - I'm also struggling with really similar issues. Was diagnosed with thrush for years, and when the treatment clearly didn't work I was subjected to all sorts of invasive testing before they decided it must be Vulval eczema.... I've been prescribed Eumovate and Doublebase emollient to manage the symptoms. I'm wondering - did any of you just start getting this later in life? I was about 25 when this started happening... I don't have kids... anyone reckon there's a link to contraception?
I'm also confused as to whether baths help or hurt!
Would love to hear there's light at the end of the tunnel as it's so frustrating :-( anybody had any luck with alternative products like coconut oil or dietary changes? I've often wondered if it could be a result of a food allergy.....

HillaryGrape Mon 13-Aug-18 22:57:21

Hi folks, this is my first post as this is a useful discussion - just came across it while googling for help.

I started itching and getting cracked skin down there in Jan 2018. Possible cause is that around that time I started using washable sanitary towels that are soaked in tea tree oil before washing. Two visits to GP where she treated me for thrush, then the third time she diagnosed eczema and prescribed a barrier cream and a steroid cream, in June 2018. I gradually got better, then last week (Aug 18) had a flare up after using tampons for my period that seemed to irritate me, and being away from home without the cream I couldn't nip it in the bud early. Seems like I'm back to square one today with paper cut-like sores.

Also suffering haemaroids so just generally miserable! And we want to try for a second baby.. Not feeling it right now!

Stacey007 Sun 02-Sep-18 23:55:22

Hi everyone...just to share my experience...I had some major stress my in my life. I woke up with red blotches all over my torso and legs. A few days later the blotches disappeared but just a small area on my genitals remained. I had an appointment for a smear due at the time. I told the doctor about the blotches at the appointment and he told me I had herpes. I was devastated, horrified and ashamed and didn’t really know what herpes was. He said it was a sexual transmitted disease but I was married and hadn’t slept with anyone else. My husband had just had an affair that I was trying to get over. When I had found out about it I made him go for a sexual check up and he had been cleared. Obviously this doctors off the cuff remark created a lot of trouble with my husband and I as I accused him of being unfaithful again. It left me feeling ashamed beyond belief. However, he was completely wrong....many months and several tests later I was told I had genital eczema. I don’t know to this day why the doctor said herpes and the skin specialist I eventually went to said it didn’t even look like herpes.
That was 10 years ago. I’ve used steroid creams and moisturising creams. Nothing has worked for me in getting rid of it. It flares up when I am stressed. It flares up if i use any kind of soap. I have to wash in dermol and use the aqueous creams which I hate as they are so greasy. They do help but it never goes away. I think the steroid cream just makes your skin even thinner so be warned....go lightly on this. I don’t know what the answer is and am still looking ten years later for a solution to this problem. My skin is so delicate and dry. I only have an area about 1inch x 1inch but sometimes I have literally wripped myself to pieces with the itching and scratched through millions of pants (its cost a small fortune) I was so glad it wasn’t herpes (I don’t really know what herpes is but I think it’s a sexual disease) but this has been ten long years of frustration and itching. I think toilet paper, soap powder and shampoo dripping down your body in the shower, all make it worse and I sometimes wonder if it’s due to some changes in law that going into the EU has made whereby some ingredients have been taken out, or added when producing these products in order to conform with EU rules that has caused a irritant, as I know so many women are suffering this problem and it seems to be on the increase. It’s great to be open about this problem as it’s more common than we think. ANyone know of any good creams I would be most grateful. GOod luck to you all in finding a solution.x

Papergirl1968 Mon 03-Sep-18 00:09:15

I’ve had itching and soreness since starting the menopause. I remember looking out at the snow last winter and wishing I could do the splits naked on the lawn, just to cool down my burning fanjo!
Vagisil medicated creme works for me. Hint - it’s £1 or more cheaper in Home Bargains than in supermarkets or chemists.
Knickers seem to make it worse so I find it helps if I can change into loose pyjama bottoms in the evenings.

Buzi Wed 07-Nov-18 00:29:16

Hi I am a GP and I have suffered with this condition for years on and off. My 13 year old has it now which is torture to see. After visiting many dermatologists and reading all the literature I have tried most things. This is a great article

Firstly you need to make sure you have infection so a swab at the GP is a good idea. Next that you don’t have psoriasis or lichen sclerosis. If the skin is smooth but red and itchy plus or minus dry and with hairline cracks then probably eczema or seborrhoeic dermatitis ...( especially if you have on face, dandruff or cradle cap0.

Most creams have preservatives etc in them. You can become sensitive to anything at any point even if you were using it for years.

Ointments are much better than creams. Lots of GPS prescribe aqueous cream but it has lanolin in it, some people are sensitive to liquid paraffin in Vaseline, I am sensitive to Lotriderm was too strong for us.
My magic cure is 1% hydrocortisone OINTMENT mixed with Diprobase ointment and daktarin cream. Mixed together and slathered on three times a day. I make a little pot and carry it everywhere.
I use panda toilet paper because that has no bleach etc in it. There are websites selling bleach free toilet paper. I wash my knickers on super hot with no powder and tumble dry hot ...never put any shampoo,conditioner or shower gel in the bath. I think bathing too much is not good .showers better. I take a probiotic for women and or probiotic pessaries. With the menopause it’s pretty much gone. I was allergic to tampons and pads was bad with periods. I bought special unbleached cotton tampons etc. It’s a bitch and it takes me about two weeks to nail a bout. I use the Daktarin in case there are some fungi about but this is not thrush.

Good luck it can be brought under control you have to be a detective and find the purest emollients you can. Definitely use ointments not creams. Cetraben was ok for me too.

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Wed 07-Nov-18 08:45:03

Don’t know if this is any help. But I’m an atopic person and usually itch all over. Regular emollient keeps skin under control. But eczema needs regular moisturisation to control it.

I’ve had vaginal dystrophy due to ancient age. I can’t take HRT, but have had huge success with keeping the entire area moisturised with a product called YesVM. It’s got no harsh chemicals in it, and is available on prescription and over the counter. It comes with an applicator for internal itching and as a gel for external bits.


Stacey007 Fri 09-Nov-18 21:04:07

.....hahaha....the splits....that made me 😆 if only!! I’m going to try the vagisil medicated cream you suggest. I love home bargains so next time I go I’ll pick some up and the next time it snows, I’ll laugh about your comment and think that somewhere deep in 5e snow drifts, someone’s out there doing the splits lol.😆😉thanks for your help.x

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