What is it?
- A skin condition that can affect the labia, clitoris and vulval region.
- It may be asymptomatic or cause itching, irritation and pain.
- It looks like white plaques or patches.
- We do not know what causes it.
- It is diagnosed by taking a biopsy of the affected skin.
- It can cause scarring and narrowing of the vagina so it can even cause pain with intercourse or pain and difficulty passing urine.
- It should be followed up long term as there is a <5% risk it could become cancerous.
How is it treated?
- There is no cure but there is treatment available to relieve symptoms.
- Usually you start with a high dose steroid cream for 4 weeks such as Advanta Fatty Ointment. This can be used for up to 3 months in some cases.
- Then you taper to a lower dose steroid cream such as Betnovate.
- Long term use of steroid creams can cause side effects.
- If there are no symptoms then you should discuss whether treatment is required. Treatment may prevent scarring or worsening of the condition.
- Often symptoms can eventually recur requiring repeat treatment.
- Patients should avoid using irritant soaps and clothes.
- Amitriptyline can also be used if there is a lot of pain.
- Vaginal dilators can be used to prevent further narrowing of the vagina.
- Sometimes surgery is required to open up a narrowed vagina or to remove areas if cancer is suspected or diagnosed.
Version: V2, July 2013