Vulvitis - low oestrogen levels?

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I've had vulvar itching, inflammation and discomfort for nearly two years.  My GP gave me Dermovate, which really helped.  However, after a biopsy simply showed 'chronic inflammation' he just told me to continue with the Dermovate as and when I was itchy - which I felt was rather vague.   As the initial inflamation still hadn't cleared I asked to see a dermatologist and had my appointment this morning.

She wants me to have another biopsy and told me that she didn't think it was lichen sclerosus or cancer (thank goodness).  From what I've read, I'm wondering if it might be vulvitis ~ I'm 71, so my oestrogen levels will be very low.

Just wondered if anyone of a similar age has had this problem.

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, I am younger than you, but suffer in a similar way. I too have had redness, soreness, itching, sometimes so much discomfort that i can't stand to have anything touch me, trousers are a no-no. I was given dermovate to use and instructed not to use anything else down there, no soap, talc, take care when shampooing so that none drops down when you rinse your head. Don't use any perfumed washing powders, no fancy wipes or fancy loo roll. Only cotton breathable underwear. Air as much as possible. I did have a nerve blocker injected down there which worked wonders, but the gynae did mention that oestrogen suppositories can help as they help heal and rebuild the tissue. Try a gynae rather than a dermotlogist perhaps. Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for all your advice,  jokow22.  Sorry to hear that you've got the same problem.  

      When my GP referred me he was going to send me to a gynae, but I had read that a dermatologist would be better, so he agreed to do this.  She is a vulval specialist.  

      Have you been told that it is vulvitis caused by low oestrogen?  And, may I ask how often you use your Dermovate?   Initially I was told by my GP to use it twice a day for a month, then once a day for a month, but, since February, I've only been using it spasmodically, as, to be honest, I'm not sure how long I'm supposed to be using it for.  The GP said to use it when I was itchy, until it stopped itching!   I'm hoping that I don't have to wait too long for the biopsy.  Thanks again.  

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    • Posted

      My problem was labelled vulvodynia. I am very dry down below, so am assuming it's lack of oestrogen from what I've read. Have heard positive outcomes from other who have used the cream and suppositories. Although I do believe food may also be to blame, in part, as I , like Minamii have awful reflux and my bladder gets irritated from the acid, and then my vulvodynia can get really bad. I too avoid things like tomatoes and citrus fruit. I'd try and use something other than dermovate for the itching being you've used it for a while because it can turn the problem into a vicious circle. Try a lidocaine based cream like vagisil perhaps. Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thanks again, jokow22.  I, was diagnosed with laryngopharyngeal reflux a couple of years ago and no longer eat tomatoes or citrus fruit either.  The first GP I saw about the itching and soreness, two years ago, told me I was 'very dry' and gave me Sylk Moisturiser, but the inflammation increased, which is why I went back.  Thanks for the advice about Dermovate, I'll look into Vagisil.  I'm seeing my GP again next week for another problem, but may well mention this, if I get the chance.  I suppose I'll know more after this second biopsy.

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  • Posted

    Yes, yes, yes!  I'm 57, and after five years of chronically worsening itch, eventually leading to bleeding, I found that I'm sensitive to some of the naturally occuring chemicals in potatoes.  When I was younger, I could eat them as much as I wished, but as I've aged, it seems that my liver can't manage to deal with them as efficiently. Now, I just avoid the foods which are related, which are potatoes, tomatoes, chilli, capsicum (bell peppers) and aubergine.  Tobacco also belongs to these interrelated plants, but I've never smoked.  I found that, with avoidance, my itchiness completely disappeared.  If I inadvertantly eat them, since they're hard to avoid, tomato in particular seems to be added to *everything* the itchiness comes back.  

    Give it a try for a week or two.  The only thing you've got to lose is the itch!

    And good luck!

    Minamii

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    • Posted

      Oh, I meant to add in the above post, once the itching and pain stopped, my interest in sex with my husband returned!  It was only because I was so chronically sore all the time that we stopped.  So if I ever feel tempted to indulge in some fries or mashed potato, I just remind myself that I can have a far better time without it!  

      Also, if you really can't bear to give up potatoes and tomatoes, you can try taking one antihistamine a day.  That can relieve the itch whenever I inadvertantly ingest any of the foods I'm sensitive to.  

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply, that's really interesting, Minamii.  How did you discover that potatoes were the problem?  An allergy test?  Or just trial and error?

      I have given up eating tomatoes - which I loved - as I developed laryngeal pharyngeal reflux a few years ago, and this was one of the things on the list to avoid.  It now makes me wonder if this is all part of the same thing.  I'll certainly try giving them up and see if it makes a difference.  Thank you and I'm pleased that things have improved so much for you.

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  • Posted

    Did he actually test for Lichen Sclerosus? I'd make sure he did to rule it out.

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    • Posted

      The biopsy result did mention that Lichen Sclerosus was a possibility - from the GP - so I believe they did look for it.   The dermatologist said it didn't look like LS, so I don't think it is. I had to see a different GP the other day about something else and, while I was there, also asked about an emollient.  So, after explaining why, he wanted to examine me.  He was baffled, too, but did say that my vagina was extremely healthy, so it wasn't atrophy.  I've got a vague suspicion that it may be the result of wearing trousers and pant liners for 20 years.  I very, very rarely wore a skirt and the pant liners meant that everything was quite tight.  So it may well be all my own fault!  We'll see, I suppose.  I now have bare legs and am wearing a skirt (I've been shopping)! 

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    • Posted

      I felt so much better when i stopped wearing trousers for a while and wore skirts, and also nighties instead of pajamas. My skin was healthy to look at, that's why the gps i saw couldn't understand the pain. I always get sore if I wear panty liners for a couple of days. It's like they absorb too much moisture. I had the gynae put a 6 month lasting nerve blocker in, and felt instant relief. It wore off 2 months ago, but the pain has not come back...well, unless I eat/do something silly! So by changing a few things, my problem seems to be under control. So I think the main points are: keep aired, no perfumed products and take care of what you eat and drink. Love to know how you get along!

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    • Posted

      The warm weather has meant that it hasn't been too much of a shock to 'get my legs out' and I've worn a nightie for years.  I did get in touch with the Dermatologist's secretary today to tell her that I had meant to tell the consultant that, before I went to the GP, the inflammation covered the whole of the vulva.  The Dermovate has helped most of it, but still some inflammation (the worst) remains.  I still think it may well be a form of dermatitis, but I suppose I won't know until I've had the biopsy.  I'll let you know what happens, but my biopsy appointment isn't until 19th July, so a few weeks yet and then, of course, I'll have to wait for another dermatology appointment.  It's all waiting, isn't it?  Take care.

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  • Posted

    LOL, I had to take a minute to wonder what you meant by warm weather, then I realized you must be living in the Northern Hemisphere!  I'm in Australia, and we're currently in the minus temperatures, at least in the mornings, as we go through our winter!  

    Minamii

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