The Amara Clinic offers expert assessment and treatment of vulval problems.
If you are worried about changes in your vulva’s appearance or are experiencing pain, itching or other symptoms, The Amara Clinic’s specialist team can assess your symptoms, examine your vulva and arrange diagnostic tests in a private, safe and stress-free environment.
Types of vulval problems
Vulval problems can affect women of all ages. Many conditions can affect your vulva, including vulval skin disorders, vulval pain or vulvodynia and vulval aesthetic problems.
Vulval skin disorders
The vulva can develop skin diseases. Common symptoms include pain, itching, rashes, soreness and changes in the skin. Some of these skin conditions only affect the vulva- but many can affect the rest of the body as well. Vulval skin conditions include:
- Lichen sclerosus: A skin problem that causes itchy white patches to appear on your vulva and other parts of the body. It usually develops after the menopause but can affect women of all ages. We can’t cure lichen sclerosus, but we have excellent treatments to keep it under control. Some women with lichen sclerosus are at risk of developing pre-cancerous changes in the vulva so the team will keep a close eye on you.
- Lichen planus: A skin condition that causes pain and discomfort. It can affect skin anywhere on the body but the soft membranes of the mouth and vulva are particularly vulnerable. The skin can look bright red and inflamed.
- Vulval dermatitis: Also known as lichen simplex or vulval eczema, this can cause intense itching, inflammation and thickening. Stress, perfumes and soaps can trigger a flare-up.
- Vulval atrophy: The vulval tissues can become thin due to falling oestrogen levels after the menopause which results in collagen depletion. The vulval skin can become pale, itchy, uncomfortable and lose elasticity.
- Psoriasis: Psoriasis can affect the vulva, as well as the scalp, nails and skin all over the body. It causes skin thickening and dryness.
Candida or thrush infection: Thrush causes soreness, irritation and burning. It may also cause a lumpy white discharge, especially if the vagina is also infected.
- HPV or genital warts: Human Papillomavirus can infect the vulva causing warty growths. The virus is sexually transmitted and very common. It’s important to attend screening if you have contracted HPV because some strains of the virus are linked to the development of cervical cancer.
- VIN: VIN stands for vulval intraepithelial neoplasia. It’s the medical term for pre-cancerous cells that develop in the vulva, similar to the abnormal cells that we look for in your cervical smear test. If we are worried about VIN, we may refer you for a colposcopy examination to inspect your vulva, cervix and vagina with a microscopic camera and take biopsies.
- Vulval cancer: Vulval cancer is thankfully rare. It usually affects women over 50 after the menopause. If you notice a lump, ulcer, thickened patches or rash that doesn't settle, you should make an appointment with a medical professional. You should also get a check-up if you have an ongoing blood-stained discharge or symptoms of pain, itching or burning that don't resolve.
Managing vulval problems
The team at The Amara Clinic will work with you to treat and manage your vulval skin condition. Moisture, heat and rubbing or itching can worsen your vulval problems. You can ease your symptoms if you:
Avoid soaps, shower gels, scented products and deodorants in the sensitive genital area.
Wear underwear and clothing in natural fabrics to let the skin breathe.
Don't pick, scratch or rub. We know it's tricky, but scratching will irritate the area and damage the delicate skin. If you're scratching at night, keep your nails trimmed short to minimise the damage.
Treat your partner if you have Candida; the infection can be transmitted during sex.
Make an appointment with the specialist team at The Amara Clinic for assessment and advice. They can exclude serious problems like VIN or vulval cancer, prescribe creams to treat your skin condition, ease your symptoms and prescribe treatment to address any infections and STIs.
The medical team at The Amara Clinic use a holistic structured approach to help you manage the pain associated with vulvodynia and improve the long term outcome.
We have a multi-faceted approach to address the problems which lead to vulval pain, including prescription medication where necessary. Self-care and dietary changes are also key.
Managing aesthetic vulval problems
Many aesthetic vulval concerns can be corrected by labiaplasty.. Labiaplasty is bespoke cosmetic surgery to reduce the size of your inner vulval lips. Labiaplasty makes the labia minora smaller, more symmetrical and neatly enclosed within the labia majora.
Labiaplasty is about more than having a 'designer vagina'; it can restore your body confidence and self-esteem. After labiaplasty surgery, women feel better and have more sexual confidence. It also resolves any problems with the labia catching or rubbing in tight clothing, when cycling or during sport.
The team at The Amara Clinic will be happy to discuss your concerns about vulval appearance and, where appropriate, arrange labial surgery for you which will be carried out by Miss Anne Henderson.