A skin problem can be stressful and upsetting – especially when it affects the genital area. Skin conditions such as moles, warts, psoriasis and eczema that commonly affect other areas of the body can behave differently in the highly sensitive genital region. It is also rare, but cancer may rear its’ ugly head in this area as well. This includes melanoma and skin cancers related to HPV.
How do I know if I need to have this area checked?
A check of the genital area should be offered in every Full Body Skin Examination as there are several skin conditions that may affect the vulva (the skin of the genitals). Some of these may include:
- Lichen sclerosus – This can affect women of any age but is most often found in women after the menopause. It presents with itching, and a whitening of the skin.
- Lichen planus – This condition tends to cause pain rather than itching. It can affect the skin anywhere on the body, particularly the mouth and genitals.
- Vulvar dermatitis (lichen simplex) – Thickening of the skin, with intense itching (especially at night). This can happen if you have sensitive or itchy skin, dermatitis or eczema. It may also extend to your inner thighs or pubic area. Stress and chemical irritants may make your symptoms worse.
- Vulvar atrophy – This can happen when the female hormone estrogen falls, usually after the menopause. Skin can feel dry, and sex may be painful.
- VIN (vulval intraepithelial neoplasia) – VIN is found in the vulva and can only be diagnosed by taking a biopsy. In this condition there are changes in the skin that may become cancerous over time. It is similar to the pre-cancerous changes that are looked for in cervical smears. Your doctor may advise you to have your cervix and vagina examined in detail with a microscopic camera (colposcopy) to check those areas as well. Women who have lichen sclerosus may sometimes have VIN.
- Psoriasis – This may affect the vulva and cause dryness and thickening of the skin. Other parts of your body such as the nails and scalp may also be affected.
Who should I see to diagnose my condition?
Many Gynecologists often refer patients to see a Dermatologist when skin conditions in the genital tract pop up. A Gynecologist will check to see that the condition is not infected, then refer to the Dermatologist because they are looking for some skin reason to explain their discomfort. The Dermatologist then diagnoses the condition and orders the proper post-care to treat and/or clear up the condition.
What should I do if I have pain, discomfort or nerve pain in this area?
If you believe you have spotted an abnormal skin issue in the genital area, Olansky’s dermatologists can diagnose the cause and provide discreet, professional treatment. We use advanced therapies and procedure to treat the problem, while leaving your skin looking and feeling healthy.
*Atlanta Magazine Features Dr. Jodi E. Ganz of Olansky Dermatology Associates as 2019 “Top Doctor”
For yet another year in a row, Atlanta Dermatologist Dr. Jodi E. Ganz was featured as “Top Doctor” from Atlanta Magazine. Dr. Ganz is a esteemed dermatologist who serves patients of all ages. This year, Atlanta Magazine has produced their largest “Top Doctor” list to date, including 860 of the Atlanta area’s most trusted physicians. Dr. Ganz is one of only twenty selected doctors in the dermatology category.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jodi E. Ganz, Olansky Dermatology Associates
3379 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 500
Atlanta, GA 30326
Phone: (404) 355-5484