Crohn's disease of the vulva

J Crohns Colitis. 2014 Jul;8(7):563-70. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2013.10.009. Epub 2013 Nov 16.


Crohn's disease (CD) of the vulva is a rare, yet under recognized condition. Fistulae arising from the digestive tract account for the greater part of genital lesions in CD. However, cutaneous so-called metastatic lesions of the vulva have been reported in the literature. They are clinically challenging for gastroenterologists as well as for gynecologists, with numerous differential diagnoses, especially among venereal diseases, and require a multidisciplinary approach. The most frequently observed features of the disease are labial swelling, vulvar ulcers, and hypertrophic lesions. Biopsy samples for histological study are mandatory, in order to establish the diagnosis of vulvar CD. Treatment options include oral prolonged courses of metronidazole and systemic immunosuppressive therapy such as corticosteroids and azathioprine, with promising data published on the efficacy of infliximab. Surgery remains restricted to medical treatment failures or resection of unsightly lesions. Prospective studies or case series with long follow-up data are still missing to guide the treatment of this condition.

Keywords: Metastatic Crohn's disease; Vulvar Crohn's disease; Vulvar hypertrophy; Vulvar swelling; Vulvar ulceration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / etiology*
  • Crohn Disease / complications*
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy / pathology
  • Ulcer / etiology*
  • Vulva / pathology*
  • Vulvar Diseases / etiology*
  • Vulvar Diseases / pathology*
  • Vulvar Diseases / therapy