Atopic and Contact Dermatitis of the Vulva

Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2017 Sep;44(3):371-378. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2017.05.003.


Pruritus, or itch, is a common vulvar complaint that is often treated empirically as a yeast infection; however, yeast infections are just one of the many conditions that can cause vulvar itch. Ignoring other conditions can prolong pruritus unnecessarily. Atopic dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis are extremely common noninfectious causes of vulvar itch that are often underdiagnosed by nondermatologists. Identifying these conditions and treating them appropriately can significantly improve a patient's quality of life and appropriately decrease health care expenditures by preventing unnecessary additional referrals or follow-up visits and decreasing pharmaceutical costs.

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; Contact dermatitis; Eczema; Irritant dermatitis; Lichen simplex chronicus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pruritus / etiology*
  • Vulva / pathology*
  • Vulvar Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Vulvar Diseases / etiology