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Crohn’s Disease of the Vulva

 
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Crohn’s disease of the vulva is a rare manifestation of Crohn’s disease. It usually occurs when the patient has intestinal Crohn’s disease as a complication of that disease, but it can sometimes occur on its own without any bowel disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease of the vulva include:

• Swelling of the labia and/or clitoral hood
• Redness and inflammation
• Cracks in the skin
• Ulcers on the vulva, labia, perineum and inside the vagina

The most common area for ulcers to occur is on the perineum.

Diagnosis

If you haven’t already been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease of the bowels, investigations will be done to see if you have this as most cases of Crohn’s disease of the vulva are driven by disease in the bowel.

A physical examination will be carried out so the doctor can assess your general health and see if there are any other potential causes for your symptoms. He’ll take a full medical history, in addition to checking your pulse, blood pressure, temperature and weight.

You’ll be offered blood tests to check for anaemia (people with Crohn’s often cannot absorb enough nutrients) and to check the level of inflammation in your body.

You may also be asked to provide a stool sample to check for blood in the stools and to rule out worms as a cause of bowel symptoms.

A colonoscopy may be done to look at the condition of your colon and see if there is any inflammation. A small, lighted telescope with a camera on it will be inserted into your rectum and up into the colon.

The telescope is called an endoscope and can be fitted with surgical tools so that a biopsy may be taken. The tissue sample can then be examined for signs of disease.

To look at the inside of the small intestine, the doctor has to perform a barium enema of the small bowel, as the endoscope cannot see into the small intestine. After being given a local anaesthetic spray to numb the area, a tube will be passed up your nose and down your throat.

Barium liquid is then put down the tube to coat the intestines. This makes them show up on X-ray pictures and the doctors will be able to see any inflammation caused by Crohn’s.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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