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Vulvar Dystrophy

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According to the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, vulvar dystrophy is the growth of abnormal skin on the vulva. The skin can be too thin, as with lichen sclerosus, or too thick, as with squamous hyperplasia. Sometimes there can be a mixture of both.

Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a long-term problem of the skin affecting mostly the genital and anal areas - although it can appear on the upper body as well. The exact cause is unknown; heredity is thought to be a key factor. Many women experience this skin disorder after menopause. Lichen sclerosus is mainly characterized by white, shiny patches of parchment-like skin on and around the labia.


Symptoms will vary from person to person. Some women have no obvious symptoms, while others experience intense itching and many have only slight discomfort of the vulva while others have pain that progressively increases. The affected skin can bleed if scratched or rubbed, making sexual intercourse impossible. Lichen sclerosus can cause deep cracks around the anus which can result in very painful bowel movements. Although this condition does not cause cancer, it does increase the risk of vulvar cancer if left untreated.

Diagnosis and Treatment

It takes a medical professional to diagnose this vulvar condition. A biopsy will be performed to make a determination. Treatment may include corticosteroid cream and testosterone ointments to provide relief. Retinoid drugs are even used to reduce the breakdown and damage of any connective tissue. Lastly, surgery may be needed if this disorder has caused scarring or fusion of the labia.

Squamous Hperplasia

With squamous hyperplasia, the vulva develops thick, white elevations of the skin on this area. The cause of this condition is unknown and it is considered a chronic disorder. It's progression is length, as well as it's recovery.


The most obvious characteristic is abnormal growth of the vulva skin. Most individuals will experience itching of the affected area.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As in the case of lichen sclerosus, your doctor will need to do a biopsy to diagnose.

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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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