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Vulva

Vulva

Vulva

The vulva is the external as well as visible part of the female genitalia. It protects the opening of the vagina and the urethra and envelopes the clitoris, which is the erectile part of the genitalia. Vulva undergoes much development during puberty of a girl due to the increase of estrogen in her body. It has numerous nerve endings attached to it and happens to be the seat of stimulation during intercourse. The clitoris is quite similar in function to the male penis, as it becomes engorged due to the deposition of blood after stimulation.

The outer lips of the vulva are called labia majora while the inner lips are called labia minora. Within these lips, is enclosed the opening for the vagina, and just above this opening is the clitoris which is about the size of a pea. The pudendal nerve transmits the sensations from the vulva to the brain. This nerve is also responsible for the proper functioning of and regulating urination, orgasms and defecation in both females as well as males.

The vagina and subsequently the vulva remains moist most of the time due to which there’s always a risk of overgrowth of bacteria in it. Also, the vulva is the part of the body which comes in contact with another individual’s genitalia during intercourse, increasing the chances of transmission of diseases. Some common ailments that affect the vulva are Skin allergy, Vulvar cancer, Vulvovaginitis and Vulvodynia. An overview of these ailments are as follows:

Skin allergy: Itching in the vulva and vagina is an uncomfortable situation which occurs due to infection or allergies. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), eczema and chemical irritants in scented toilet papers, creams or detergents can also be a reason behind it. 

Vulvar Cancer: This mostly affects older women and results in abnormal lumps or sores on the vulva which causes severe itching. Other visible symptoms include bleeding in the vulva, pain and thickening of the skin. The biggest risk factor of developing this cancer is being infected by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is usually transmitted through intercourse.

Vulvovaginitis: This refers to the inflammation of the vulva and the vagina. It is caused by bacteria, fungus or even viruses like HPV. Small amounts of bacteria are found on the vulva, and its overgrowth can result in infection. Intake of antibiotics can result in the degeneration of antifungal bacteria found in the female genitalia which provides favourable conditions for infectious fungus to grow.

Vulvodynia: This refers to chronic pain in the vulva or the tissue at the opening of the vagina for months. Its exact causes are not clear but physicians assume that it can be due to past vaginal infections, hormonal changes or allergy. Most women find it embarrassing to address this ailment to doctors, but that shouldn’t be the practise. If left the pain persists, it can harm a woman’s mental health and daily life.

Zyropathy recommends an anti-bacterial and anti fungal liquid for regular cleaning or vulva and vagina along with application of a medicated oil to protect it from infection.

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