The vulva is the female genitalia surrounding the vagina and urethra, including the labia majora, labia minora and the mons pubis. An inflammation of the vulva is known as vulvitis. The most common causes of irritation are easily treated and prevented.
Women who are allergic to condoms, laundry detergents, scented soaps or feminine hygiene products may suffer labia irritation. Eczema and dermatitis are common skin conditions that often occur in response to allergies.
Yeast is a fungus found naturally in the vagina. A yeast infection develops when more yeast than bacteria is present in the vaginal area. This can cause intense itching of the labia.
Pubic lice, or crabs, are spread during sexual activity to the vulvar area causing itching, red marks and hives.
Chronic itching of the entire vulvar area may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. Atrophic vaginitis occurs in menopausal women when the vaginal lining and vulvar skin becomes dry and thin due to a deficiency in estrogen.
A doctor should be consulted to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Cleansing the genital area regularly, wearing cotton underwear and avoiding scented soaps are simple ways to prevent vulvitis.