Learn all about vulvar abscess symptoms, causes and treatment. The outer parts of a female’s genital organs are known as the vulva. It is not a single part but rather, refers to the area around the genital organs and comprises of the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, mons pubis and the vaginal opening. The structure of the vulva differs from woman to woman and may be responsible for some women being more susceptible to certain medical conditions than others. The multitude nerve endings and blood vessels in the area around the vulva make it an extremely sensitive and responsive part of a woman’s anatomy. As a result, any kind of sore, blister, lesion, abscess or cyst in this region can cause immense pain and discomfort to the woman.
Vulvar cellulitis and abscess often present diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas for the gynecologist. Generally a presumptive diagnosis based on the presentation, physical examination, and risk factors for severe disease guides initial therapy. Although cultures may be of benefit to direct specific antibiotic coverage, in general, laboratory testing and imaging are less useful than a thorough history. Therefore, although these diseases may first present to a gynecologist, a multidisciplinary approach is advocated to collaborate when needed between division of infectious diseases, general surgeon, and dermatology to maximize the accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients with vulvar cellulitis and abscess
Infections of the vulva can present a complex differential to the gynecologist, ranging from superficial skin infections to life threatening necrotizing fasciitis. Recognition and timely treatment remain universal to skin and soft-tissue infections as the subcutaneous anatomy of the vulva can facilitate rapid spread to other tissues with significant morbidity and mortality).
Vulvar signs and symptoms are among the most common complaints of girls of all ages. Because puberty leads to changes in anatomy, microbiology, and microbial flora, the vulvovaginal conditions that occur in prepubertal girls are, with few exceptions, different from those occurring in adolescents. Young children may not be able to adequately describe their symptoms
When any patient has a vulvar abscess, culture it for aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms, including MRSA). When selecting an antibiotic, choose one that includes coverage of MRSA as well as gram-negative enteric and other gram-positive organisms. To prevent an abscess from coming back, your doctor may recommend steroid and antibiotic lotions. They may also recommend hormone treatments (such as the contraceptive pill) if oil or hair growth seems to be a factor.
What is Vulvar Abscess?
The vulva consists of the external genitals of a woman. It includes the mons pubis, labia major and minor, clitoris, and the urethral and vaginal openings. A vulvar abscess is a collection of bacteria and pus that builds beneath the skin of this area. Vulvar abscess is a common gynecologic problem that has the potential to result in severe illness. These abscesses typically originate as simple infections that develop in the vulvar skin or subcutaneous tissues. Spread of infection and abscess formation in the vulvar area is facilitated by the loose areolar tissue in the subcutaneous layers and the contiguity of the vulvar fascial planes with the groin and anterior abdominal wall.
Vulvar Abscess Pictures
Vulvar Abscess Symptoms
Vulvar abscess symptoms may include:
- Redness, warmth, and swelling
- A bump or rash
- Discharge of pus
- Fever, chills
Vulvar Abscess Causes
A vulvar abscess is caused by a bacterial infection. The infection may develop as a result of:
- An ingrown hair from shaving or waxing
- A blocked sweat gland
- Bacteria entering a wound or opening in the vulva, such as a genital piercing
- Factors that may increase your risk of a vulvar abscess include:
- Removal of pubic hair using waxing, shaving, or laser treatment
- Having unprotected sex
- Having a genital piercing
- Poor hygiene
- Having skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis
- Crohn’s disease
- Lichen sclerosus.
Vulvar Abscess Treatment
Vulvar abscess treatment is done according to the size and severity of abscess. Most vulvar and perineal abscesses can be successfully treated with incision and drainage. The complete removal of the infecting agent and the necrotised tissue typically ensures the patient achieves immediate relief from pain and discomfort associated with these conditions. In most cases, the procedure is done in an outpatient setting and the patient is allowed to go home on the same day. The physician may prescribe antibiotic treatment after the procedure to facilitate healing and prevent recurrence. Patients are advised to rest for a few days and avoid strenuous physical activity. Any dressing must be regularly replaced until the wound heals completely. Sitz baths or bathing in a mix of warm water and salt (around a teaspoon of salt per litre of water)
It may be treated with medications. Doctor may prescribe;
- Ampicillin-sulbactam and ciprofloxacin
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or gentamicin.