Precancerous changes of the vulva (vulvar dysplasia) may appear as white, red, or brown patches on the vulva, and may cause itching. The vulva can also develop skin cancers such as melanoma and basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
Nonsexually transmitted diseases may also produce sores on the genitals. In young girls (before puberty), common causes of genital sores include:
See a health care provider before treating yourself. You may make it more difficult for your health care provider to determine what is wrong.
A sitz bath may help relieve itching and crusting.
If the sores are caused by a sexually transmitted infection, notify your sexual partner so that he or she can be treated. Do not have any type of sexual activity until your health care provider says the sores can no longer be spread to others.
Call your health care provider if
Call your health care provider if you:
Find any unexplained genital lesion
Have a change in a genital lesion
Have persistent genital itching that does not go away with home care
Think you might have a sexually transmitted infection
Also have pelvic pain, fever, vaginal bleeding, or other new symptoms
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your health care provider will perform a physical examination. The physical examination will usually include a pelvic examination. You will be asked questions about your symptoms and medical history. Questions may include:
Treatment may include medications that are applied to the skin or that are taken by mouth. The type of medication depends on the cause, but may include corticosteroids, antiviral drugs, antibiotics, or drugs to control itching.
Zeimet A, McBride DR, Basilan R, et al. Infectious diseases. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 16.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.