Vaginal rashes are often the result of allergic reactions, sexually transmitted diseases and bacterial imbalances. Although they are often uncomfortable, they are rarely dangerous. Vaginal rashes typically are easy to treat when done so promptly. The most common causes of rashes are contact dermatitis, bacterial vaginosis, candidiasis and trichomoniasis.
Contact dermatitis occurs when the flesh of the vaginal area comes into contact with an irritant. Perfumes, soap and allergenic materials such as latex commonly cause contact rashes. This type of rash subsides after the irritant is removed. Medical care is rarely needed for contact dermatitis, but a physician typically will examine the rash to rule out more serious conditions.
Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal condition that can be caused by a variety of species of bacteria. It is characterized by an itchy rash that usually is accompanied by unpleasant discharge. Bacterial vaginosis is not a sexually transmitted condition and is not contagious. It occurs as a result of a bacterial imbalance. After a doctor performs a test to confirm the diagnosis, an antibiotic is prescribed to get the condition under control.
Candidiasis is a common fungal infection that can occur when the yeast population of the vagina becomes imbalanced. Classic characteristics of this type of rash include burning, itching and redness. If the yeast multiplies quickly, it can cause a full-blown yeast infection, which is characterized by a cottage cheese-like discharge. Candidiasis presents a type of rash that is similar to other conditions, so it is important for a physician to examine the rash and confirm the diagnosis. A candidiasis infection is commonly treated with antifungal medication.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by a parasite. Common symptoms include a rash in and around the vaginal area and vulva. It also can cause a green discharge and strong odor, along with itches on the inner thighs. A doctor will conduct a pelvic exam to look for characteristic red blotches along the vaginal wall. A round of antibiotic treatment is commonly used to cure the infection.
There are a variety of conditions that can cause a vaginal rash, so it is important for a physician to examine the condition. The physician typically will take a culture sample from the vagina and examine it in an effort to identify the organism or material that is causing the rash. The most common causes of vaginal rashes are not life threatening, and the prognosis is good with proper treatment. With the exception of contact dermatitis, most vaginal rashes will not go away on their own and will require antibiotic or antifungal treatment.