par Parent, Dominique
Référence Revue médicale de Bruxelles, 30, 4, page (385-391)
Publication Publié, 2009-09
Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The genital area in women is covered by a keratinized squamous stratified epithelium outside the body (vulva), and a non keratinized epithelium inside the body (vagina). These characteristics can have an effect on the clinical aspects of the diseases and/or on the choice of the treatment. Symptoms (itching, pain, vaginal discharge), preferential localisation of skin diseases (psoriasis, lichen planus, lichen sclerosus, atopic dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis, irritative dermatitis) and the aspect of primary lesions are to be investigated. The implication of this region in sexual activity places it at risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) and dyspareunia. These have numerous causes that have to be sought and taken care of, often by multidisciplinary teams. After a careful history and clinical examination, additional tests allow to exclude infections or confirm a skin condition or neoplasia by a skin biopsy. If contact dermatitis is suspected, specific allergy testing is done. Treatment starts with correction of harmful habits (excessive use of soaps, inappropriate cosmetic products,...) that add to the local irritation. Patients are then reassured of common misconception regarding cancer, STD's and fertility. In the vast majority of cases, the treatment will target an infection (fungal, bacterial, STD's), will relieve irritation by the use of local immunosuppressant drugs (local corticosteroids) and/or relief itching symptoms with anti-histamine drugs.