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Causes of redness/fissures of vulvar skin
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Causes of redness/fissures of vulvar skin

Hi there,

I have had symptoms since last June (07) that I have had all infectious conditions ruled out. I am now looking at biopsy of the vulvar skin to uncover some answers, so I wanted to post here to see if any other women have gone to a dermatologist and had results. I have posted on the women's health forums here, but since i have ruled out std's, fungus, bacteris, yeast, hormone levels, strep-B, etc etc, this is clearly a skin issue.
What happens is that I get occassional redness and mild itching of the vulva. My Dr. has observed that my cervix is also reddened at these times. I get a recurring fissure that is located in a natural skin fold next to my clitoris, and one that appears sometimes on my perineum. I have also had what feels like a fissure on my anal area, it will burn and bleed a little when I wipe.  My gyn prescribed a zpak when I also (in october) began having a thick discharge with elevated white cells. ALL tests were done, no answers. Meds do not affect it.
My reproductive endocrinologist tested my hormones, cortisol, tsh, etc etc- all normal. I do have anti-thyroid antibodies as well as antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, which are both auto-immune diseases. I am asymptomatic for both.
WHAT on earth could be causing my symptoms above??? I am not looking forward to a biopsy, but I am wondering if it is Lichen Sclerosis? The redness and fissures do respond to Clobetasol treatment. In fact i went for 6 weeks without a "flare" from mid-november 07 to January 08.
Anyone have ideas?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had the same thing you describe for about 15 years - with some times better than others, but always there to some extent.  My dermatologist diagnosed "stress eczema" and prescribed Elidel.  I had pretty good results with it, but the problem would always come back.  (I had the fissures in the same places you describe).  About 4 months ago nothing was working and I thought about using something my sister, who has Lupus, uses for her skin - Cetaphil.  It comes in several versions, but I started using the Daily Facial Cleanser on my vaginal area with wonderful results.  It is the purest cleanser I've ever seen. Cetaphil also makes an Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar, which I'm using also - but the Daily Facial Cleanser is the best.  So, I have some to the conclusion that I really have had a reaction to the bath soap I had used.  Safeguard for several years after the onset - and then Zest for the past few years.  I also had used other kinds of soap - Ivory, Dove, even Aveeno - but none of them really helped.  I occasionally use a very little Elidel now.  I haven't gone this long without a flare up in 15 years and I'm sticking with Cetaphil unless I have a problem again, and then might see a dermatologist again (I have moved states.)  Perhaps this might help you.  It's a terrible thing to have and I wish you well.  After those of us who have it go through so much to find out what the problem is, I thought it would be quite interesting if it just turned out to be a very sensitive soap reaction!

CeeTee
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Avatar_f_tn
I too am having the same symptoms, and have perplexed 3 Doctors.  I researched on the net and determined that it could be Lichen Sclerosis and took this info. to the gynecologist with me.  He said it could be that but isn't sure and even wants me to be checked for Chrone's disease.  This problem is apparently very common from what I've discovered on my vast search of the internet so why are Doctors so perplexed by it? I will take any answers and treatment advice offered.
AJ95
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A week after seeing my Doctor and following the advice of CeeTee, my condition is almost completely cleared.  I stopped taking baths and now shower only, not using the dove soap and just mild cleanser and water.  My gyno had prescribed a steroid cream which I have used a couple of times.  I now believe it to have been a reaction to soap and possibly aggravated by sitting in the soapy bath.  Thanks CeeTee for the tip, I and my husband are much happier now.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi ladies,
Thank you for the posts and info..
I wanted to update that I had a biopsy of the vulvar tissue in late May. Results were negative.... except that I was found to have "chronic dermatitis". I did more research online and found a condition called "DIV" (desquamative inflammatory vaginitis). It causes redness, itching, fissures etc... And when you've been tested for all infectious and non-infectious conditions and they are all negative, this is what alot of women end up being diagnosed with.
Its cause is unknown, but it responds to a 2 week therapy with Clindamycin cream (vaginally) and hydrocortizone suppositories (again, vaginally). I did this as prescribed and all of my symptoms went away.. They've been gone since early June!
I am thinking that I had some sort of allergic reaction (hence the chronic dermatitis on the biopsy) that just went haywire!??
Anyway, I am hoping that this won't return, but if it does, at least I know what worked for me!!
Thanks again!
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Avatar_f_tn
I wrote a long reply and it is not posting for some reason. Long story again….
I have same thing in same place, one side only.  
I am fairly high stress, but even during low stress it is present.
I change my underwear frequently to keep dry. Not changing them seems to make it worse; changing still doesn't solve the problem.
I wear white wall-mart cheapy underwear. I thought it could be something in the processing of the material. Had heard they actually have white dye and thought it could be sensitivity to the dye.
I thought it might have something to do with being gassy, or eating foods that I may have a sensitivity to, either because they makes me gassy, or because it could be an allergic reaction. Could an allergic reaction from food show it self in this area?
I use the cheap individually wrapped industrial TP from SAMs.
We use Poly...Condoms for protection and mineral oil for lubrication, because I thought the spermcide/other condoms were irritating. Also stopped oral sex, obviously, but because I thought that was causing it... It came back without that as a possibility.
I use "free and clear" detergents, mostly arm and hammer, but once another kind.
When I sit on the computer and create a little oven of sorts by sitting up straight, it seems to get worse, but not always and not sitting doesn't let it go away.
Jeans seem to make it worse. I go with out pants, allowing plenty of air flow when I can at home. Which obviously doesn't solve the problem... AND isn't suggested for "in the office."
I do everything wrong and it goes away, I do every thing right and it pops up. I played in the hose with my daughter, wet pants, and then went to the pool, wet bathing suit and that night it went away. The pool, by the way, is salt water, so maybe salt sit baths could help?
Please lets keep talking, and solve this, none of us have a Cindamycin deficiency and I fear that antibiotics could be whacking something else out of balance.

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Meant to say, the other day I tried balmex diaper rash meds for a couple of hours and it seems to of helped. Could be another coincidence. And thanks for the soap suggestion, will try that also! For now it is hardly visible, seems to heal very quickly when conditions are favorable, but it takes no time to pop back up either. Good luck to everyone with this one...
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,
I read your post and just wanted to respond to the "free and clear" detergents that you said you use..
The reason I ask is because in trying to trace my problem back to when it began, it was when I had decided to switch to "free of dyes" organic "petroleum free" environmentally friendly detergent and toilet paper.
I went on this "go green" spree, and converted to these products. THATS when I started itching and having fissures. A whole YEAR later, I am finally symptom free after multiple dr. visits, tests, biopsy, and even then I STILL had to self-diagnose by reading websites!!!
Chronic Dermatitis can apparently really cause problems down there!! Since Clindamycin and Hydrocortizone suppositories are not as serious as using steroid creams, it seems worth a try for anyone whose Dr. can't figure this stuff out!
best of luck..
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PS- I went back to conventional detergents and toilet paper!!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks so much to all who posted.  I'm not feeling so confused now.

I'm on prolonged antibiotics for another condition and I thought it might be a low-level yeast infection (which don't always come with white discharge).  An anti-yeast pill like Diflucan has helped in the past, but I haven't tried it this time.

I never thought about the soap irritation mentioned above, but will try the Cetaphil cleanser (I use their lotion).

Thank you to everyone who posted -- !  
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow! In addition to these symptoms, has anyone experienced swelling as well. I too have the redness and a fissure;except mine is still present after over two months. I was diagnosed w/ yeast and cervicitis-twice in one month. And twice to no avail. Same soreness and irritation and as mentioned in th above, it has the docs perplexed.
I'm waiting as I write for the 5th diagnosis. Was it a pap that determined the above or should I request a biopsy ?
Thanx in advance/It's nice to know one is not alone-thus the Wow.=)
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I have the SAME thing!!! It occured for the first time 2 months ago when I was showering and I noticed something was stinging me.  I didn't know what was the cause and I thought it was an STD. My problem started with an itch for 2 months, and the itch got worse.  My 2 fissures are 12 o'clock, directly on top of the clitoral hood, and 11 o clock on the inner labia.  At first I was scared that perhaps my partner was too big for me and was causing trauma.  

I have stress induced eczema on my hands.  And come to think of it, this totally makes sense!!.  I have been reading the websites and i thought I had cancer!!! (all the google sites just point to vulva cancer....i was sweating.)  I recently changed soaps 2 months ago.  

Thank you so much everyone.  And for the brilliant dermatologist who recognized CeeTee's problem to start.  I will try Cetaphil cleanser.  It feels so good that I am not alone with this problem.  
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Doc says no oil based lubricants! Body just can not get rid of them. WIih all of this getting back to the basics, I thought "mineral oil," Its in a lot of lotions, if you are putting it all over your skin why not. Well Doc says "no." The rip is still there, but I have another appt. for those who got a biopsy, what is that like? How can they tell if it is herpies (herpes) or skin irritations and how deep? Does it take long to heal? Stitches? Also I got a great idea about sitting in the sun relaxing for 10-15 every other day. I swear that was helping...Also I think it might be getting worse when I eat a sweet, (maybe sugar feeds the yeast?) Do we think that this is yeast or a skin sensitivity? What are the meds the doc are giving out for. Yeast? Bacterial? or mainly steriod? Steriod doesn't work for long and so it isn't just a sore that needs a little help healing. It erupt from the inside. I can feel it before it gets worse sometimes. Can't be both soap issue and yeast, right, is yeast bothered by the wrong soap?
-K
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Im going on 13 years of issues with vulvar pain it has gotten less painful over the years yet flares up bad from time to time.Just a few things for all of you... try to exercise the pelvic muscles talk to a trainer or research various moves to strengthen. Use sulfate free cleansers Cetaphil is NO GOOD!!! I dont care what doctors say the ingredients are bad!! Go to Whole Foods and pick up these products.. California Baby body wash/shampoo unscented and Aloe Life Personal Gel Lubricant. They both are GREAT!!! Also if your health permits do a cleanse read the book CLEAN and or various detox cleansing books its eye opening! Our bodies are toxic and we wonder why we are in chronic pain. Yeast(candidia),parasites etc..we can control this!!! Good Luck
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I have had the same fissure sympotms as most of you described above.  After many freak outs and thinking it might be herpes (negative) I had a biopsy done.  Turns out it is Lichen Sclerosis.  I have been perscribed a steroid cream and I'm still playing around with different soaps.  I'm not as consistent as I should be ...and the symptom is still consistent- go figure.

I hope this helps!
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Hi just to let you know what REALLY worked for me.  I had a huge dose of antibiotics followed by thrush and a flare up of candidasis and this constant splitting all at the same time.  I was at my wits end.  I had a salt sitz bath every time the itching started, used lavender oil and witch hazel to control the pain but the MOST IMPORTANT thing that healed everything up was a really high quality VITAMIN C.  Cleared up the split and prevented any more from occurring almost immediately.  Also use topically and by mouth Evening Primrose Oil.  
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Wow, I am so glad I found this forum!!  I have been dealing with the same problem for months (so sorry for those of you who have had this for YEARS!!).  
First, let me say that I am an organic soapmaker so I love soap!  However, I've used a Feminine Wash for about 20 years and never soap because soap has always caused irritation down there.  After making soap for a while, I thought I would give it a try thinking it should be OK since it was all organic ingredients and no chemicals, sulfates, or parabens, etc... WRONG!  This is when the problem began.  I had severe itching, burning, redness, discharge, and eventually the splitting/fissures.  Because I have many essential oils and homeopathic remedies available, I tried several different things.  Nothing seems to work.  I outruled STDs or other major causes because I've been with my husband for 24 years.  
Thinking of when this started (as I experimented with reg soap), after reading all of the posts on here, and having tried everything else including several homepathic remedies for the various forms of vaginitis, I'm really thinking it's a Dermalogical issue and an imbalance of diet/vitamins.  So I'm going to try the high doses of Vitamin C and will let you know how it goes.  
Thanks to everyone who posted because it really confirmed my belief:  Most doctors are a waste of time and only want to prescribe drugs - that's what they are taught to do, not to find and eliminate the CAUSE.  Save your money and go to a Naturopathic doctor who specializes in getting your whole body healthy without drugs or chemicals.  Most insurance companies pay for a Naturopathic care-mine does (Blue Cross).  
Will keep you posted!
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I have had similar symptoms since August. No yeast or bacterial infection. At one point Crisco application twice a day helped with the reddness and burning, but right at that point the third dr. prescribed a steroid that he said works, so I tried it for two days. Now my symptoms are through the roof, hard to sit, walk etc =/. I wish I had stuck to the crisco. I now have clitoris redness that wasn't there before and I have no idea what to try next. I do believe mine was triggered by dove soap, causing irritant dermatitis. I also had a baby in Sept. so the hormones probably played a part. I will post if I ever find something to fix this. Going to try Vitamin C. (crossing fingers) Glad I'm not alone. This is enough to make a person crazy!!!! JJB
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I have this as well. I went to the gyno, and she said it was caused by low estrogen levels and prescribed an estrogen cream to be applied directly to the fissure. (It's a cream for menopausal women who have vaginal dryness.) Five days later, I'm not convinced she was right. Symptoms haven't much improved.
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Wow!  I've been dealing with this exact issue for a couple of years.  My GP said low estrogen too, but turns out she was wrong.  I finally talked to my gyno about it and he said maybe lichen sclerosis or herpes, but none of the herpes symptoms fit.  I've look at numerous pictures of both herpes and sclerosis, and it definitely does not look like herpes.  The problem with the sclerosis pictures is they are mainly of post menopausal women who have suffered for a long time.  Know of anyone pre-menopausal suffering?  I guess I really need to get that biopsy done.  
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I have had a problem similar to above for over a year now.  Itch, pain, redness, lesions and mainly on one side.  Bizarrely I have also had the same sensation up my nose, in my ears and down the back of my throat. I have seen many many doctors, two dermatologists, sexual health professionals, an immunologist, an ear nose and throat specialist etc etc... I have had every diagnosis under the sun from allergy (patch tested- there is nothing), to possibel STIs (negative), to sebaceous cysts (so why the continuous itching etc when the lesions are not there), to acid vagina (this must be the weirdest), to stress, to vulvodynia (this is where doctors go when thye don't know what to say next- ie: random pain syndrome).  Vulvodynia was the most depressing as the answer always was its a confused nerve signal, we don't know what to do about it.  To which I would say so why the rash- no answer.  I have even been sent out of the doctors rooms to counselling to help me deal with the annoyance of having to live with the condition.  This was just frustrating, I don't want counselling I want to sort this out.  I have been tested for every STI there is about five times each- negative.  I'm been tested for semen allergy.  I've had biopsies and been checked for cancer.  I've used every kind of steriod available, tried salt baths, the acid vagina ladies even had me testing my ph levels and squirting baking soda up there every night- until that didn't work and I was sent to the counsellor- um thanks.  I've been wearing cotton bloomers and using unscented soap and loo paper and detergent for a year now.  At my worst I had to take days off work and sit with my legs apart with no undies on for a day.  There is actually no one left in the field of conventional medicine left to talk to.  I have booked myself in for my first session with a naturopath beginning of March- so we shall see!

Reading these posts is like holding up a mirror and makes me feel strangely a bit better.  The medical profession really are not on top of this issue.
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I was originally diagnosed with herpes months ago and after having gotten a second blood test and finding out that it had been a false positive, I have been searching for an answer to my chronic problems which include severe burning and intense itching, swelling, cracks, and tenderness.  Reading about your situation makes me feel so much more understood.  My gynecologist just keeps patting me on the back and saying, "It's probably just yeast, here's a Diflucan prescription and always wear Granny underwear!" - I went on a yeast-free diet, took Diflucan and have felt no relief.

A dermatologist took a look and said he just sees irritation.  He gave me some Aquaphor and Balneol (both over-the-counter) and still no relief.  In fact the Aquaphor caused a yeast infection--it's the consistency of Vaseline, which is not the best thing to apply in the vaginal area.

I'm so frustrated and anxious and miserable.  I don't imagine that even if I start dating again I'll be able to have sex at all.  Nobody has been able to diagnose me with anything - all my STD tests came back negative and I also don't have a bacterial or yeast infection, according to my swab tests.  

After having done my own research, the closest thing I can come up with is Lichen Simplex, which is basically just eczema, and I'm following the recommendations for this but still unbearably itchy.
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I too am much relieved that I am not the only one who has these symptoms.  Mine started about 3 years ago with just a couple of fissures.  I had just begun getting waxed "down there" and thought it was irritation from the wax or the ripping of the wax off.  The fissures persisted with itching and irritation.  I finally went to the gyn who diagnosed me with herpes even though the culture she performed was negative.  I have since been taking a daily Valtrex to help reduce viral shedding, even though I am not convinced I actually have herpes.  I have never had any ulcerations in my genital area.  Anyway, my symptoms have gotten worse over the past 8 months.  I've considered the possibility of allergic reactions to various product like soaps, detergents, spermicides, lubricants, latex, etc.  Nothing seems to be the culprit.  I have noticed that the symptoms become more severe about 10 days before I begin my period.  This makes me believe that it may indeed be hormone related.  I too have been treated for yeast and BV to no avail.  I have self-medicated with Vagisil, hydrocortisone cream, and eucerin cream.  The hydrocortisone seems to have the most benefit for me.  My research on the internet has also led me to believe that it may be lichen sclerosus.  I am happy to find that others believe the same thing about themselves.  I tried to make an appt the other day and was told there were no appts available for the rest of the month and to call back on Friday when June's calendar would be open.  Nice! Anyway, thanks to all of you who have shared your stories and what has helped for you.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I am so glad I have found this.

I have been experiencing these symptoms for about 2 months. First treated like a yeast infection. Then the fissures started happening more often until I couldn't have sex without getting them. Am waiting to see a proper doctor in a few days, but the walk in clinic doc just took swabs for STI (negative) and left before I could ask her my barrage of questions.

In the meantime I will be trying some of the suggestions here to relieve the general tenderness, rawness.

I am truly convinced it is some sort of lichen, from the photos and symptoms I have seen, and I wonder if this has to do with changing brand of birth control pills twice in the last year? Thank you ladies for your advice.

Daffodil
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I've shared your troubles - ten years of misdiagnosis and being told I'm a hypochondriac who should stop wasting people's time. I will say however that despite how bleak it may seem, a loving partner can help you have sex, even on an irregular basis when the flare-ups have died down some. Good luck.
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BRILLIANT! This just saved me a whole lot of trouble, time and pain. I tried some cleansing wipes yesterday and today. Things are improving and I can't wait for it to just go away completely :) thankyouthankyouthankyou!
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Wow, I feel so relieved, just to read some of your stories and how you cope has given me a sense of relief. I've never known anyone suffering with this, so I thought it must only be me. This only started with me a couple of months ago, I thought it was a stress escma as I have been under a huge amount of stress for some while now, not being able to afford to go to the Dr. tried all kinds of creams and potions, but the only thing I found that worked was Balmex for babies, admittedly, it does only clear it up for a while, then comes back. I too did use Dove, although I haven't used any soap for some while now just warm water and my own wash cloth and my own small towel.

I'm going to try some of the things you've suggested and see if I can get this gone, it's more than a nuisance, I want to get on with my life.

I love that you've shared your stories and that people like me can feel not so alone - Thank You       'backatcha'
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I am posting this same e-mail on all of my "watched posts," Because my problem is solved and I want to "pay it forward" one last time before I remove my name from this forum.

There seems to be more than one thing happening. I am writing to those women who: have a reoccurring rip-type fissures on the inside of the labia, between the labia and clitoris, along the natural fold. (Mine was always in the same spot. -Note my earlier posts.) You probably have sensitive skin, you are probably high-stress, you may be more "moist" than you think is "typical." You are in relatively good health-maybe you workout. You have at times thought it was everything from soap to rough sex to a "big" boyfriend. You have ruled out everything, one at a time including Herpies (herpes) and other VD's with a test from Dr. It may be worse with hormonal changes, (monthly) or cyclically reoccurring or just always there to some degree. I had this same condition. "Chronic Whatever-itis" What ever they call it, it means your skin is inflamed. They are naming the symptoms, not the cause/problem.

I went to a Dr. He prescribed a topical steroid and a antibiotic. I also had a infection, which is common when things are out of balance down there. (yeast infections also can be commonly be present). I took the meds, it got better for a week, then came right back and I didn't return to Dr. for another year-just lived with it. This was the second Dr. I went to over the years for it. I had it 2001-2003, then all of 2008-2010. (You can wait and wait and live frustrated, (like I did), or go back as soon as the symptoms return and get your life back! Be assertive! I asked a lot of questions, gave him a ton of data on all that had "ruled out", that I was a serial monogamist that always used protection with my faithful boyfriends... (Frankly, I think he was bored with all of the talk, b/c they are trained to treat the symptoms with the mildest they think will work.) When I returned, He apologized that he didn't treat it more aggressively, the first time. By then I was crying and defeated thinking I would just have it forever. As he explained paired with my research and my first-hand account, this is what happened: At some time there was a trauma to the area, a scratch, rough touch, or yeast infection that went haywire. The body’s defenses are jumping on that area because it had an issue with that area already. My vaginal balance was way off. When the ph changes, and allows more bacteria/yeast to grow, (naturally through the month), that change/moisture irritated the area, increased discharge or sweat from working out or sitting too long, (little oven) irritated the area, my changing soaps and detergents 1,000 different times trying to solve the issue paired with extra wiping, washing and attention to the area irritated it and, it just never got to totally heal. All of the junk I put on it may have made it worse and the worrying didn't help a bit. He prescribed a "Z-pack" Which is Zithromax 250MG/Generic=Azithromycin=4 pills. He prescribed Flagyl 500MG=Metronidazole=14 pills. He prescribed Clobetasol .05% cream=a topical steroid, which I was going to use if I needed it after the antibiotics, but I didn't (maybe I used it for 2-3 days) - I was worried about the steroid, b/c of the fact that it thins the skin and it seemed counter - production intuitively to me). Anyhow the Antibiotics worked great! My body was able to heal itself after the Antibiotic Napalm Bomb. I have discolored skin from the years of trying to healing, but that too is lightening up and I have ZERO pain. It made me think of the "hard reset" on my computer. You know it's not great to do, but sometimes it must be done when nothing else is working. Also, separately and unsolicited -after seeing what I was prescribed, the Pharmacist volunteered that he had only seen this prescribed this way a couple of other time, but that it was quite effective for aggressively solving issues. By the way, he also said, "Do NOT drink alcohol with the one! Like no ‘wine sauce’ at dinner, no 'just a sip of wine.' No mouthwash- It contains alcohol- unless you want to be violently sick.

I wish you all luck in getting your issue taken care of.

Thank to everyone for all of your posts!
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm so relieved to find that I'm not alone with this. I've been experiencing this problem for most of my adult life and lived in dread for a long time that is was Herpes. Come to find out that it's not Herpes, nor is it a bacterial or other viral infection. I get just one small fissure, in a natural crease, between the inner and outer lips of the vulva. It's colorless, blends in with the rest of the skin, and is almost invisible unless you know exactly where to look. It almost looks like a small paper cut. For something so small, it packs a BIG punch, for at times the intense itching and pain from it can be all-consuming.

I have found that using DESITIN ointment relieves the pain/itching almost immediately. After a couple of days the fissure is healed. Just wanted to suggest it to anyone who may not have health coverage and cannot afford expensive meds.

Good luck!
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I have been dealing with this issue for five years now after the birth of my first of three children.  

One thing that helped me is the application of raw untreated honey to the area.  I leave it on for five minutes and then wash it off in the shower.  It must be RAW (or unheated / untreated) honey as this maintains it's antibiotic properties.  Immediate relief, and it seems to clear up the skin fissure really fast.  The skin seems a lot better as well, not so sensitive.

I do not use soap on the area anymore, and now only use a water based dermatologically tested lubricant.  

Hope that this helps.
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I am so glad I found this website! I have been having the fissures/small cut(s) at the top of my vagina, right above the clitoral hood, and the pain and itching for about 8 months. They first appeared when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. When the symptoms first happened, I was told by my doctor that I had a really bad yeast infection and after taking antibiotics, it got better but only for about 2 weeks. When it returned, I went back to the doctor who then did a culture for Herpes which came back negative. He prescribed a cream called Premarin or something like that, it is an estrogen cream, which was expensive and in my opinion did not help at all! So I called the doctor to make another appointment but was told I had to talk to the nurse manager first who, instead of making me an appt, told me the doctor was just going to call in another prescription for me. By this time, I was completely FED UP because I felt like he wasn't listening to me at all. I went to see a new doctor today who DID NOT do a culture but she said based on her experience, she thinks it is genital herpes and keep in my mind, this is WITHOUT a blood test and WITHOUT  a culture. I am truly shocked that a doctor will tell someone they have genital herpes without even doing one test!!! Has anyone else experied this? So now I have absolutely no idea what to think. I am completely terrified that I have herpes. Tomorrow I am going to see my old OBGYN who I saw during my first pregnancy and I am hoping that she can give me some answers. When I was on the phone with the nurse at my old OBGYN's office, she told me it was insane for a doctor to diagnose herpes without doing any actual testing so I am still hoping and praying that it is not herpes. But I guess if it is, I will at the very least finally have an answer and hopefully be able to get it under control!

Thanks for all the posts!
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Oh my god I thought I was the only person in the world with this problem!! So glad ive found this website, But so sorry to u all who are suffering like me :(. A couple of weeks ago I started getting horrible symtoms (symptoms) e.g pain during sex, sore swollen vagina, smelly discharge. AND THEN these weird cuts either side of my clitoris which are soooo painful I can hardly wash down there let alone touch it! I kept putting off going to the doctors untill these cuts but this was the last straw i was in soo much pain.so last week I went to the docs and had a swab done (which killed me!) the results came back that I had bv (bacterial vaginosis) im on anti biotics now, does anyone know if these cuts are because of my infection?? and will they go away after my course of tablets ? I hope so :(. Louise x
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello, I jus wanted to respond.  I am 48 years old, and have those exact symptons.  I first noticed it 5 years ago.  I actually went to my gyno when I had a fissure exposed.  Looks like small cracks that bleed in the folds of the labia.  Some redness and itching too in the anal region.  Well she ruled out herpes...Did a culture on the actual fissure and did not know why I had it.  I get it occassionally.  Maybe once a year or so.  I do not take any medications or supplements of any kind.  I eat a well balanced diet and am not over weight.  I feel I may be in the beginning of the pre-menopause stages, do not experience any vaginal dryness and menstruate every 28 days.  I keep a very close watch of my body and I have found that I mostly expereince this when I have more stress in my life at the time.  I know this may not make much sense, but as a avid health conscious person, I do believe stress is the culprit of many of our physical ailments.  Hope this helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi

I may be a bit late in entering this thread but I had to comment. I've been fissure free for two years now after suffering from them all the way through my relationship and then marriage to my now ex husband - 17 years in total. I'm 45 years old

I remember that I started getting them just after we started dating and sleeping together as my doctor (who didn't remain my doctor for long afterwards) asked me if my new boyfriend had long fingernails!!!

Not a day went by without one as far as I recollect although I'm probably imagining that - pretty much seems like that though on reflection.

I tried all sorts of things and went for all sorts of investigations but it's only now that the revelation has hit me. I only had them when i was sexually active with one person ie my Husband and had none before him and now after him I don't have one!

I had read somewhere several years ago that you can be allergic to your partner's semen and I kind of poo pooed it at the time. It seemed ridiculous....

Now I can take that as the only answer as I didn't have them before him and don't have them now, after hime. NOT AT ALL. NOT ONE.

I have had a few sexual partners since my split two years ago and haven't suffered at all. NOT EVER.

This won't be much comfort to anyone in a loving relationship where the idea of leaving your partner or refraining from sex is simply not an option but I thought I'd just put it out there.

I hope you find a solution to the horrible affliction and I wish you well
xxx
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi

Re vulval vulvar fissures

I may be a bit late in entering this thread but I had to comment. I've been fissure free for two years now after suffering from them all the way through my relationship and then marriage to my now ex husband - 17 years in total. I'm 45 years old

I suffered from long paper cuts all along the outside of my clitoris where the middle bit joins the outer large lips - ie in the fold of skin there

I remember that I started getting them just after we started dating and sleeping together as my doctor (who didn't remain my doctor for long afterwards) asked me if my new boyfriend had long fingernails!!!

Not a day went by without one as far as I recollect although I'm probably imagining that - pretty much seems like that though on reflection.

I tried all sorts of things and went for all sorts of investigations but it's only now that the revelation has hit me. I only had them when i was sexually active with one person ie my Husband and had none before him and now after him I don't have one!

I had read somewhere several years ago that you can be allergic to your partner's semen and I kind of poo pooed it at the time. It seemed ridiculous....

Now I can take that as the only answer as I didn't have them before him and don't have them now, after hime. NOT AT ALL. NOT ONE.

I have had a few sexual partners since my split two years ago and haven't suffered at all. NOT EVER.

This won't be much comfort to anyone in a loving relationship where the idea of leaving your partner or refraining from sex is simply not an option but I thought I'd just put it out there.

I hope you find a solution to the horrible affliction and I wish you well
xxx
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Avatar_f_tn
I am so glad I found this thread. While I wouldn't wish this itch, the cuts and uncomfortableness on anyone, it is good to know I am not alone.  I am having a vulva biopsy done next month and hopefully will get some answers.  

Today is a bad day and I am I am at my wits end.  I have two different prescription drug salves but no relief so far, it just keeps coming back.  The frustrating part is my ob/gyn said the skin was not looking inflammed etc.  But to me it seems so raw.  She has been treating it as Lichen Sclerosis.  
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Avatar_m_tn
For about six years I have had the symptoms many describe on here - the regular tears and discomfort during sex /using a tampon being the most prominent, with problems both external and internal.

Four or so years ago my GP suggested using anti depressants which both me and my husband were unhappy about doing. I was referred to a gynae who on examination said he couldn't see anything and advised again anti depressants to help me relax before sex. I was also given a plastic tube to, well, practice sex with.

My general history is of thrush perhaps four or five times in my adult life, and sadly a bad bout of BV, chlamydia and urine infection from unprotected sex, before I met my husband; which could make my vagina generally vulnerable.

However, I've been with my husband for 10 years and so for the first four our sex life and my vagina were absolutely fine!

I happened to have a facial operation scheduled at the beginning of 2009 and with that going on and a house build, I put my problems aside but sadly the sex life dwindled to just a handful of times a year. I'm lucky to have a very understanding husband!

In Britain we have a programme called Embarrasing Bodies which features candid examinations of ailments and conditions and just at the end of last year they featured a woman with similar symptoms. They happened to film her visiting a clinic fairly local to me but before I visited them, I have done further research and found many mentions of applying evening primrose oil inside the vagina (that's always been my main problem, with 'external' vulval problems coming and going.

So far, I feel like sex has become a little less painful. However, it's still uncomfortable to sit on chairs, ride a bike etc., so I will persevere for now. I also took it orally before my last period and it really helped.

On the plus side I have not had fissures for about five months now. I use a natural cleaning brand in the shower, and try my best not to irritate the vagine with excessive wiping after using the toilet. I was intrigued about the comment about whether surgery food plays any part; I will certainly monitor my intake to see if there's a pattern. The fissures I could never understand as I could never remember 'tearing' the skin.

Anyway, it's been heartening to know I'm not alone and I hope we lull find a solution xx

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Avatar_m_tn
check your vitamin B2.. do you have dry lips too?  you may have a lack of riboflavin  I am checking mine now  I have the same symptomes.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi
I would agree that it is not possible to Diagnose a herpes infection without a test that confirms it. That said I am positive for the herpes virus and have over 20 years experience with this condition. I am in the past few years experiencing the same issue as you describe with fissures/splits in my labial folds. The two conditions are separate and distinct! Herpes produces lesions or small blisters not cracks and the sensations are quite different.
I encourage you to keep looking for an answer to your problem.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had similar problems as a lot of you. It started out as redness and slight itching. There was a small thin red line right in the middle of the skin above the clitoral hood. When I touched it, it stung like a paper cut but the skin wasn't broken. I put vaseline on it, thinking maybe it was an irritation from dryness and from intercourse. The vaseline helped but I didn't want to have to keep putting vaseline on every day, so I thought I would try a cream from the drug store for vaginal itching. MADE IT WORSE! After about a week of using the cream, the skin actually split open. No bleeding, but it still stings and I don't want it to get worse. I have an appointment to see my gyno in a couple of weeks, but am not too hopeful after hearing the rest of you say you haven't received much help in that direction. I do have something called endometriosis, but I've had it under control for a few years. It can cause a hormonal imbalance though, especially for women like me who treat it by taking birth control consistently without stopping for a period (doctor recommended).  When the skin actually split open, I put vaseline on it again to moisturize and protect it, and the next morning it looked so much better. This is leading me to believe that it is possibly a dermatologic skin problem. Maybe a dryness issue which gets further irritated when it rubs against underwear and clothing... so the vaseline in that case would help protect the area and keep it from becoming irritated. I will keep using the vaseline for now if that is what's going to help, but I'd love to find a better solution that doesn't require me to carry a thing of vaseline with me everywhere. I already am good about taking daily vitamins, but maybe I'll add in some extra Vitamin C and see if that helps. I'm interested in trying the Cetaphil solution some of you have found as well. I was worried it was something worse, like Herpes, but I've only been with one partner and the symptoms showed up long after we started dating, so I don't think that's the problem. Plus, I have no other symptoms. Just the fissure and occasional redness and itching. No weird or foul smelling discharge. I'm hoping my gyno will have an answer, but if not. I'm just going to keep using the vaseline until I see results from some other method.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have had the splitting problem for several years now.  Burns like heck when I go to the bathroom.....heals in a day or two but splits every time I have sex.  I have gone long periods of time with no sex because the burning splits hurt that bad.  Fortunately husband is supportive.  He has seen the split and is understanding, thank God.  But still, it's no way to live.  I have found that Organic Coconut oil works wonders.  It is a great lubricant for sexual activity.  I apply it every time I go to the bathroom.....all day long.....too.  No soap used for washing.  I use the Cetaphil moisturizing wash only.  no rough wash cloths or towel drying.  Hope this helps others.....
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Avatar_f_tn
haven't been on any hormonal birth control in about 12 years and my symptoms started about 2 months ago. They come and go, negative to STD's. one fissure heals and another one appears ... very frustrating. Currently trying probiotics for women  ( from a natural medicine/ health store). Also started supplementing with silicea tabs ( supposed to help with skin conditions) and a natural remedy for yeast infections... So far a week into it, not much has changed and it is worse since my period started.
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