Conference Coverage

Vulvar disease treatment tips: From lice to lichen sclerosus



LAS VEGAS – Gynecologist Michael S. Baggish, MD, offered tips about diagnosis and treatment of vulvar conditions at the Pelvic Anatomy and Gynecologic Surgery Symposium.

Dr. Michael S. Baggish, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Michael S. Baggish

Pubic lice

Treat with malathion 0.5% lotion (Ovide), permethrin 1%-5% (Nix), or lindane 1% (Kwell). Be aware that the U.S. Library of Medicine cautions that lindane can cause serious side effects, and patients should use it only “if there is some reason you cannot use the other medications or if you have tried the other medications and they have not worked.”

Pruritus (itchy skin)

Eliminate possible contact allergens such as soaps, detergents, and undergarments. Swabs with 2% acetic acid solution can assist with general hygiene. It’s important to address secondary infections, and control of diet and stress may be helpful.

Folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles)

A salt water bath can be helpful. Try 2 cups of “Instant Ocean” – a sea salt product for aquariums – in a shallow bath twice daily.

It can be treated with silver sulfadiazine (Silvadene) cream (three times daily and at bedtime) or clindamycin (Cleocin) cream (three times daily and at bedtime).

Consider a systemic drug after culture results come back if needed.

Lichen sclerosus (a skin inflammation also known as white spot disease)

“I see a lot of lichen sclerosus,” Dr. Baggish said. “Every single practice day, I’m seeing two or three [cases].”

Topical treatments include testosterone cream (which has low efficacy) and topical corticosteroid creams and ointments (the standard treatment).

Other treatments provide better and more consistent results: Etretinate (Tegison), a retinoid that is expensive and can produce serious side effects, and injectable dexamethasone (Decadron), which can stop progression.

Be aware that 10% of patients with this condition may develop squamous cell carcinoma. Monitor for any changes in appearance and biopsy if needed.

Behçet’s disease (a blood vessel inflammation disorder also known as silk road disease)

This rare condition can cause mouth and genital ulcers and uveitis (eye inflammation). For treatment, start 40 mg prednisone for 2-3 days, then 20 mg for 2 days, then 10 mg for 4 days, then stop. Start treatment immediately if there are signs of an oral lesion.

Fox-Fordyce disease (an inflammatory response that blocks sweat ducts and causes intense itching)

Treatment includes estrogen (2.5 mg per day) and tretinoin (Retin-A, apply once daily), usually given together. Suggest that patients try the Instant Ocean salt water treatment in the bath once daily (see details above under folliculitis entry).

Genital warts

Vaporize the warts via laser. “If they look like they’re recurring, I put them on interferon for 3 months because otherwise they just keep recurring,” Dr. Baggish said. “You could put topical treatments on them, but they’ll recur.”

Dr. Baggish, of the University of California, San Francisco, had no relevant financial disclosures. The meeting was jointly provided by Global Academy for Medical Education and the University of Cincinnati. Global Academy and this news organization are owned by the same company.

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