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Vaginal Folliculitis - How To Get Rid of Vaginal Folliculitis, Diagnosis, and Prevention

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The presence of bumps in the genital region can make you feel embarrassed. Read the below article to avoid such uneasiness.

Written by

Dr. Preetha. J

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Nitika Nijhara

Published At March 30, 2022
Reviewed AtApril 13, 2024

What Is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicles due to infection, occurring anywhere on the skin. It will appear as a small red tender bump, sometimes with a dot of pus surrounding a hair. When the hair follicles get damaged, it is easy for the microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses to enter and cause infection. Folliculitis is common in areas of the body where the hair is rough and frequently shaved. The skin which does not have hair will not have hair follicles. Folliculitis can be somewhat similar to acne, but the only difference is the presence of a hair follicle in the middle of the folliculitis bump. The organisms that can cause folliculitis are Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida species.

What Is Vaginal Folliculitis?

The inflammation of the hair follicles in the vagina due to infection is called vaginal folliculitis. It is also called genital folliculitis. Vaginal folliculitis may be slightly painful, but it can be easily prevented and treated at home. An infected follicle, when not taken good care can develop into a genital abscess which may need medical attention.

When Do You Get Vaginal Folliculitis?

The damage of the hair follicle will cause folliculitis. It can occur due to the following factors:

  • Shaving, plucking, or waxing.

  • Overweight.

  • Wearing tight clothing or equipment.

  • Hot tub (improperly chlorinated).

  • Medication applied to the skin, like coal tar.

  • Oral medication.

  • Touching or rubbing your skin frequently.

  • Vaginal secretions that contain inflammatory agents.

When the follicles get blocked by sweat and dead skin cells, it can result in ingrown hair and lead to infection. Since the skin around the vagina is thinner and more sensitive, the risk of bacterial infection from razors or other hair removal products is higher. Tight clothing and sweat from walking and exercise can cause excess friction and create an ideal environment for folliculitis. When tight clothing is worn, the follicles can be blocked with sweat and oils that result in folliculitis. Hot tub folliculitis can occur when a person uses hot tubs and heated pools where the chlorine and pH levels are not well balanced.

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What Can the Patient Expect While Having Vaginal Folliculitis?

Patients with vaginal folliculitis can have:

  • Inflamed skin.

  • Small red bumps.

  • Pain and tenderness.

  • Itching.

  • Irritation.

  • Burning.

  • Pus-filled sores.

  • Inflamed hair follicles.

  • White-headed pimples.

  • Crusty sores.

How to Diagnose Vaginal Folliculitis?

If you notice a bump or acne when it is painful or infected or cannot be treated by home remedies, it is better to see a dermatologist and make sure you have folliculitis.

When to Consult a Dermatologist for Folliculitis?

A dermatologist will give you tips to help clear it. Some may need medication, like an antibiotic, to remove the folliculitis. Suppose, if the folliculitis is due to shaving, you can consult the dermatologist to get the medication to reduce irritation during shaving.

How to Get Rid of Vaginal Folliculitis?

The folliculitis is treated with medications or lasers. Even after treatment, the infection may recur. Be cautious while treating folliculitis in the vaginal region to prevent the transformation of the infection and scarring.

1. Warm Compress:

Warm compresses can be used to treat mild cases involving just a few infected hair follicles. It will allow the skin to heal. Avoid shaving, plucking, or waxing treatments for 30 days if they are the cause of genital folliculitis.

2. Medications for Genital Folliculitis:

a) Folliculitis Due to Bacteria - Creams or pills can be used to control infection. The health care provider may prescribe topical antibiotic creams for mild cases and oral antibiotics for severe or recurrent infection.

b) Folliculitis Due to Fungus - Folliculitis caused due to fungal infection will be treated with antifungal creams, shampoos, or pills. Antibiotics will not help treat fungal infections.

3. Minor Surgery:

The folliculitis, which turns into a large boil or carbuncle, will be treated by the health care provider. They will make a small incision to drain the pus which relieves pain and aids in quick recovery.

4. Laser Hair Removal:

Laser hair removal techniques permanently remove the hair follicles in the treated area. In laser techniques, the light energy is converted into heat, which will damage hair follicles that produce hairs. This will inhibit or delay future hair growth. But this too will cause adverse effects, like blistering and scarring.

In Which Method Should We Apply Medication to Prevent Folliculitis?

A few people may develop folliculitis due to applying medication like coal tar to their skin. Apply the medication in the following way to avoid folliculitis:

  • Apply it in the same direction as the hair grows.

  • Avoid covering using a bandage or clothing to the area treated with medication.

How to Prevent Vaginal Folliculitis?

To avoid vaginal folliculitis, follow the instructions below:

1. Wear Loose Clothing:

During the humid climate, it is best to wear clothes that are breathable as wearing tight clothing leads to suffocation on the skin. This may also affect the hair follicles. Constant rubbing of the skin can also serve as a causative factor. Wearing tight clothing during workouts may flare up, therefore change your clothes immediately after working out and take a shower.

2. Use Clean Hot Tubs:

Avoid hot tubs or whirlpools if you feel that the acid and chlorine levels are not adequately controlled. Suppose you have a hot tub; clean it and add chlorine regularly. This can help you avoid getting hot tub folliculitis.

3. Wash Your Bathing Suit:

After each use, wash your bathing suit and let it dry. This can help to reduce the exposure to bacteria that can cause folliculitis.

4. Shave With Care:

Shaving is a common cause of folliculitis. Avoid shaving, if possible, consider hair-removing products (depilatories) or other hair removal methods. But they too, may sometimes irritate the skin. If you want to shave, then follow the below instructions to avoid razor bumps:

  • Wash the skin with warm water and antibacterial soap before shaving.

  • Applying a good amount of shaving lotion or soap before shaving.

  • Shave less frequently.

  • Use a washcloth or a cleansing pad gently in a circular motion to raise embedded hairs before shaving.

  • Use a sharp blade and rinse it regularly with warm water after each stroke.

  • Shave in the direction in which the hair grows.

  • Avoid using an electric razor or guarded blade too close to the hair follicles and do not stretch the skin. Shaving kits are available for purchase over-the-counter at pharmacies.

  • Apply moisturizing lotion aftershave.

  • Avoid sharing razors, towels, and washcloths.

Conclusion:

Vaginal folliculitis may not be a severe condition, but the discomfort you experience from it may spoil your day. Therefore, it is advisable to take proper care of the more sensitive areas of the body to avoid such circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Is the Treatment for Folliculitis in the Pubic Area?

The inflammation of hair follicles in the vagina caused by infection is known as vaginal folliculitis. It is treated as follows:
- Medications - Antibiotic cream or lotion are suggested in case of bacterial infection. Antifungal drugs or creams are provided to treat fungal infections.
- Warm compress - It is done to relieve the discomfort and shaving or plucking of hair in the genitals is avoided.
- Surgical treatment - Laser therapy to remove the vaginal hair helps control such infection. Large boils caused by severe folliculitis are incised to drain the pus and relieve symptoms.

2.

Is Folliculitis a Sexually Transmitted Disease?

Folliculitis is a common skin condition caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. The individual usually acquires it by shaving or plucking body hair, having hot tub baths, wearing tight clothes, etc. It is not a sexually transmitted disease but may look similar to herpes. Folliculitis does not spread from one person to another, but the infectious agent passes through shared towels, razors, etc. The dermatologist will help in differentiating folliculitis from other sexually transmitted diseases.

3.

What Are the Characteristic Features of Folliculitis?

The hair follicles in the skin get inflamed and infected by bacteria or fungus to cause folliculitis. It can be mild or severe and usually resolves with warm compresses. The folliculitis occurs on any part of the skin and people with dark and coarse hairs, acne or improper shaving methods have an increased risk. The characteristic features are as follows:
- Itching and burning sensation.
- Swollen bumps.
- A cluster of red mass.
- White-head pimples.
- Blisters filled with pus, that breaks and gets crusted.
- Inflamed skin.

4.

What Can Be Done to Treat Folliculitis Fast?

The folliculitis causes an unesthetic appearance of skin with red bumps and itching and a burning sensation. The following methods are done to get relief and to treat folliculitis quickly.
- Using over-the-counter antibiotic creams or lotions.
- Avoid shaving or plucking the hair.
- Give moist or warm compress using a cloth dipped in a saltwater solution.
- Use a clean soap and towel to wash the area.
- Avoid sharing towels or razors.
- Try applying soothing lotions that are available over-the-counter.

5.

Does Yeast Infection Cause Folliculitis?

Folliculitis mostly occurs due to bacterial or fungal infections. It is a common skin condition and is classified as superficial and deep folliculitis. The superficial inflammation of hair follicles caused by a yeast infection is referred to as Pityrosporum folliculitis. Red itchy bumps are usually formed on the chest, face, upper arm, and neck. The dermatologist provides you with oral antifungal medication or antifungal creams and shampoos to treat such folliculitis caused by yeast infection.

6.

Do Folliculitis Recur?

The infection of hair follicles on the skin causes itchy and crusty sores. It is usually caused by Staphylococcus bacteria and resolves within weeks with oral antibiotic treatment. However, in a few individuals, it is chronic and keeps recurring. In such cases, avoid shaving or plucking hair to prevent its recurrence or to heal it quickly. The dermatologist also suggests antibiotics like Tetracycline for four to six weeks along with antiseptic lotions or gels. Avoid wearing tight clothes and having hot tub baths as it increases the risk of recurrence.

7.

What Is the Complication of Folliculitis?

The itching and burning sensation caused by folliculitis usually resolve with antibiotic and antifungal treatment. If it is severe and left untreated for a long time, it leads to the following:
- The skin is damaged permanently with scars and pigmented spots.
- Furunculosis - A deep skin infection that causes pus-filled bumps.
- Spread of infection to other areas of skin.
- Hair follicles are damaged.
- Permanent hair loss.

8.

What Foods to Avoid if You Have Folliculitis?

The factors like bacteria, fungus, regular hot tubs, and shaving of hair increase the risk for folliculitis. It is found that foods rich in fats or a high-fat diet exacerbate neutrophilic folliculitis. It causes acne, hidradenitis suppurativa (painful lumps under the skin), and elevated bumps on the skin. The avoidance of fat-rich foods may improve the symptoms. The folliculitis also responds well to antibiotic and antifungal treatment but may recur.

9.

How Long Does Folliculitis Last Without Treatment?

The bacterial or fungal infection mostly causes inflammation of hair follicles, which is referred to as folliculitis. It generally resolves within seven to ten days. Following home remedies like warm compresses, over-the-counter lotions, and creams heal the folliculitis quickly. However, in some cases, the folliculitis looks severe. It is better to consult a dermatologist for chronic and recurring folliculitis for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

10.

What Is the Safe Method for Shaving the Vagina With Folliculitis?

The hair follicles are usually inflamed after shaving. It is better to avoid shaving for about 30 days to prevent its recurrence. The steps to be followed while shaving is listed down:
- The vagina is washed with clean soap and warm water before shaving.
- Use the required amount of shaving lotion or soap.
- Shave the hair along the direction of its growth.
- Clean the shaving blade or razors with warm and clean water after every stroke.
- It is better to use moisturizing lotion after shaving.

11.

How to Cleanse a Vagina Infected With Folliculitis?

The folliculitis of the vagina resolves with proper cleaning and by avoiding shaving.
- Use a clean antibiotic soap and warm water to clean the vagina.
- Avoid frequent shaving.
- Use moisturizing lotion.
- Apply over-the-counter soothing lotions to get relief from itching.
- Warm compresses with the salt water solution also help.
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Dr. Nitika Nijhara
Dr. Nitika Nijhara

Venereology

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