Vulvitis From Soap: Know the Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

By Marsha Harrison

vulvitis from soap

Vulvitis is an inflammation of the skin outside the vagina, which is the vulva. It can be caused by infection, dryness, injury, and allergic reaction. Because the vulva’s skin is often moist and warm, it is more vulnerable to irritation.

For this article, however, I will focus on how a woman can get vulvitis from soap regardless of age.

With that, please note that everything you read here is purely for informational purposes only. You need a doctor to officially diagnose your condition.

About Vulvitis


To be clear, vulvitis itself is not a disease. Rather, John Hopkins Medicine clarifies that it can be a symptom of a wide variety of diseases.

1. Causes

Besides female allergic reaction to soap with fragrance, some women who use products like vaginal deodorants, spray, and powders can experience irritation. The same goes for those who use toilet paper with dyes or perfumes.

Activities like biking and horseback riding can also trigger irritation as the genitals rub on the seat.

On top of the exposure to water in the swimming pools and hot tubs, women can get vulvitis when they wear the same bathing suit for too long.

Without the cotton crotch, the synthetic fabric of the underwear can also irritate the genitals. Not to mention, vulvitis can come from infections that one might get from mites or pubic lice.

2. Symptoms

According to multiple sources like Very Well Health and Cleveland Clinic, the general symptoms include extreme and frequent itching around the vagina.

Furthermore, this irritation can lead to swelling and redness around your labia and vulva. That said, your bottom may also feel more sensitive whenever you need to wipe it with toilet paper. Plus, it causes pain during urination.

You also need to watch out for blisters, small cracks on the skin, as well as scaly patches on the vulva.

For girls who have not reached puberty, soap irritation symptoms normally include itching, pain, and discomfort when passing urine, according to Forest Hills Pediatrics.

Urethritis, however, is another story. As pointed out in this Tufts Medical Center article, it occurs in young boys who may have soap irritation urethra.

How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Vulvitis?

It can be hard to tell apart the symptoms of soap irritation or yeast infection since both of them cause itchiness. Therefore, it is best to get yourself checked by a doctor.

Pedia Clinic says that it can be easier to diagnose young girls who us bubble baths. Fragrant soap irritates the vulva, which is not unusual.

If other symptoms are present, the doctor may perform tests such as urine tests to rule out a bladder infection.

For older women, you will need to inform your doctor of your medical history so he/she can properly diagnose soap vulvitis. He or she will also conduct physical exams and tests, such as urine tests, blood tests, pap tests, and even tests that detect sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

How Do You Treat Soap Irritation?


Fortunately, there are ways to treat vulvitis. Of course, your doctor will prescribe treatment that is more appropriate to the symptoms you exhibit.

In addition, other factors like age. health, and tolerance for specific medicines and procedures will have to be considered.

Still, there are things that you can do alongside your doctor’s treatment plan. For example, you can thoroughly clean your vulva to get rid of any discharge and scaly patches. Just make sure that you do it gently to prevent further irritation.

More importantly, stop using the product that triggered the irritation. Whether it is directly causing vulvitis or not, Web MD shares that it helps you recover earlier without having to deal with another irritation.

Another good piece of advice is to avoid self-diagnosing if you think you have an allergic reaction to soap on the genital area.

Nowadays, we are bombarded with information on the Internet. Using anonymous accounts, people openly share their experiences feeling soap burning vagina and soap in the pee hole burns in forums.

You might assume that their narratives are similar to yours. However, without the experience and knowledge that licensed practitioners have, you run the risk of misinterpreting your symptoms.

Lastly, do not apply over-the-counter creams to the affected area without your doctor’s approval. This might just worsen your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does soap irritation last?

Thankfully, most cases of soap irritation do not pose more serious health risks. Typically, the symptoms will go away after one or two days.

However, your doctor will advise you to return if the symptoms persist or worsen despite treatment and if you notice your vagina itchy and bleeding.

Likewise, if you have specific questions regarding your condition, it is best to ask your doctor directly.

2. How do you prevent vulvitis?

By now, I’m sure you have an idea of what causes vulvitis. As a preventive measure, it is only logical to avoid the source of vaginal irritation from soap.

That said, Medical News Today and Web MD suggest you can take these steps:

  • Step 1: Live a healthy lifestyle. This includes self-care strategies like proper diet, ample sleep, and minimal stress
  • Step 2: Opt for unscented cleaning products to wash your genital area
  • Step 3: Wearing cotton panties and practice good perineal care


Getting vulvitis from soap is a common issue among women and girls. Luckily, this irritation can go away in a day or two when correctly diagnosed and proper treatment is followed.

Still, it is best not to assume that all situations are the same. There is a chance that the irritation or infection is a sign of an underlying condition. Regardless of whether your soap is the culprit, seeing a doctor will help give you peace of mind.

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