Vulvar Disease pp 277-281 | Cite as

Herpesvirus Infections

  • Sarah Shaffer
  • Colleen K. StockdaleEmail author


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common sexually transmitted infection. An HSV outbreak often manifests as a vesicular eruption on the mucous membranes of the vulva and can extend to keratinized skin. Systemic symptoms may accompany the vesicular eruption. Diagnosis should be made with laboratory testing. Polymerase chain reaction testing is currently preferred for diagnosing genital HSV infection. Oral antiviral medications are used to treat primary and recurrent outbreaks, and care of the vulvar skin should be specifically addressed. Nonjudgmental education and counseling about the disease process are also recommended.

Varicella-zoster virus is a herpesvirus that can cause two distinct diseases: varicella (also known as “chicken pox”) and zoster (commonly called “shingles”). Both cause an eruption of vesicles that erode and crust. Varicella that initially presents on the vulva may manifest in other locations on the body, while zoster outbreaks usually occur in a unilateral dermatomal distribution. Constitutional symptoms are more common with varicella, while prodromal pain and burning precede zoster. Treatment involves pain medications and oral antiviral medications. The major complication of zoster is the development of postherpetic neuralgia.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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