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    Vulva Self-Exam
    oudia posted:
    I have been reading that women should do a monthly vulva self-exam. Is there a certain age when women should start examining themselves? If a woman is a virgin is there a need for them to self-exam their vulva?
    Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Hello Oudia and thanks for posting a great question!

    Vaginal Self-Examination is good way to learn your own anatomy as well as look for any changes that might require bringing to the attention of your doctor. This article on one woman's journey with Vulvar Cancer says things to look for are:

    Sores or wartlike bumps that don't heal after four days.
    Skin that is thicker or a different color than the skin around it (tiny yellow dots on the inner labia are an exception; those are most likely just sebaceous glands).
    Dark, irregularly shaped moles or spots.

    Since 40% of vulvar cancers are related to HPV, that means 60% are not. Therefore, it makes sense to me that even if you are a virigin, it's good to get to know your body. Check with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations.

    Maybe others will share their stories and how often they do an exam with you, too.

    Every time I close the door on reality it comes in through the windows. -Jennifer Unlimited-
    smjpain responded:
    I do them and I am not sexually active I am 27 recovering from a LAVH and I also have Vulver lichens Sclorosis so I take a mirror ever week sometimes twice a weeks just because my GYN has told me I need to look for changes it isn't painful or hard to do it is something you need to do to make sure things are okay no matter if your sexually active or not.So when you go to your regular apts. and they ask you can tell them if anything is going on I look for the color of the vulva area and swelling also is it tender to touch the area also look for skin thickness and discharge which is normal to have some but sometimes not, depending on the color the amount and smell. So don't feel it is wrong doing this because it could save your life.
    wellnessmom4 replied to smjpain's response:
    My two cents are that ANY new spot on the vulva should be considered irregular, no matter how regular and benign it may look. I have dozens of moles and age spots on my body, but a perfectly harmless-looking little "mole" excised from my vulva turned out to be a precancerous tumor. Mine was very lightly pigmented,very tiny, perfectly circular, and didn't seem to grow over the course of a couple of years. It looked way more benign than many of the moles I have elsewhere! Now I know tho' that it is not normal to have a mole show up in a place (like the vulva) that never sees the sun. The good news is that dysplasias on the vulva are generally slow to spread, so if you notice something, don't panic. Just have it checked and preferably excised and biopsied. My little spot was excised with very little discomfort and has never returned. You can't even see where it was anymore.
    oudia replied to Byroney_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Thanks for your reply. I guess my other question is if doing a vulva might be important and even life-saving, then why don't gynos suggest or even mention it during the yearly exam? I have been to a couple of gynos and not one of them even had an information brochure about doing a vulva self-exam in their office.
    oudia responded:
    Also how does one do an easy VSE? The way it's described on most websites makes it seem like you need 3 hands (i.e. one to hold the flashlight, one to hold the mirror, and another to spread about the labia).
    Anon_160335 replied to oudia's response:
    I agree!
    wellnessmom4 replied to Anon_160335's response:
    This is an easy one! Go to any drugstore or discount store and buy a lighted, self-standing makeup mirror. I prop mine on the edge of the tub, turn it on, direct it up, and voila! - the exam is quite simple to do with both hands free. This also comes in quite handy when you need to apply creams for various conditions.
    Rhondamay replied to wellnessmom4's response:
    Wellnessmom4, good advice but be sure the lighted makeup mirror is battery powered! If it has a cord and falls in the tub the results could and most probably would be fatal.
    tlkittycat1968 replied to Rhondamay's response:
    That would only be fatal if there was water in the tub and you were standing in it.
    wellnessmom4 replied to tlkittycat1968's response:
    My mirror is battery-powered, but heck, do the exam wherever you want to. The lighting is REALLY good on my front porch. Hmm... lol

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