Skip to main content
  • Guideline Summary
  • NGC:006534
  • 2008 May (reaffirmed 2013)

Diagnosis and management of vulvar skin disorders.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Diagnosis and management of vulvar skin disorders. Washington (DC): American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG); 2008 May. 11 p. (ACOG practice bulletin; no. 93).  [90 references]

This is the current release of the guideline.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reaffirmed the currency of this guideline in 2013.

Age Group

UMLS Concepts (what is this?)

SNOMEDCT_US
Allergic reaction to substance (418634005), Allergic reaction to substance (421961002), Application of moisturizer to skin (225130001), Atrophic vulva (248861000), Atrophy (13331008), Biopsy (129314006), Biopsy (86273004), Clobetasol (419129004), Clobetasol (48614001), Contact dermatitis (40275004), Crohn's disease (34000006), Disease due to Papilloma virus (30415006), Disorder of skin (95320005), Disorder of skin AND/OR subcutaneous tissue (80659006), Disorder of vulva (5089007), Estrogen (41598000), Estrogen (61946003), Hydrogen ion concentration (27327002), Immunosuppressive therapy (86553008), Lichen (88996004), Lichen planus (4776004), Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus (25674000), Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus of the vulva (198380007), Lichen sclerosus et atrophicus of the vulva (26348009), Lichenification and lichen simplex chronicus (201020007), Microscopy (117259009), Neurodermatitis (267854005), Operation on female genital organs (12658000), Paget's disease of skin (232336001), Paget's disease of skin (71447003), Paget's disease of vulva (254898001), Steroid (116566001), Testosterone (109033004), Testosterone (43688007), Vaginal pH (251425002)

Major Recommendations

The grades of evidence (I-III) and levels of recommendation (A-C) are defined at the end of the "Major Recommendations" field.

The following recommendation is based on limited or inconsistent scientific evidence (Level B):

  • The recommended treatment for lichen sclerosus is an ultrapotent topical corticosteroid, such as clobetasol propionate.

The following recommendations are based primarily on consensus and expert opinion (Level C):

  • Biopsy of hyperpigmented or exophytic lesions, lesions with changes in vascular patterns, or unresolving lesions is particularly important and should be performed to rule out carcinoma.
  • For patients with biopsy-confirmed Paget disease, further evaluation of the breast, genitourinary tract, and gastrointestinal tract should be undertaken.

Definitions:

Grades of Evidence

I Evidence obtained from at least one properly designed randomized controlled trial.

II-1 Evidence obtained from well-designed controlled trials without randomization.

II-2 Evidence obtained from well-designed cohort or case–control analytic studies, preferably from more than one center or research group.

II-3 Evidence obtained from multiple time series with or without the intervention. Dramatic results in uncontrolled experiments also could be regarded as this type of evidence.

III Opinions of respected authorities, based on clinical experience, descriptive studies, or reports of expert committees.

Levels of Recommendation

Level A — Recommendations are based on good and consistent scientific evidence.

Level B — Recommendations are based on limited or inconsistent scientific evidence.

Level C — Recommendations are based primarily on consensus and expert opinion.

Clinical Algorithm(s)

None provided

Disease/Condition(s)

Vulvar skin disorders, including:

  • Vulvar dermatoses: contact dermatitis, lichen simplex chronicus, lichen sclerosus, lichen planus
  • Vulvar atrophy
  • Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Paget disease
  • Crohn's disease

Guideline Category

Diagnosis

Evaluation

Management

Treatment

Clinical Specialty

Family Practice

Infectious Diseases

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Pediatrics

Intended Users

Physicians

Guideline Objective(s)

  • To aid practitioners in making decisions about appropriate obstetric and gynecologic care
  • To review diagnostic approaches and provide a structured framework for the management of vulvar disorders

Target Population

Women and female children and adolescents with symptoms of vulvar disorders

Interventions and Practices Considered

Evaluation and Diagnosis

  1. Evaluation of signs and symptoms (e.g., vulvar pain, pruritus)
  2. Medical history
  3. Search for common vulvar irritants and allergens
  4. Vulvar biopsy
  5. Additional diagnostic tests (e.g., culture, microscopy, vaginal pH)

Treatment and Management

  1. Topical therapies
    • Estrogen and testosterone creams
    • Topical steroid cream (clobetasol propionate)
    • Nonhormonal vaginal moisturizer
  2. Systemic immunosuppressive therapies
  3. Surgery
  4. Further evaluation of biopsy-confirmed Paget disease

Major Outcomes Considered

  • Symptom relief
  • Sexual function
  • Well-being

Methods Used to Collect/Select the Evidence

Hand-searches of Published Literature (Primary Sources)

Hand-searches of Published Literature (Secondary Sources)

Searches of Electronic Databases

Description of Methods Used to Collect/Select the Evidence

2008 Guideline

The MEDLINE database, the Cochrane Library, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' own internal resources and documents were used to conduct a literature search to locate relevant articles published between January 1985 and August 2007. The search was restricted to articles published in the English language. Priority was given to articles reporting results of original research, although review articles and commentaries also were consulted. Abstracts of research presented at symposia and scientific conferences were not considered adequate for inclusion in this document. Guidelines published by organizations or institutions such as the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists were reviewed, and additional studies were located by reviewing bibliographies of identified articles.

2013 Reaffirmation

The NCBI database was searched from 2008 to 2013. Committee members conducted a literature search with the assistance from the ACOG Resource Center staff who routinely perform the Practice Bulletin literature searches.

Number of Source Documents

Not stated

Methods Used to Assess the Quality and Strength of the Evidence

Weighting According to a Rating Scheme (Scheme Given)

Rating Scheme for the Strength of the Evidence

Studies were reviewed and evaluated for quality according to the method outlined by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force:

I Evidence obtained from at least one properly designed randomized controlled trial.

II-1 Evidence obtained from well-designed controlled trials without randomization.

II-2 Evidence obtained from well-designed cohort or case–control analytic studies, preferably from more than one center or research group.

II-3 Evidence obtained from multiple time series with or without the intervention. Dramatic results in uncontrolled experiments also could be regarded as this type of evidence.

III Opinions of respected authorities, based on clinical experience, descriptive studies, or reports of expert committees.

Methods Used to Analyze the Evidence

Review of Published Meta-Analyses

Systematic Review

Description of the Methods Used to Analyze the Evidence

Not stated

Methods Used to Formulate the Recommendations

Expert Consensus

Description of Methods Used to Formulate the Recommendations

2008 Guideline

Analysis of available evidence was given priority in formulating recommendations. When reliable research was not available, expert opinions from obstetrician–gynecologists were used. See also the "Rating Scheme for the Strength of Recommendations" field regarding Grade C recommendations.

2013 Reaffirmation

The Committee on Practice Bulletins - Gynecology met in March 2013 and reaffirmed this document. A committee member reviewed the document and new literature on the topic. The document was then reviewed by the committee and the committee agreed that it is current and accurate.

Rating Scheme for the Strength of the Recommendations

Based on the highest level of evidence found in the data, recommendations are provided and graded according to the following categories:

Level A — Recommendations are based on good and consistent scientific evidence.

Level B — Recommendations are based on limited or inconsistent scientific evidence.

Level C — Recommendations are based primarily on consensus and expert opinion.

Cost Analysis

A formal cost analysis was not performed and published cost analyses were not reviewed.

Method of Guideline Validation

Internal Peer Review

Description of Method of Guideline Validation

Practice Bulletins are validated by two internal clinical review panels composed of practicing obstetrician-gynecologists generalists and sub-specialists. The final guidelines are also reviewed and approved by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Executive Board.

Type of Evidence Supporting the Recommendations

The type of supporting evidence is identified and graded for each recommendation (see "Major Recommendations").

Potential Benefits

Accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of vulvar skin disorders

Potential Harms

  • Side effects of:
    • Topical estrogen therapy in girls
    • Topical steroid therapy
    • Systemic immunosuppressants
  • When compared in randomized controlled trials with either estrogen tablets or with the estrogen ring, conjugated equine estrogen cream was found to be significantly associated with adverse effects, including bleeding, breast pain, and perineal pain.
  • All forms of topical estrogen therapy increase the possibility of endometrial hyperplasia and overstimulation.

Qualifying Statements

These guidelines should not be construed as dictating an exclusive course of treatment or procedure. Variations in practice may be warranted based on the needs of the individual patient, resources, and limitations unique to the institution or type of practice.

Description of Implementation Strategy

An implementation strategy was not provided.

Implementation Tools

Audit Criteria/Indicators

For information about availability, see the Availability of Companion Documents and Patient Resources fields below.

IOM Care Need

Getting Better

Living with Illness

IOM Domain

Effectiveness

Patient-centeredness

Bibliographic Source(s)

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Diagnosis and management of vulvar skin disorders. Washington (DC): American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG); 2008 May. 11 p. (ACOG practice bulletin; no. 93).  [90 references]

Adaptation

Not applicable: The guideline was not adapted from another source.

Date Released

2008 May (reaffirmed 2013)

Guideline Developer(s)

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - Medical Specialty Society

Source(s) of Funding

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

Guideline Committee

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins - Gynecology

Composition of Group That Authored the Guideline

Not stated

Financial Disclosures/Conflicts of Interest

Not stated

Guideline Status

This is the current release of the guideline.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reaffirmed the currency of this guideline in 2013.

Guideline Availability

Electronic copies: None available

Print copies: Available for purchase from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Distribution Center, PO Box 933104, Atlanta, GA 31193-3104; telephone, 800-762-2264, ext. 192; e-mail: sales@acog.org. The ACOG Bookstore is available online at the ACOG Web site External Web Site Policy.

Availability of Companion Documents

Proposed performance measures are included in the original guideline document.

Patient Resources

None available

NGC Status

This NGC summary was completed by ECRI Institute on July 29, 2008. The information was verified by the guideline developer on August 20, 2008. This summary was updated by ECRI Institute on August 18, 2009, following the revised FDA advisory on CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil). The currency of the guideline was reaffirmed by the developer in 2013 and this summary was updated by ECRI Institute on March 7, 2014.

Copyright Statement

This NGC summary is based on the original guideline, which is subject to the guideline developer's copyright restrictions.

NGC Disclaimer

The National Guideline Clearinghouseâ„¢ (NGC) does not develop, produce, approve, or endorse the guidelines represented on this site.

All guidelines summarized by NGC and hosted on our site are produced under the auspices of medical specialty societies, relevant professional associations, public or private organizations, other government agencies, health care organizations or plans, and similar entities.

Guidelines represented on the NGC Web site are submitted by guideline developers, and are screened solely to determine that they meet the NGC Inclusion Criteria which may be found at http://www.guideline.gov/about/inclusion-criteria.aspx.

NGC, AHRQ, and its contractor ECRI Institute make no warranties concerning the content or clinical efficacy or effectiveness of the clinical practice guidelines and related materials represented on this site. Moreover, the views and opinions of developers or authors of guidelines represented on this site do not necessarily state or reflect those of NGC, AHRQ, or its contractor ECRI Institute, and inclusion or hosting of guidelines in NGC may not be used for advertising or commercial endorsement purposes.

Readers with questions regarding guideline content are directed to contact the guideline developer.

About NGC Guideline Summaries

NGC's guidelines summaries contain information systematically derived from original guidelines.

Guideline Summary FAQ


Guideline Summaries

New This Week

View more and sign up for our Newsletter

Get Adobe Reader