Peer Reviewed



Background: While acute pruritus is often attributable to yeast vulvovaginitis, chronic pruritus can present as the result different conditions including manifestation of a systemic disorder.

Case: A 27-year-old woman presented with a 3 year history of vulvar pruritus, burning, and dyspareunia consistent with contact dermatitis. She failed to improve despite treatment prompting evaluation for an underlying systemic disorder, such as iron deficiency anemia. Interestingly, elevated iron levels were identified leading to the diagnosis of hemochromatosis. Following treatment and near normalization of her serum iron levels, the patient’s vulvar symptoms improved.

Conclusion: Vulvar pruritus is a symptom and not a disease. Thus it is important to search for the cause keeping in mind that dermatologic complaints such as pruritus can be the first manifestation of a systemic process.


Hemochromatosis, vulvar pruritus, vulvar itching

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The authors report no conflict of interest.


Copyright © 2014 Erica Hofland and Colleen K. Stockdale

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