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Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Vulva

O’Gorman, Susan M. MB, BCh*; Torgerson, Rochelle R. MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/DER.0b013e318284da33

Background and Objectives Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) of the vulva arises as a primary condition or develops secondary to topical agents. We aimed to describe the incidence of ACD in patients presenting with vulvar symptoms and to identify the allergens of most importance.

Patients and Methods Using a database of the patch testing results from 3 geographically distinct sites, we identified patients tested to a gynecologic series between 2003 and 2010. Patients had patch testing to the standard European battery and a gynecologic series. Patch testing was in line with accepted universal methods: application on day 1, allergen removal and initial reading on day 3, and final reading on day 5.

Results Ninety patients were included. Thirty-five (39%) had a relevant positive result. The 5 allergens with the highest number of cases with a relevant reaction were natural fragrance mix 2%, balsam of Peru, benzocaine 5%, fragrance mix 8%, and quaternium 15 1%. The most common gynecologic series allergen to cause a relevant reaction was terconazole.

Conclusions Allergic contact dermatitis is a frequent finding in patients presenting with vulvar symptoms. We identified a relevant positive result to patch testing in 39%. We found fragrances, medicaments, and preservatives to be of most relevance.

From the Departments of *Internal Medicine and †Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Address reprint requests to Rochelle R. Torgerson, MD, PhD, Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2013 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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