Emphysematous Vaginitis

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Abstract

Background

Emphysematous vaginitis is a rare condition, characterized by the presence of multiple gas-filled cysts in the vaginal and/or exocervical mucosa. Although its etiology is not completely understood, it is self-limited, with a benign clinical course. Vaginal discharge, sometimes bloody, and pruritus are the most common symptoms. Chronic and acute inflammation can be found, and diseases that impair the immune system and pregnancy have been associated with this condition.

Case report

A 48-year-old postmenopausal woman, with a history of hysterectomy with several comorbidities, presented with a 4-month history of bloody discharge and vulvar pruritus. Examination showed multiple cystic lesions, 1 to 5 mm, occupying the posterior and right lateral vaginal walls. Speculum examination produced crepitus. Vaginal wet mount was normal, except for diminished lactobacilli; results of Trichomonas vaginalis DNA test and vaginal cultures were negative. Lugol’s iodine applied to the vagina was taken up by the intact lesions. Biopsy result showed typical features of emphysematous vaginitis.

Conclusions

This is an unusual entity, presenting with common gynecological complaints, and both physicians and pathologists should be aware to prevent misdiagnosis and overtreatment.

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