Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the benign pigmentary lesions of the vulva?


  1. Melanocytic nevi: Vary in color and size (from 1-2 mm to 1-2 cm). Typically are asymptomatic. Diagnosis confirmed histologically usually with simple excision.
  2. Acanthosis nigricans: Cutaneous disorder affecting the axillae, nipples, umbilical area, and crural region. Appears as a poorly defined, velvety hyperpigmentation. Only symptomatic treatment is available.
  3. Vitiligo: Characterized by complete depigmentation of an area of skin that is otherwise normal. The area involved is usually well defined and symmetrical. No effective treatment is available.

Reference: Kaufman RH, Faro S: Benign Diseases of the Vulva and Vagina, 4th ed. St. Louis, Mosby, 1994.

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