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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Capsaicin: An Uncommon Exposure and Unusual Treatment


Capsaicin, the active component of chili peppers, is an alkaloid that causes tissue irritation and burning especially upon contact with mucous membranes. While favored in certain cuisines around the world, it has also been weaponized in the form of pepper sprays and bear repellents. When significant capsaicin exposures occur, patients may present to the emergency department; thus, providers should be prepared to manage these cases effectively. In this case report we discuss an unusual exposure of capsaicin to the vaginal mucosa with successful treatment.

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