5 Possible Explanations for Vaginal Lumps & Bumps
There is no need to be ashamed if you feel the presence of vaginal bumps down there. It is perfectly normal, and anyone can get them. You must not let these bumps turn painful, itchy, or develop infections as they may be a result of some sexually transmitted infection, and turn complicated if not addressed promptly. Schedule an appointment with experienced and board-certified gynecologists at the Century Medical and Dental Center to learn the difference between harmless bumps and those that need a doctor. The specialists will examine your vaginal lumps thoroughly, determine what is causing them and come up with the best solutions to get rid of them.
The vaginal area is sensitive, and the presence of bumps or lumps is a cause for concern. These bumps could be nothing, or their appearance could be a sign of something serious.
Keeping a check on your genital areas is necessary so that you can identify anything that seems out of the ordinary. Unwelcome additions such as lumps, bumps, rashes, or anything in between must be checked by a doctor to identify what is causing them and how they can be treated.
Vaginal Lumps and Genital Health
Genital health is vital as these bumps appearing on or around the vaginal area could indicate early signs of a condition that needs medical attention, such as sexually transmitted infection. Spotting them as soon as they occur is the best as you can seek appropriate medical attention and get rid of them without wasting any time or suffering unnecessary pain.
Vaginal lumps and bumps are not always a sign of something serious or malignant. They could be regular pimples caused by clogged glands, some skin infection, or even wearing the same underwear for long.
Here are 5 possible explanations for the bumps near or on your labia. Getting them checked by your primary care doctor will help determine what they are and help you stay healthy.
Hair Removal Methods
Shaving, waxing, plucking, and other hair removal methods can increase your risk for vaginal lumps or small, round, sometimes painful, or itchy bumps as they trigger an infection in the hair follicles surrounding the vulva. Infected growth hair cysts make themselves prominent by rash-like razor burns or in some severe cases boils with pus. The skin around the bump may also become dark.
Doctors recommend changing razors regularly, shaving in the same direction of the hair, and applying ointments such as shaving cream to rinse the hair off the skin to prevent cutting yourself. Sometimes, switching hair removal methods also helps to keep away vaginal bumps.
Sometimes incorrect choice of hair removal methods or doing it wrong can also lead to ingrown pubic hair. It can lead to bumps that get filled with pus. You should not try to extract ingrown hair on your own as it could lead to infection. In most cases, it resolves on its own in a few days but if it turns painful, consult a doctor.
Vaginal cysts are pocket or pouch-like projections along the vaginal wall. There are different types of cysts found in the vagina. Some of them are full of pus, while others contain air or scar tissue.
Many cysts are large and painful, but they can also be small and often have no symptoms. Visit your primary care doctor to get your sac-like growths examined and to have them treated timely.
Types of vaginal cysts include:
- Bartholin’s Cysts – these are lumps on either one or both sides of the vaginal opening.
- Endometriosis Cysts – these are lumps of tissues that create tiny cysts inside the vagina
- Gartner’s Duct Cysts – these cysts generally appear during the pregnancy
- Vaginal Inclusion Cysts – they mostly result from some trauma or distress to the vaginal wall such as giving birth or going through some procedure.
Any injury could cause the tissues to get trapped under the skin surface and resulting in cysts.
You can develop pimples on your vulva just like you get acne on other parts of the body. It is not exactly the same as getting pimples on the face, but it is similar to that, and these breakouts can happen in your adulthood too, for any reason. Like acne pimples, vaginal pimples can be red, painful, and at times full of puss.
According to health experts, pimples on the vagina often result from folliculitis, as the skin infection can look like a sudden breakout when the hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It will look like a whitehead near your vagina or a lot like an ingrown hair that can develop into a fluid-filled blister.
Even though they will be uncomfortable, avoid squeezing the pimples and keep your hands away to avoid bacterial spread. Applying a warm compress and keeping the area clean can help to soothe the skin and keep away irritation till it heals.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Certain sexually transmitted infections can lead to itchy bumps on the outer vaginal lips. They include:
Herpes Simplex Viruses 1 and 2
A herpes outbreak for simplex viruses 1 and 2 can result in clusters of blister-like bumps and little pustules that are both itchy and painful. These bumps usually appear between 2 and 20 days of getting the infection, after which they may go dormant for weeks, months, or even years between breakouts. These bumps are like tiny pimples on a red base and can be very uncomfortable.
Genital warts are whitish or skin-colored bumps that appear around the vulva and anus. They are caused by either of the two types of the HPV Virus (6 and 11), the most common sexually transmitted infection. They can be irritating or itchy but do not usually hurt. They resemble a little piece of cauliflower, and you will have more than one. They can be flat instead of raised, and sometimes you may not even notice them.
Genital warts are pretty common and you can get them through the skin to skin contact such as vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is already infected. These warts can go away on their own as your immune system can fight off the viruses causing these bumps, but it is better to see a doctor to get rid of them faster and avoid any complications.
Syphilis often appears as a painless chancre or around open sore on the genitals around the vulva or anus. Initially, it may be just one sore that is about the size of a dime or even smaller, but if it is not treated timely, it could lead to dangerous problems like brain damage, paralysis, and blindness.
It may appear in a very discrete spot inside the vagina or rectum which makes it hard to detect.
Molluscum contagiosum is a common but little-known STI. It is prevalent among young women, especially those in their twenties who are sexually active. It appears as multiple red bumps with a crater in the middle. They can be super tiny with sprinkles of tiny bumps all around the vulva or as large as the bottom of a pencil eraser.
Highly contagious, this infection can spread through sexual contact and affects adults whose immune system is weak. These bumps usually disappear within a year without treatment, but it is best to consult a doctor to have them removed safely before they turn harmful.
It is probably the least possible explanation for vaginal lumps as cancer of the vulva or vagina is rare and unusual.
Symptoms of precancerous and cancerous conditions may include:
- Flat or raised sores or bumps on the vulva
- Skin color that is lighter or darker than surrounding skin
- Thickened patches of skin
- Itching, burning, or pain
- Sores that do not heal within a few weeks
- Unusual bleeding or discharge
Cancer of the vulva is more common in older women and women who smoke. Also, if you are infected with HPV, your risk of cancer increases. Vaginal and vulvar cancers are diagnosed by taking samples of tissues from the suspicious bumps or lesions and having them tested in the laboratory.
Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and diseases is necessary as it can save you from a lot of pain in the long run.
When to Visit Your Gynecologist?
Occasional bumps on the vagina are not uncommon. They are not usually painful, but if these lumps become too large, they can result in pain or bleeding or even cause an infection that requires medical attention.
If you develop vaginal bumps or lumps frequently, visit a gynecologist to ensure they will not result in severe infection or turn complicated in the long run. Long-term vaginal bumps or infections disturb your sexual health and also put your partner at risk. It is essential to keep an eye on your condition and get anything suspicious checked by an expert.
Consulting a gynecologist becomes necessary if your lumps begin to bleed, are accompanied by foul-smelling or unusual discharge, and turn painful.
Diagnosing and Treating Vaginal Lumps
Gynecologists diagnose the type and severity of the vaginal bumps by examining the outside of the vulva. They may take a swab from the growth and send it to the lab to test for harmful cells or viruses. They also recommend some imaging tests to check for the size and shape of the bump to make an accurate diagnosis.
Most of these vaginal lumps can be treated with prescription medication or creams and do not need surgical treatments. The gynecologists evaluate the bumps carefully to check if they require medication or any additional treatment to provide relief.
They will also provide tips to maintain vaginal hygiene, including taking a good soak in the lukewarm water to soothe pain, itching, or swelling.
Mostly, the lumps on the vagina are not a cause for alarm as they go away on their own or can be managed with medication and at-home care. If these lumps turn painful, get filled with pus, or begin to cause irritation and bleed, do not waste time in approaching a doctor to have them carefully examined.
Unusual symptoms like sores, smelling discharge, or raised bumps could be a sign of sexually transmitted infection must be treated timely to reduce the risk for complications. The top-rated gynecologists at the Century Medical and Dental Center help you understand what is causing these vaginal lumps and provide the best advice on keeping yourself protected from these unexpected developments.