Vulva sores can appear as bumps or sores that are red, itchy and very painful. Sometimes these sores often bleed if scratched. They have many causes but major causes involve certain skin disorders and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Discover more about their causes, symptoms and diagnosis, treatments and more.
Sores on Vulva area are a veiled epidemic especially those caused by STIs. Many patients often don’t seek medication because they feel afraid or embarrassed, of course, this gap has to be closed! Untreated infections can result in a huge impact on public health especially those that are contagious. The most vulnerable group for these sores are the young women.
The vulva is the external part of the female genitalia. “It protects a woman’s sexual organs, urinary opening, vestibule, and vagina and is the center of much of a woman’s sexual response.”[nva.org] the external female genitalia comprise of:
- Labia majora and labia minora, these are the fleshy lips around the vagina
- The opening of the birth canal
- Clitoris, a small group of tissues covered with a thin flap of tissue. It is the main source of sensation during a sexual act
- Other parts include mons pubis, a bulb of a vestibule, urinary meatus, minor and major vestibular glands. Pudendal cleft, sebaceous glands, and pubic hair are also included.
This area is prone to many disorders that can lead to itching or inflammation and thus the development of sores on vag lip among other vulva disorders.
Causes of sores
As we had highlighted before, vulva sores have got a number of causes. They involve things to do with Sexual Transmitted diseases, skin disorders, cancers and more conditions. Let`s look into details the causes.
1. Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STIs)
STIs are the most common causes of sores on the vulva. Many of them are usually contagious and can be spread through vaginal, oral or anal sex. Sharing sex toys can also spread the same. Examples of STIs that are can cause them include:
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts
- Granuloma inguinale
- Molluscum contagiosum
In many cases, it is a challenge to tell whether the vulva sores are due to STIs or due to some other causes, therefore, you should get tested for STIs especially if you are sexually active or you just hooked a new sex partner. This is the only way to know whether you sores on vulvar is due to STIs or other conditions.
2. Skin Conditions
Besides STIs, chronic skin conditions is another major cause of vulva sores. Such skin conditions are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as itching, inflammation or painful blisters. Here is the detailed information about skin conditions that can cause them:
This is an inflammation or infection of the vulva and vagina that can cause vulvar irritation and redness. This condition is prevalent in both girls and women of all ages and has variant causes. The major cause of this condition is bacteria. Other cause may also include allergic reactions, STIs, viruses, Yeast, chemical irritants as well as environmental factors. The symptoms include irritation, itching, inflammations, smelly virginal discharge and discomfort during urinating. Treatment for this infection will depend on the underlying causes.
This is a chronic skin condition that is characterized by dry, itchy skin. It is skin inflammation due to allergies. There are several types of atopic dermatitis. The major symptom is a dry, itchy skin that may turn into a red sore.
This is a common cause of rash or sore when a skin comes into contact with a substance that triggers allergic or irritation. These include harsh soaps, detergents, shampoos, perfumes, lotions and even condoms and sex toys for our case. Sore from this root may be very itchy. Replacing our soap or these allergens and irritants may be crucial to relieve this worrisome condition.
This is an inflammation or infection of hair follicles. This skin condition initiates as red, tender area near the base of one or more hair strands. It can be caused by bacteria, yeast or fungus. This condition can also cause them.
3. Ingrown hair
Vulva itching and burning which can result in sore can also be due to ingrown hair. The major cause of ingrown hair in vulva is the hair removal methods but this condition also tends to be common in women during pregnancy and periods. Having too short and sharp hair, shaving using a blunt razor, waxing after shaving all are enough to cause ingrown hair. If you put on tight undergarment or if you have naturally curly hair, then you are also prone to ingrown vulva hair.
Why do I suffer ingrown hair on my pubis during periods and pregnancy? Well, during the mentioned stages, there is a hormonal imbalance that may influence the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (we`ll discuss this in details later in this article). This excessive sebum may clog the pores and hence lead to ingrown hair. Symptoms of ingrown hair include pus-filled boils, itchy bumps and painful sores among other symptoms.
Remember shaving with a razor is enough to irritate this area and hence leading to the formation of the sores.
Pimples on the vulva area of females may be as a result of clogged pores. This result from excessive production of sebum that will sum up with dead skin cells to block the pores. This will thereafter attract bacterial infection resulting in the formation of other kinds of acne on the vulva leading to sores or painful bumps on the vulva area. This could be due changes in some levels of hormones that influence the sebaceous gland to be overactive
5. Pubic Lice or Crabs
“Pubic lice are also known as pubic crabs cause sores that are itchy and may be identified by dandruff at the base of the pubic hair.” [healthmds.org]. Depending on the intensity of the infection, resultant dandruff may be grayish or whitish. Here is how one may contact pubic lice:
- Sharing clothes and undergarment
- Sleeping in beds that have lice on the beddings
- Having sex with a partner already having the lice on their pubis
- Poor hygiene
6.Sore on vulva from Cancer
Cancer on vulva or skin usually may begin as small bumps that won’t go away or become chronic. Many of such bumps become itchy and keep on growing bigger. When you scratch the itchy bumps, new revolting sores may spring. Other symptoms of this cancer include the following:
- Bleeding pimples and bumps
- Pelvic pain
- Sores or painful, itchy bumps
- Blood in urine
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Bloody vaginal discharge
- Pain while urinating
All the symptoms mentioned above does not necessarily mean you have a vulva cancer, they may originate from other sources, and therefore you should visit your doctor for proper diagnosis.
7. Having a dry vulva
If your vulva becomes dry may be because you don’t often moisturize it, then you may also be a victim of sores but how? Well, when the vulva gets dry, itching and irritation may pop up. Scratching the itchy or inflamed areas may lead to the development of sores. One trick is to keep your vulva moisturized and well hydrated.
8. Other causes
Apart from the cause explained above, more causes may include irritation from unprotected sex, sweating and vaginal secretions, sexual trauma or scratches, tight-undergarments, condom allergies, flu-types viruses that can cause vulva ulcers, lymphogranuloma venereum, and psoriasis among other causes
Symptoms are basically determined to be the underlying causes of the sores. For instance, symptoms of sores from STIs may vary from symptoms of a sore allergies reaction, though some causes may also have similar symptoms. The causes will also determine the severity and the treatment of the vulva sores. Here we`ll explore some general symptoms that may directly point out vulva sores.
- A pimple and rash of vulva area that may be itchy
- Small bumps on the vulva that may be reddish
- Bleeding on the vulva
- Pain or burning feeling while urinating
- Fluid-filled rashes that may open up to create crusty layers on it
- Persistent itchy or tingling feeling
Whether mild or severe, any symptom must be examined by a doctor. You never know, it may be due to STIs or serious health condition that if not treated in time, may result in life-threatening symptoms.
Sores on vulva after periods
A good number of our customers have raised a complaint about vulva sores after periods. First, I want to put it clear that, there are many changes that occur in the levels of the hormonal during this period. When the estrogen level declines, the vulva will get drier and then the development of sores.
Again, a sanitary towel used during menstruation may be to blame. Some of them may irritate your vulva based on the material they are made of. Another point is based on the vaginal discharges. The sanitary towels will absorb vaginal secretions and even the sweat and all may irritate the vulva leading to the development of the revolting sores. The common symptoms are sores on the vagina, burning and itching vag or blisters on vags lip among other symptoms.
“During monthly periods, sanitary towels may cause serious sores due to the damp and hot environment. The menstrual flaws irritate the skin on the vagina and the genital areas,” confirms healthmds.org
Sores during Pregnancy
Are you pregnant and just discovered itchy tiny bumps on your vulva? Well, don’t panic. Many pregnant women are also struggling with the same problem. So how is this possible? First, you may have contracted a sexually transmitted infection from the sex partner who impregnated you. It may be also due to excessive production of sebum resulting from hormonal disorders in this stage. These may lead to pimples sores or sores from other forms of acne. Symptoms may be vaginal itching, blisters on vagina or rash on vagina lips.
Treatment and home remedies
As we have seen, vulva sores or generally genital sores may be due to just a simple allergic reaction to serious STIs or STDs that should not be taken for granted. You should, therefore, consult a qualified doctor or gynecologist for diagnosis in order to know the exact cause. This will help to define the effective treatment for the specific cause. Remember pregnant women with vulva sores may even compromise the lives of their babies if not properly checked and treated in time. Depending on the cause, widely used treatments involve:
- Antibiotics and fungal treatments in cases of bacterial or fungal infections. They can be in form of oral or topical medications
- Hydrocortisone or anti-itch treatment have also been employed to provide vulvar itching treatment and hence prevent scratching.
- In case of STDs or STIs caused by viral infections, antiviral medication may be of great help
- Depending on the cause of itchy privates, corticosteroids can also be used
- For severe sores, painkillers and anti-inflammatory injections can also be applied
- Antihistamines are also used to treat allergic reactions
Apart from the above medications, there are also some home products that can help relieve sores on vulva especially in mild cases. They help in killing the bacteria and fungus that may trigger sores, they can also gently exfoliate the vulva skin hence getting rid of dead skin cells and also unclogging the blocked pores and finally they moisturize the area and thus enhance vulvar itching treatment. Here are the widely used home products for years that can relieve sores on vulva:
- Aloe vera
- Baking Soda
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Lemon Juice
- Tea Tree Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Rosemary Oil
- Egg mask
More tips to or treat these sores
Before you start wondering about how you will treat those bothersome sores, you can decide to prevent such scenarios using simple and quick tips. Let`s see what can be done to prevent sores on the vulva.
- Drink plenty amount of water daily to make sure your body is well hydrated
- Make sure you shower regularly and moisturize your skin after each shower. You should also make sure you bath after physical activities that may make you sweat
- Don’t wear tight undergarments
- At no cost should you share sex toys
- Make sure your pubic hair is well trimmed, not to short.
- Go for STIs or STDs tests regularly
- Consult your nutritionist for proper diet
- Avoid unprotected sex but if you have to, then have a prior knowledge about your sex partner STDs status
- Change your body care products once you discover they irritate you vulva or general skin
Vulva sores or generally genital sores may be due to the serious health condition, so don’t you shy away from consulting your doctor over the symptoms of vulva sores that you can’t handle at home. Many are suffering the same problem and so you are not the only one. Remember if the symptoms are not treated in their initial stages, the can grow to their extremity and lead to situations I don’t want to imagine. In fact, according to my opinion, any symptoms of vulva sore should be intervened by a doctor however how mild it may be.
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