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So, you found a bump near your vagina? First things first, don't panic! We totally understand if your mind instantly jumps to the worst case scenario when you feel a bump down there, but we're here to tell you that this is a common skincare concern. Instead of going down a rabbit hole trying to self-diagnose via random online sites, we tapped some medical experts to give you some answers and ease your mind.
"Bumps near the vagina can be caused by a myriad of conditions," says Miami-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Stacy Chimento of Riverchase Dermatology. "While not every bump near the vagina is a sign of a more severe health issue, it is important to diagnose the bumps correctly in order to receive proper treatment." Keep reading to learn about all of the potential reasons you could be experiencing bumps near your vagina (spoiler alert: it's most likely harmless) and when you should visit a doctor.
Causes for Bumps Near Vagina:
1. It's ingrown hair.
Ingrown hairs are the most common cause of bumps near the vagina. "Ingrown hairs occur when pubic hair grows into the skin rather than out of the surface," explains Dr. Chimento. Most of the time, ingrown hairs appear after shaving or waxing around the vulva. She explains that as a result, the hair follicle can become inflamed and lead to red, itchy, and sometimes pus-filled bumps in the pubic area.
How to get rid of it: To deal with ingrown hairs in this region, Dr. Chimento recommends applying a topical skincare treatment. Just make sure it's safe to use on this sensitive area, like the Fur Ingrown Concentrate. You can apply it on the pubic area after exfoliating in the shower to reduce the chances of getting ingrown hairs.
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2. It’s a pimple.
"Pimples can form around the vagina as a result of improper hygiene and also from shaving or waxing," says Dr. Chimento. Acne around or on the vulva is common, especially if you're an active person. It usually looks like the pimples that show up on your face. "Pimples around the vagina tend to arise when people stay in sweaty clothing for extended periods or do not properly wash their pubic area."
How to get rid of it: When dealing with pimples on this area, reach for a warm compress to soothe any redness or irritation. You can also try body wash products that are formulated with acne-fighting ingredients, such as Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, to clean the pubic area.
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3. It’s a cyst.
According to Planned Parenthood, cysts are soft fluid-filled bumps that can appear on the opening of the vulva or the labia. Cysts can be harmless as long as they aren't painful or making you uncomfortable. Don't try to pop your cysts, though, because that can cause a risk for infection. They usually go away on their own, but if your cyst is growing in size or becoming painful, be sure to visit your OB-GYN to discuss a treatment plan.
4. It’s an STD or STI.
Bumps near the vaginal area can also be a sign of various sexually transmitted diseases or infections. "Genital herpes presents itself as painful and tender sores around and on the vagina," says Dr. Chimento. "These sores tend to vary in severity and can disappear only to arise again unexpectedly." Currently, there is no cure for genital herpes.
Another STI that can show up as bumps is scabies. According to Planned Parenthood, "Scabies are super itchy pimple-like bumps, tiny blisters, or scales on your genitals and other places on your body." Prescription-grade creams and medications can treat this infection.
STDs that can cause bumps are genital warts and molluscum contagiosum. Dr. Chimento explains that genital warts typically have extremely itchy, skin-colored bumps around the pubic area. "They are spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex and similarly to genital herpes, do not have a cure," she says.
If you're experiencing small, firm bumps, however, it could be a potential sign of molluscum contagiosum. The bumps can appear alone or in clusters and are typically flesh-colored, pink, or white. They may cause itchiness, soreness, or redness and can be long-lasting, but it is possible for them to go away on their own.
Ultimately, if you're experiencing any unusual symptoms after having unprotected sex, be sure to consult with a doctor.
5. It’s cancer.
"Very rarely, but still possible, bumps near the vagina can be cancerous," says Dr. Chimento. "Vaginal and vulvar cancers can present themselves in a variety of ways." Most commonly, they show up as flat or raised bumps and sores on the vulva. They might also bleed or leak discharge and do not heal within a few weeks.
When should you visit a doctor?
"You should always visit a doctor if the bumps around your vagina are causing you extreme discomfort or pain," says Dr. Chimento. "If you've tried over-the-counter topical products and the bumps continue to persist after two weeks, it is likely that you need prescription-grade medication." Also, if any bumps are leaking pus or fluid, change in size or cause discomfort, it can be a sign of infection and should be seen by a professional right away. Ultimately, if you're ever unsure, we recommend making an appointment with your doctor, just to be safe.