Women and vaginas have an uneasy relationship; despite your best efforts in keeping them clean and clear of infection, some vaginal lumps and bumps may still turn up unexpectedly, although few women consider a gynecologist for a proper checkup and explanation of their symptoms, and may continue to suffer in silence. Here is what some of those vaginal lumps and bumps (most of which heal themselves over time) might mean:
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Vulvar Cysts are tender, hard and painful bumps that vary in size-usually near the vaginal opening-and are formed due to a blockage of certain glands in the vulva (the visible parts of the female genital system). Warm compresses, soaking in warm water or over the counter pain-killers can help manage the pain.
However, the cyst may require surgical draining in case of extreme pain, fever and chills or difficulty in walking. Cysts, on the other hand, are firm and painless pea-sized vaginal lumps which are usually present on the walls of the vagina (a muscular tube that leads to the opening of your uterus, or cervix), that may form after childbirth or a vaginal injury. In rare cases, surgical drainage or removal might be required.
2- Skin-Coloured Pimples:
These small. benign (non-cancerous) growths-known as Syringoma-are the result of blocked sweat ducts and can also form on the face, underarms, chest and belly-button region, in addition to the vaginal walls. It is wise to avoid popping or self-removal, which can damage the surrounding skin. If they grow too big and unsightly, you can also consider surgical removal via laser or electrosurgery-although it might cause scarring.
3- Itchy Bumps on the Labia Majora:
Improperly removed pubic hair can curl below the skin’s surface-known as ingrown hair-and form small, usually pus-filled bumps, with dark surrounding skin. Other possible causes include fragrant soaps, feminine hygiene products, talcum powder, detergents, etc.
While not a cause for concern, trying to remove them yourself can result in inflammation and infection. Thoroughly clean the skin before and after waxing or shaving and avoid the above-mentioned irritants to prevent ingrown pubic hair. If they remain after 2 weeks or grow bigger, prescription antibiotics and surgical draining may be required.
Some may also observe white-headed pimples (usually a sign of pus) on their vulva at the start of their period. Do not worry, and treat as directed above.
4- Fordyce Spots:
Painless and harmless, these small, white or yellow-white bumps are actually visible sebaceous glands (found inside hair follicles) and can be found inside the vulva, or on the lips or cheeks. Common in 80-95% adults, they first appear during puberty and increase with age.
5- Varicosities aka Angiomas:
They occur as bluish raised bumps or round, swollen veins around the vulva. Typically painless, varicosities may feel heavy, bleed or cause itching and are most common in menopausal or pregnant women-where treatment is not required as they usually disappear 6 weeks after childbirth. If found in non-pregnant women, they can be surgically removed via freezing, excision (cutting out) or shaving off.
6- Lichen Sclerosis:
Usually confined to menopausal women, this skin condition is characterized by blood-filled or blood less blisters that can bleed or cause bruising and white spots that turn into patches of thin, wrinkled skin over time around the vulva and anus. Other common symptoms include severe itching and pain while urinating or having sex. Although recurrent, it can be treated with ointments or corticosteroid creams.
7- Genital Herpes:
Itchy and tingling multiple red bumps-that later develop into painful pimples or blisters-and ulcers on or around the vagina and vulva indicate this common Sexually Transmitted Disease, which is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. However, they appear in the later stages of infection, with earlier symptoms being flu, fever, large sores and pain in the genitals and legs, making the infection hard to detect. While not life-threatening, the social stigma surrounding acknowledgement of STDs has led to a rise in Herpes-caused deaths in Pakistan-11.9 % since 1990 (approximately 0.5% of the yearly death rate).
8- Genital Cancer:
Dark or light colored patches or moles on vulvar skin may be a sign of vulvar or vaginal cancer and thus require medical attention. This is however a highly unlikely diagnosis, though, as such cancers are extremely rare and usually affect smokers and menopausal women.
However, moles or sores that do not heal within 1-2 weeks, are itchy or increasing in size-along with burning, pain, unusual bleeding or vaginal discharge or thickened patches of skin should not be ignored at all as these lumps can very well be a sign of some serious medical issue and thus warrant an urgent Gynecological visit.
In case of persisting lumps and bumps from any of the above-mentioned varieties, book and appointment with a top Gynecologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your pubic concerns.