A lump, a lesion or a bump can develop on the vaginal area, either on the vulva or inside the vagina. Lumps in the vaginal area are often associated with STDs. Contradictorily, most of such lumps are usually benign and in fact resolve on their own.
It is important to know what to do if you have a lump on the vaginal area. Although most will call for no specialized treatments, some can be not only embarrassing but also dangerous and transmittable.
Many people vaguely understand the anatomy of a woman’s vagina. Vagina is the word used to describe the canal which ends at the base of the uterus. Vulva is used to describe the external features of a woman’s genitalia, mostly the vaginal lips. In most cases, lumps occur on the vulva but can also occur on the wall of the vagina.
What to do if you have a lump on vaginal area
Let’s look at some of the measures and steps that can help if you notice a lump, a lesion or a bump in your vaginal area:
Learn the type
- Lesion – lesions are mostly caused by injuries and diseases. The affected skin region will sustain some degree of damage. Lesions occur on not under the skin. If accompanied by a hard lump under chin, in armpit or groin region, it is a sign of infection.
- Bump – bumps are slightly raised skin regions. They can develop on and under the skin.
- Lump – there is no much difference between a bump and a lump. However, lumps sometimes grow large in mass, such in cancerous lumps.
Know the probable causes
- Cysts – cysts form lumps under the skin. They are common causes of lump in inner eyelid. Cystic lumps can be filled with fluid, pus and in some cases air. Bartholin’s gland cysts are the most common type of cysts in the vaginal region. They develop on either side of the vaginal opening. Inclusion cysts can also be responsible for a lump inside the vagina. Inclusion cysts are common after a complicated childbirth, such as one involving surgery. They develop on the vaginal wall at the lower back. Other types of cysts that form inside the vagina are Gartner’s duct cysts and Müllerian. All the four types of cysts noted above occur inside the vagina. On the vulva and labia, a sebaceous cyst, also known as a Fordyce spot, can develop. A sebaceous cyst will appear in form of a white or yellowish lump on the vaginal lip. A lump on the vaginal area caused by a cyst is usually not painful unless infected or injured.
- STDs – genital warts are caused by HPV, which is a sexually transmitted virus. They are quite harmless but highly transmittable. Warts are mostly identified from their cauliflower-like appearance. Genital herpes is a viral infection. It causes tiny lesions and bumps. Bumps due to genital herpes are often painful and very discomforting. A sole, painless sore on the vaginal area is a common sign of syphilis. The sore will form a small bump, which will then disappear after about two weeks. If not treated, syphilis is very dangerous. Another STD that may be responsible for bumps in the vaginal region is Molluscum Contagiosum. This disease causes clusters of red bumps, usually characterized by a tiny crater in the middle. The bumps mostly appear on the vulva.
- Varicosities – varicosities is a condition caused by swelling of tiny blood veins in the vulva. It is mostly seen in pregnant and aged women. Lumps due to varicosities appear bluish in color.
- Folliculitis and shaving bumps – poor shaving techniques will most likely result in bumps and lumps in the vaginal region. Razor burns are most common. If infected, a boil or a cyst can develop. In most cases, bumps caused by poor shaving techniques appear in form of a rash.
- Cancer – cancer and lumps are closely related. All the same, a lump on vaginal area will likely not be a sign of cancer. Cancer of the vulva is more common than cancer of the vagina. Compared to other types of cancer, both are fairly rare. A cancerous lump on the vaginal area will keep increasing in mass. It can also cause other symptoms such as hard lump near anus, pain when urinating, vaginal discharge and swollen of lymph nodes.
- Other causes – lumps on vaginal area can also be caused by skin tags, lichen sclerosus, chancroid and so on.
Identify the symptoms
Harmless lumps such as caused by cysts are rarely accompanied by other identifiable symptoms. Such lumps can be left to resolve on their own.
Lumps that develop after shaving are in most cases itchy and painful. They can also become infected, especially if popped.
STDs are always accompanied by other symptoms, mostly fever, itchiness, sores, pain and hard lump behind ear or groin due to swollen lymph nodes. You may also experience a burning sensation, discomfort when passing urine or foul vaginal discharge.
Get diagnosis and treatment
Self-diagnosis can be done by analyzing the symptoms. You can also take pictures and compare them with online images for lumps on the vaginal area. All the same, it is always advisable to go for a medical diagnosis. A doctor will perform a physical examination. If necessary, other tests such as pelvic exam, blood test or biopsy may also be performed.
Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of the lump or symptoms. Corticosteroids are commonly used to reduce inflammation and itchiness. Antibiotics are used for infections such as syphilis. They are also helpful when treating infected lumps in the vaginal region. For viral infections, your doctor will prescribe antiviral medications. Large lumps due to cysts can be drained if necessary. Surgical removal is however mostly considered for tough cysts such as a lump in palm of hand below middle finger due to a ganglion cyst. You can also try some painkillers in case of a painful lump inside the vagina, on the vaginal lips or on the vulva.
Self-care measures for a lump on vaginal area
There are a number of measures that can help avoid or improve a lump on the vagina region. They include:
Several warm baths in a day may help reduce the size of a cystic lump. You can also try sitz baths to reduce pain and itchiness.
Always practice safe sex or avoid sexual intercourse when you can. Diseases such as syphilis can be prevented through use of condoms. Genital herpes and warts are transmitted even with use of condoms. Talk to your partner and your doctor.
Keep your genital area dry and cool. Wetness encourages growth of bacteria. To achieve this, wear underpants made from materials such as cotton. Tight clothes will encourage sweating and friction in the vaginal area.
Maintain personal hygiene, especially when it comes to the genital region. Cysts develop after a duct gets blocked. Maintained hygiene will play an important role in preventing some forms of cysts and other types of lumps on the vaginal region.
Ensure to change the blade after every two or three shaves. When shaving, cut the hairs along the gradient. Remember to moisturize appropriately before and after shaving.
Ask your doctor about routine checkups. He/she will help you develop a schedule for the checkups. As you will come to realize, routine checkups are very important.
Lump inside vagina or on vaginal lip possible complications
As mentioned earlier, most types of lumps on the vaginal region are not dangerous. They will go away without treatment or with minor treatment. A lump inside the vagina or vaginal area can be the cause of a number of complications. This is especially if it is a sign of a disease or infection.
STDs are known to cause infertility, miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. This is not to mention the fact that they are highly transmittable. In fact, some STDs can be passed to unborn children.
There are other minor complications such as itchiness, scarring, difficulty having sex, spread and so on. The best way to avoid them is to have a lump on your vaginal region checked by a doctor and if necessary, treated.
When to see a doctor if you have a lump on my vagina
So when is the right time to see a doctor if you have a lump on my vagina?
- You have a hard lump – in most cases, cancer starts in form of a painless hard lump. The lump will keep increasing in size with time. Cancerous lumps normally are irregularly shaped and with no distinct color. However, a cancerous lump can start in form of a sore on the vulva. The bottom line is that it will continue to increase in mass with time.
- Pus and discharge – pus indicates presence of bacteria. Foul-smelling discharge is a sign of an STD or an infection. Both should be treated by a doctor.
- You have other symptoms – there are many symptoms of STDs. Some such as pain will occur around the affected region while others such as fever will be felt in the whole body.
- The lump doesn’t go away – a lump that doesn’t go away after about two weeks is not a good sign. Much the same can be said about a lump that keeps coming back.
- You notice almost similar symptoms in your partner such as pea sized lump in scrotum, lump on penis or a sore in the genital region.