What It Means If You Have Vaginal Bumps

Your health is important.

If we see bumps on our vagina, or in the vaginal area, we are probably assuming almost instantly that it’s some sort of infection. For the sake of our vaginal health, we might begin to panic, but these vagina bumps could be so many things, from a skin irritation to ingrown hairs to a “downstairs” version of acne.

Of course, different causes are going to have different remedies, and some are a lot more serious than others. Before you become too worried, read carefully, and if you have any doubt at all, see your dermatologist or doctor immediately. Better safe than sorry!

RELATED: 9 Things Your Vaginal Secretions Can Tell You About Your Body And Your Health

1. Acne

Acne develops due to a combination of four factors: excess sebum production (usually hormone-related), follicular hyperkeratinization (build up of keratin in the follicles/pores), bacteria on the skin, and inflammatory response in the skin to all of the above.

According to Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist, “Vulvar skin has apocrine sweat glands, but not as many sebaceous glands produce sebum, aka oil, as the scalp, face or chest. Vulvar ‘acne’ usually presents as folliculitis, discrete abscesses, or a more serious condition called hidradenitis suppurativa.”

2. Folliculitis

This refers to inflammation of the hair follicles, aka the pores. Sometimes, skin cells and keratin build up in the follicles, clogging up the opening. This can lead to blackheads in the vulvar area.

5. Warts

Genital warts can appear as flat or raised, smooth or slightly rough bumps. They are always caused by an HPV virus. And while they are obvious on men, they don’t always appear so obvious for women. 

According to Dr. Felice Gersh, OB/GYN, “Genital warts can certainly develop and should be treated by a physician. Any disease of the skin can develop on the vulvar skin, including cancers, psoriasis, eczema, moles, and benign tumors. Anything of concern needs to be evaluated by a physician.”

6. Herpes

We’ve all heard of herpes, but we may not know what to look for when it happens. These present as single or cluster of non-follicular, painful blisters.

“They tend to erupt in the same spot (vulva, buttocks, thigh, lower back) every once in a while, and are extremely contagious through direct contact. Most people can feel the tingle of a new lesion starting. If you take your prescription antiviral medications immediately, you can actually prevent the lesion from developing. For people who get more than six episodes a year, discuss daily suppressive therapy with your dermatologist,” says Dr. Shainhouse.

7. Molluscum Contagiosum

These are flesh-colored, umbilicated, non-follicular bumps present on the vulvar area and can spread by shaving over them.

“They can last six months to two years before resolving, or else they can be removed by your dermatologist. They are very contagious (hence the name) through direct skin-to-skin contact, which is why they are technically an STI (sexually transmitted infection),” Dr. Shainhouse shares.

8. Cysts

“Little cysts can form on the skin, called sebaceous cysts and epidermal inclusion cysts,” says Dr. Gersh. But there’s no need to worry, because these are of no significance other than cosmetic. And they rarely can become infected.

RELATED: What It Means If You Have Lumps Or Bumps Around Your Vagina

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at alywalansky@gmail.com.

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