Vagina and Vulva Lumps and Bumps

Vagina and Vulva Lumps and Bumps

Vagina and vulva lumps and bumps is a topic that many women find way too embarrassing to discuss with their doctor. The palpable lumps can create much anxiety and may lead to bedroom disharmony and concern if noticeable by the lady’s partner.

In this article, the common vaginal lumps and bumps are discussed. They are broadly classified into lumps that are normal and harmless, lumps related to infection, lumps related to dermatological conditions, and lumps that are cancerous.

Benign Vaginal Lumps

Vestibular Papillomatosis (VP)
Vestibular Papillomatosis (VP) affects 30% of women. VP appears as multiple shiny 2-10mm skin-colored small finger-like projections symmetrically distributed over the inner labia minora and the opening of the vagina. This is the female counterpart of the similar lesion of pearly penile papule (PPP) in men. One does not need treatment for VP.

Fordyce Spots
Fordyce Spots are sebaceous or oil glands over the labia minor that has turned enlarged and give an appearance of small white to yellow dots. They can occur in the penis in the men. They are harmless, and no treatment is required.

Vaginal Lumps related to Infection

Genital Warts
Genital Warts can appear as small skin-colored lumps that can occur as a single lesion or multiple lesion. It is caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV), and it can be spread via skin contact to another person. In some, warts can resolve themselves; in others, it can remain or grow in number or size. You are advised to speak to your doctor regarding treatment options.

Molluscum Contagiosum
Molluscum vaginal lumps characteristically appear as multiple discrete pearly white to skin-colored small bumps with a central depression known as ”umbilication”. The lumps are caused by a virus called the pox virus. They are commonly found in children. When this occurs in adults, it is typically associated with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs). You are advised to speak to your doctor regarding treatment and consider screening for other STIs.

Infected Bartholin Cyst
Bartholin glands are found at the entrance of a lady’s vagina, one on each side. In normal situations, they are neither felt nor seen. They work by secreting fluid into the inner part of the labia to keep the vagina moist and lubricated.

When Bartholin glands are blocked, the collection of fluid in the gland causes the development of a Bartholin cyst. Pain arises when the Bartholin glands become infected. Antibiotics and Sitz baths may be recommended by your doctor. If the infected cysts become more prominent and more painful, surgical treatment may be required as antibiotics alone may be inadequate.

Infected Bartholin cysts can recur in some women. In such instances, they may be referred to the gynecologist for a procedure known as marsupialization. This procedure is performed to destroy the cyst and prevent future episodes. Do speak to your doctor for further advice on treatment of Bartholin cyst.

Syphilis
Syphilis lump (medically known as chancre) typically appears as a solitary none-painful lump over the genital area. Similar lesions can be found over the mouth or lip. This is caused by an infection from a bacteria known as Treponema Pallidum, and it is transmitted by sexual contact. Although the lump can resolve on its own, you will need medication for treatment, as it can have future medical complications if left unattended.

Herpes Sores
Herpes lumps and bumps characteristically appears in a group of multiple red angry water blisters that eventually become painful sores and ulcers over the genital region. It is contagious, and it can be spread via sexual contact. Although there is no cure to it, there are medications that can effectively alleviate the symptoms and prevent future recurrence. Please speak to your doctor.

Vaginal Lumps related to Common Dermatological Conditions

Eczema or Psoriasis
It is not uncommon to have vulva or vagina itch and rash secondary to underlying skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. The lesions for both conditions can be confusingly similar without a pair of trained eyes for distinguishing them. They tend to appear red with itchy sore patches over the vulva and vagina region.

Do not hesitate to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Importantly, you should use mild, gentle creams or wash to the affected area. Avoid applying own traditional medicaments, or use of panty liners with fragrance, which can irritate the skin. Your doctors may recommend suitable medicated creams or ointments.

Folliculitis
Folliculitis appears as painful acne-like red spots that sometimes can be found over the labia area. This occurs when the hair follicles are stuck, inflamed, and become infected. It can be associated with the history of waxing, shaving of the genital region. Speak to your doctor regarding treatment.

Vaginal lumps that are Worrisomely Cancerous

Pigmented skin cancer/ Melanoma
2% of pigmented skin cancer (melanoma) can occur in the vagina or vulva. If you notice unexplained pigmented lumps and bumps over your genitals, please check it out with your doctor.

Vaginal Cancer

Vulva and vaginal cancers can manifest as lumps and bumps on the vagina. Risks factors of developing vaginal cancer include one with multiple sexual partners, early age of first sexual encounter, being a smoker, one with the low immune system, one who is positive for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

Apart from having vaginal lumps, look out for alarming symptoms such as

  • Vaginal or abdominal pain
  • Abnormal vaginal discharges
  • Abnormal bleeding in-between periods, during sex, after sex, or after menopause.

If you have any of the above, do not delay in consulting your doctor.

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