Pimples around the female genital area occur due to several factors. This article covers the common causes, treatment, and preventive steps to avoid the recurrence of vaginal pimples.
Vaginal pimples often appear similar to pimples occurring in other areas of the body. It emerges as small, red bumps of various sizes with a white dot at the tip and is filled with pus.
The common causes are:
1) Contact Dermatitis:
Contact dermatitis is eczema caused by skin contact with an allergen. In most cases, vaginal pimples occur due to contact dermatitis in the genital region. The common irritants that can cause vaginal pimples are douches, scented soaps, shower washes, medicated lotions, scented sanitary pads, and tampons.
Folliculitis occurs due to infection and inflammation of hair follicles. The causes are shaving, wearing tight clothes, excessive sweating, and using chemical products and unclean tubs. The follicles are blocked with excessive sweating and other chemicals in personal care products resulting in vaginal pimples.
3) Hidradenitis Suppurativa:
Hidradenitis suppurativa is otherwise known as acne inversa, a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects the sweat glands in the groin and breast. This skin disease causes recurrent spots and sores with pus, which do not heal quickly and leave scars on the skin.
4) Molluscum Contagiosum:
Molluscum contagiosum is an infectious disease that can cause pimples anywhere on the body. Their growths appear as small pink-colored pimples with a white dimple at the center.
Several conditions can cause bumps similar to vaginal pimples. The conditions are:
1) Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI):
The two important sexually transmitted infections that cause bumps on the vagina are genital warts and genital herpes.
Genital Warts: Genital warts are caused due to human papillomavirus (HPV). These warts appear as small flesh-colored lumps with a cauliflower-like appearance. Medications and surgery can treat the outbreaks, but still, further attacks can occur as there is no way to eliminate the virus from the body.
Genital Herpes: Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This condition presents with painful, itchy spots on the skin. The virus can remain dormant in the body, and genital herpes can become contagious even without visible sores. Medications can reduce symptoms, flare-ups, and the risk of passing this infection to sexual partners. Condoms help reduce the spread of disease from one person to another.
2) Bartholin’s Cyst:
Bartholin glands are situated on each side of the vagina. Cysts are formed when these glands become blocked. These cysts remain painless and do not require any treatment. When these cysts become infected, treatment with antibiotics is needed.
3) Skin Tags:
Skin tags appear as a small growth on the skin. This skin condition is not dangerous, and removal is needed only for cosmetic reasons.
4) Vaginal Varicosities:
In this condition, blue-colored bumps appear on the vulva and vagina of women due to aging. This condition also causes swollen veins similar to hemorrhoids occurring around the anus. The doctor treats this condition by removing the bumps through surgery or laser in some cases. Cold compress might help. But in some instances, these bumps can regress on their own.
A person needs medical advice and treatment when the cause of the vaginal pimple is unknown. Vaginal pimples filled mainly with pus need drainage after a doctor’s consultation.
In most cases, vaginal pimples can clear on their own. The standard treatment options are:
1) Diagnosing the Cause:
The initial step is to identify the cause of the pimple. Pimples on the vaginal area can occur due to chemical products, activities, and other factors that come in contact with genitals. It is good to avoid irritants and products that irritate the genitals for a while. When the pimples subside, the affected person can introduce the product slowly to know which product is causing the pimples on the vagina.
2) Avoiding Irritants:
Once the irritant is identified, it is necessary to stop using the product. When shaving is the cause, skin irritation is reduced by using a new blade and shaving the hair in the direction in which the hair grows. The affected person needs to use clean hot tubs for showers and avoid using oils on the skin as bacteria can get trapped in the follicles.
3) Having Good Hygiene:
Warmth and moisture in the genital area promote the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. Wash the genital area daily with warm water and unperfumed soap. Avoid using harsh cleaning products over the vagina.
4) Heat Therapy:
Itching and pain in the genital area are reduced by treating the region with a warm compress. This procedure is done by soaking a small towel in the warm water and squeezing out water from the towel before placing it on the genital skin. This treatment can be done several times a day. Always dry the area before switching to fresh clothes to avoid bacterial growth.
Vaginal pimples caused by minor irritation get cleared on their own. When it becomes worse, it is necessary to consult a doctor. Vaginal pimples caused due to contact dermatitis needs topical medications. Antihistamines help treat severe allergies. Pimples caused by molluscum contagiosum usually do not require treatment, and when it is required, topical or oral medicines can be given.
6) Avoid Popping of Vaginal Pimples:
It is good to avoid popping a vaginal pimple as it can spread bacteria and cause infection. This sensitive area gets irritated quickly and ends up making the situation worse. A pimple can become a boil when it is filled with pus and grows bigger. A person should avoid bursting or picking a bump near the genitals, and this bump has to be left alone to rupture on its own. A person can consult a doctor for further management to reduce pain.
Once the cause behind the vaginal pimple is identified, the individual should eliminate the irritant and habits that cause vaginal irritation. Recurrence of a vaginal pimple is prevented by avoiding tight clothing that causes friction.
It is good to use underwear made of cotton and avoid touching pimples often. The affected person should avoid using hot water for bathing. Avoid the use of scented soaps and bubble baths. The affected person can also ask the doctor about the safe usage of menstrual products.
In most cases, vaginal pimples clear on their own or with treatment for a few weeks. Vaginal pimples can be avoided by making some changes in the personal hygiene routine.
Last reviewed at:
27 Apr 2022 - 4 min read
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