The vagina and vulva are sensitive parts of the anatomy and there are several reasons why they can develop swelling.
Swelling of the vagina , the inside of the genitalia anatomy, can be associated with an infection, a cyst, or even sexual arousal. Swelling of the vulva , the outer part of the genitalia anatomy (including the labia minora and majora), can also have a variety of causes. Vulvar edema can be caused by irritation, infection, sex, or allergies.
What Causes a Swollen Vagina or Vulva?
There are several reasons why someone can develop swelling in the vagina or vulva. Usually they can be divided into infectious and non-infectious causes.
Non-infectious causes of genital edema include irritation and irritation caused by an allergic reaction. It can be caused by the type of underwear or menstrual supplies you wear, laundry detergent, or other local irritants. Irritation from sex can sometimes also lead to swelling of the vulva or vagina.
Not all vaginal edema is abnormal. For example, it is natural for the vagina and vulva to swell when sexually aroused. Other types of vaginal swelling, such as cycle irritation, can heal on their own.
However, if your symptoms last for more than a couple of days, see your doctor. They can help you determine the cause of your symptoms. You can then develop a treatment or prevention plan.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
For more information on the specific reasons why you may have a swollen vagina or vulva, see below.
Irritation or allergy
Irritation from something your skin has come in contact with can cause vulvar swelling. Friction and moisture on the skin can cause swelling. Contact dermatitis is a more specific type of skin reaction to an irritant.
Lastly, allergies can sometimes lead to bloating. Some elements that can cause allergies or other reactions of the vulva and vagina include:
- Soap powder
- Bath foam
- Body soap
- Spermicides and Sex Lubricants
- Latex condoms
- Towels, tampons and other products for the menstrual cycle
Pay attention to vaginal irritation after making changes to your hygiene practices. You may have a reaction to a new soap or product. Likewise, if you experience bloating during your period, be sure to use the correct menstrual products and change them as recommended .
Various infections can cause swelling of the vagina; not all are necessarily sexually transmitted. Infections that can irritate the vagina and vulva include:
New lesions or ulcers that appear on the vulva are always a reason to see a doctor. However, many people suffer from recurrent bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections. Because yeast can be treated with over-the-counter medications, some people may seek treatment on their own.
However, not everything is a yeast infection. If you think you have frequent yeast infections and over-the-counter treatments aren't working, see your doctor. Something else may be going on, and only the right treatment will help.
Sex can make the vagina swell, both for fun and entertainment. Sexual arousal causes swelling of the vagina and vulva as blood flow increases. This is normal and healthy. The edema of sexual arousal should disappear within a couple of hours after the cessation of sexual activity and arousal.
Sometimes sex can also be irritating and cause bloating, which is not so pleasant. Using proper lubrication during sex can help reduce the risk of this type of edema. Prolonged or harsh intercourse can also lead to swelling. It's okay if that's what you like. Otherwise, it is appropriate to ask your partner to stop.
If you have been sexually assaulted or forced to have sex , you will receive help. Talk to a qualified healthcare professional or seek help at your local rape crisis center.
Get help after an attack
The Rape and Incest National Network (RAINN) is an organization that supports people who have suffered sexual abuse. Among other types of support, they offer a national sexual assault hotline. The hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), is available 24 hours a day, free and confidential.
In addition to a direct phone line, RAINN offers free and confidential live chat support on its website. They also have educational materials on how to prevent and recover from sexual abuse.
If you think you need to call the HOPE hotline, call. Trained support operators are ready to help you get the help you need. There is no judgment. There's just help connecting you to support, healthcare, and local authorities, if you want.
During pregnancy, many changes occur in the body. One of these can be vulvar edema. As your pregnancy progresses, blood flow to the entire pelvis increases. This can lead to swelling of the vagina. Circulatory problems that often occur during pregnancy can also affect the vulva.
If you experience swelling of the feet, legs, and vulva, it may help to talk to your doctor about how to treat it. You may need to keep your legs straight, wear compression clothing, or make other more substantial changes. You should also see your doctor if the swelling is severe, sudden, or does not go away after rest.
A cyst is defined as an abnormal accumulation of fluid. There are several types of cysts that can manifest as swelling in the vagina and vulva.
The Bartholin glands help lubricate the vagina. They are located near the opening of the vagina and can sometimes become blocked due to infection or for some other reason. When this happens, Bartholin cysts can develop. Although they may not always need treatment, you should see your doctor if they hurt or if you have a fever or other signs of infection.
Gartner duct cysts are another common type of vaginal cyst. They are found in the tissue remnants of the Wolffian ducts , which develop into the epididymis, vas deferens, and seminal vesicles during fetal development under the influence of testosterone. These cysts do not require treatment unless they cause unpleasant symptoms or other problems.
Rubbing can also cause swelling of the vagina and vulva. Rubbing is another rubbing word that causes irritation. Exercises such as cycling, which put prolonged pressure and tension on these tissues, can irritate the genitals. Chafing can also occur from pants or underwear that are too tight.
If rubbing causes vaginal swelling, it may be enough to change your behavior. You may need to change your clothes or use a skin lubricant made for exercise.
If your edema is related to cycling, you may also want to consider exploring different types of bike seats. However, as you get used to driving frequently, the irritation and discomfort may continue.
It is recommended that you shower and change after your workout. This removes sweat and dirt from irritated skin. It also gives you a chance to dry off, reducing the risk of problems during the day.
Relieve vaginal swelling
A cold compress can ease the discomfort of a swollen vagina. Resting and lifting the legs and hips can also help more generally. However, effective treatment depends on understanding the cause. What is good for one type of edema may increase the irritation of another.
As practice shows, if any product or action causes vulvar edema, stopping your use / activities will help. Also stop using any products that you think might irritate your vagina. If you think the swelling is due to certain exercises, consider taking a day or two off.
If you think a vaginal swelling is causing an infection, talk to your doctor. They can diagnose and prescribe the appropriate treatment. People who often get yeast infections can treat them on their own, but not all vaginal infections are caused by yeast.
If you are unsure of the cause of vaginal swelling, you may want to refrain from sex until the cause is identified. This will reduce the risk of passing the sexually transmitted infection to your partner. It will also reduce the risk of further irritation caused by sexual activity.
When to contact a healthcare provider
A swollen vagina does not necessarily require a visit to a doctor. However, in some circumstances, swelling of the vagina or vulva should prompt you to seek medical attention. These include cases where vaginal edema is accompanied by:
- Changes in vaginal discharge, especially if there is an unpleasant odor and / or irritation symptoms.
- Ulcers or other visible lesions.
- Painful urination or sexual intercourse.
- Pain that makes it difficult to function.
You should consider talking to your doctor if the swelling does not go away within a few days, even if there are no more troublesome symptoms. They will be able to detect an infection or other condition that requires treatment. They can also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers if needed.