Swollen Vaginal Area: What Can Cause Swelling Around Vaginal Area?

A swollen vaginal area is a condition where there can be swelling of not only the vagina, but also the lips of the vagina, i.e. labia majora or minora. Regardless of where the swelling has occurred, it is important to find out why and get treatment as soon as possible. There are different causes for a swollen vaginal area and they depend on which region is affected, how the swelling appears and other related symptoms.

Treatment is done according to the cause of swelling in the vaginal area.

Swollen Vaginal Area: What Can Cause Swelling Around Vaginal Area?

What Can Cause Swelling Around Vaginal Area

  • Edema is a generalized swelling surrounding the vagina and occurs on both the sides. This is known as edematous swelling. This commonly occurs due to improper drainage of the veins in that area or improper drainage of the lymphatic system. Some of the reasons for this occurring can be pregnancy or any condition which leads to an enlarged uterus and puts pressure on the veins of the pelvis.
  • Irritation or any type of allergy is one of the commonest causes for swelling in the vaginal area. Irritation or allergic reaction can occur from chemicals (soaps), vaginal contraceptives, sprays, lubricants, creams or bubble baths. Swelling in the vaginal area can also occur from soaps or chemicals, which have been in use for years. Using latex condoms can also cause an allergic reaction. If there is any chemical irritation without allergic reaction, then there may be swelling of the vulvar region.
  • Abscesses or cysts can also cause swelling around vaginal area and appear as specific swollen regions attached to the vaginal wall. These abscesses or cysts can develop from different causes, such as trauma from birth. Abscesses or cysts can also develop around Gartner’s ducts, occur as a part of fetal development and resolve after birth. There are also some vaginal tumors which cause formation of cysts and infection of the Bartholin’s glands, which are present on both the sides of the vaginal opening resulting in abscesses.
  • Infection of the cervix or vagina can also cause swelling of the vaginal lips. Other than the swelling, these infections can also cause other symptoms which develop before the swelling. Yeast infection can cause swelling in the vagina. There are certain skin conditions such as cellulitis, which will often cause a swollen vulva and acute pain. If these infections are not treated properly, then they can lead to abscesses.

Others causes for a swollen vaginal region include rough intercourse, straddle injuries and cancerous or benign vaginal tumor.

Given below are some Uncommon Causes of Swollen Vagina:

  • Heart failure occurs when there is deterioration in the heart’s function and insufficient pumping of blood.
  • Fournier’s gangrene is a bacterial infection of the genitals which spreads throughout the body from the gastrointestinal or urinary tracts and is extremely fatal.
  • Lymphedema is the swelling which occurs as a result of blocked or damaged lymphatic vessel.
  • Venous insufficiency is a condition where there is poor blood circulation throughout the veins.
  • Pregnancy causes increased compression of the veins due to the uterus growing in size.

Symptoms which Require Immediate Medical Attention:

  • Bleeding, even mild spotting, in pregnancy.
  • Extremely severe pain.
  • Fever which is more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Uncontrollable bleeding from the vagina where the patient is soaking through more than one sanitary pad in an hour or two.

Treatment for Swollen Vaginal Area

There are different causes for a swollen vaginal area and treatment depends on the cause. If the swelling in the vagina is persistent and lasts for more than a week along with pain and discomfort, then it imperative medical attention is sought immediately.

  • Treatment for swelling around vaginal area caused due to yeast infection comprises of anti-fungal medication administered either orally or vaginally.
  • For bacterial infections, antibiotic pills and creams are prescribed.
  • Medicines are prescribed accordingly for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Lukewarm water should be used for a bath and when using restroom. If there is severe swelling in the vagina, then patient should avoid using a toilet paper and instead should rinse with lukewarm water. Sleeping without any bottom nightwear also helps, as it airs out the vaginal area.
  • If the cause of the swollen vaginal area is any chemical or irritant then that irritant should be avoided. The swelling could be from soaps or detergent, so it is better to switch to a different brand. Also, a fragrance-free laundry detergent should be used.
  • Scratching the affected region should be avoided, as this will hinder the healing process.
  • Patient should also abstain from sexual intercourse until the vaginal region is completely healed.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 23, 2019

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