6 Common Causes Of Vaginal Swelling

How uncomfortable it might sound and feel but swelling around the vaginal region is something which no female wants to experience but vaginal swelling does occur and in fact many common conditions can actually cause it. Vaginal swelling is almost always accompanied by pain and discomfort which makes it tough for a female to carry out many activities. The collection of conditions that cause irritation and swelling around the vaginal and vulva is termed as vulvovaginitis. While trauma or injury around the vaginal area is believed to be the primary cause of swelling of the vagina, it can also be caused due to infections or at times sexually transmitted diseases. A physician should be consulted if the swelling does not improve or worsens to rule out something far more serious than anticipated [1].

However, it is quite rare for swelling of the vagina to point to something serious. Many females with swelling of the vagina assume that they may have contracted a yeast infection but it is not the only cause for it. It may also be caused due to allergies, cyst formation, or even sexual intercourse without adequate lubrication of the vagina.

The vaginal swelling is treated depending on what is actually causing it. Explained below in detail are 6 causes of vaginal swelling [1].

6 Common Causes Of Vaginal Swelling

6 Common Causes Of Vaginal Swelling

Allergy: This is the primary cause of vaginal swelling. The allergies may be due to soap, lotions, or even the fabric with which the undergarments they wear is made up of. Certain lubricants also can cause an allergic reaction resulting in vaginal swelling. Some females are sensitive to sanitary pads which may also result in an allergic reaction causing vaginal swelling [2].

Condoms are also one of the sources of allergy causing vaginal swelling. If a female recognizes that her vaginal swelling is as a result of an allergic reaction then it is advisable to avoid the product or switch to an alternative [2].

Irritation: Vaginal irritation is yet another cause of vaginal swelling. This is usually caused due to chemicals in certain products. At times, using an old razor to shave off the pubic hairs also can cause irritation of the skin around the vagina resulting in vaginal swelling. The fragrances used in detergents, toilet paper, and body washes all can cause vaginal irritation [2].

Wearing a polyester undergarment is also a source of irritation of the skin around the vagina. Wearing it throughout the day also causes increased friction further irritating the skin causing vaginal swelling. It is important to find about the offending agent. This can be done by stopping use of a certain product and observing the area for resolution of the swelling [2].

This way the product that results in decrease in swelling is the one that is causing the irritation. If a female is not able to identify the irritant then a consultation with a dermatologist should be done who will conduct various tests to find out the culprit and start treatment for it [2].

Sexual Intercourse: Having a sexual intercourse without adequate lubrication results in irritation around the vaginal region due to friction. This at times causes the vagina to swell. Additionally, the female will also experience dyspareunia as a result of lack of lubrication. At times, there may also be a tear or excessive stretching of the vaginal tissues which increases the likelihood of an infection [2].

If sexual intercourse is believed to be the cause of vaginal swelling then it is recommended to either use a lubricant or indulge in foreplay to make the vagina lubricated enough for a smoother penetration and prevent irritation and swelling of the vagina. To control the pain caused due to swelling then taking over-the-counter pain medications or NSAIDs should be effective enough [2].

Gartner Cyst: A Gartner duct forms during the development of a fetus when the sexual organs of the baby are developing. These ducts disappear after the delivery of the child. However, in some cases these ducts do not go away and the remaining tissues may develop into a cyst. This is called as gartner’s Duct Cyst. These cysts are usually benign and not a cause for worry [2].

However, they can cause symptoms if they start to grow or get infected. This is what causes vaginal swelling. These cysts can also be at times visibile when they start to grow outside of the vagina. This condition is normally treated with surgery to drain the cyst and remove the excess tissue [2].

Bartholin’s Cysts: The Bartholin glands are located on either side of the vagina. The function of these glands is to lubricate the vagina during sexual arousal and intercourse. Often at times, cyst grows in these glands. Normally, they are not a cause of concern but if the cyst gets infected and an abscess forms then it causes swelling of the vagina. There is also inflammation and pain around the vagina along with bleeding [2].

A small abscess generally drains spontaneously but it is large enough the surgery may have to be done to drain the abscess. The procedure will be followed by administration of antibiotics to prevent spread of the infection [2].

Cellulitis: It is a common bacterial infection that develops in the inner layers of the skin. When this occurs in the vaginal area then it results in swelling of this region. There will also be associated erythema and tenderness. The bacteria causing cellulitis usually enters the skin through a cut or a bruise such that one that is sustained while shaving the pubic hairs [2].

It is therefore recommended to clear a cut and bruise immediately with soap and water or apply a disinfectant to prevent infection from settling in. In case, if cellulitis develops, then a course of antibiotics will be administrated to clear the infection [2].

In conclusion, in majority of the cases vaginal swelling is not a cause of concern and can be treated easily. However, if the female is having significant problem due to the swelling then a physician will have to be consulted to identify a cause and start treatment for it. This should be especially done if there are other symptoms that point towards an infection or if there is excruciating pain along with the swelling [2].

If a female feels that she may contracted a sexually transmitted infection then physician should be consulted for immediate treatment. For treatment to start, it is essential to identify a cause. For this, the physician will conduct a detailed physical examination of the area. There will also be laboratory analysis done to check if any chemical allergens are the cause of the swelling [2].

In most cases, it is quite easy to treat vaginal swelling with over the counter medications and creams. However, in cases where a cyst or an abscess is the reason behind the swelling then a surgery will have to be done to drain the cyst or abscess followed by administration of antibiotics in case the abscess or the cyst is infected. This is most cases resolves the symptoms of vaginal swelling. Homecare products that may be responsible for vaginal swelling should be identified first and avoided completely [2].

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