Bumps in Vaginal Area: 9 Common Causes & What to Do

Updated in February 2024

Bumps in the vagina are are almost always a sign of inflammation of the Bartholin's or Skene's glands, which serve to lubricate the vaginal canal. However, bumps also be associated with more mild conditions, such as an ingrown hair or a pimple.

If the bump in the vagina causes symptoms such as itching, burning or pain, it may also be a sign of a more serious problem that require medical treatment, such as a varicose vein, herpes or even cancer.

Therefore, if you notice any abnormalities in the vaginal area that take more than one week to disappear or cause a lot of discomfort, you should consult a gynecologist for assessment and treatment as necessary.

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What causes bumps in the vaginal area?

1. Ingrown hair

Women who wax, tweeze or shave their pubic hair have an increased risk for developing an ingrown hairs in the area. This can lead to folliculitis, which presents as a small pimple or red lump that hurts. Typically, this type of lump also has a whitish central region, due to the accumulation of pus under the skin.

Also recommended: Folliculitis: Symptoms, Types, Causes & Treatment tuasaude.com/en/folliculitis

What to do: You should wait for the pus to be reabsorbed by the body. You should never pop the pimple, as it increases the risk of infection. To relieve symptoms, you can apply a hot compress to the area and avoid wearing tight underwear. If the pain worsens or the region becomes very hot or swollen, you should go to the gynecologist to assess the need for using an antibiotic ointment.

Check-out other ways to get rid of ingrown hair with home remedies and other treatments.

2. Vaginal pimple

Although it is not very common, a large pimple can appear and become inflamed in many areas, like the vulva, groin, at the entrance to the vagina or on the labia majora or minora. These can cause pain and discomfort.

What to do: You should not try to squeeze any pimples or use any medicine or cosmetics without speaking to your doctor. You should see a gynecologist for assessment and treatment. In some cases it may be necessary to use a corticosteroid ointment and take a sitz bath using rosehip oil, which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. In more serious cases, antibiotic ointments can be prescribed.

3. Boil

A boil is an infection caused by bacteria and causes pain and intense discomfort. They can also appear in the groin, on the labia majora or at the entrance to the vagina, initially as an ingrown hair, that then becomes infected with bacteria.

What to do: Treatment involves the use of warm compresses and antibiotic ointments to prevent the boil from worsening and forming an abscess. In this case, the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics, or drain the abscess to remove all its contents.

Check-out tips for treating a boil at home.

4. Inflamed Bartholin or Skene glands

There are several types of glands in the vulva that help keep the area lubricated and clean. Two of these glands are the Bartholin glands and Skene glands. 

When these glands become inflamed from bacteria or poor hygiene, a nodule may appear in the external region of the vagina which can be palpated or felt during sex.

What to do: In most cases, the inflammation of these glands resolves within a few days of adequate hygiene. However, if the swelling increases or if pain or pus are present, you are advised to see a gynecologist, who may prescribe anti-inflammatories, antibiotics or painkillers.

5. Vaginal cyst

Vaginal cysts are small pockets that can develop along the walls of the vaginal canal. They are generally caused by injuries during sex or from accumulation of fluids in the glands. They generally do not cause symptoms but can be felt as lumps or nodules inside the vagina.

A very common type of vaginal cyst is the Gartner cyst, which is more common after pregnancy and appears due to the accumulation of fluid within a canal that develops during pregnancy. This canal normally disappears postpartum, although in some women it can remain and become inflamed.

What to do: Vaginal cysts normally do not need any specific treatment, and usually only monitored for growth or new symptoms by your doctor. 

6. Varicose veins on the vulva

Although they are rarer, varicose veins can also develop in the genital area, especially after childbirth or with natural aging. In these cases, the lump may be slightly purple in color. They do not typically cause pain, but they may cause slight itching, tingling or discomfort.

What to do: Varicose veins that appear during pregnancy do not usually require treatment, as varicose veins tend to resolve after childbirth. In other cases, varicose veins that are bothersome can be surgically repaired.

7. Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that can be acquired through unprotected intimate oral, genital or anal sex. Symptoms include fever, pain and itchiness, which may disappear and return later, especially when the immune system is weakened. Read more about the symptoms of genital herpes and how it presents.

What to do: There is no specific treatment for genital herpes, as the virus is fought by the immune system. However, when symptoms are very intense, the gynecologist may advise the use of an antiviral, such as Acyclovir or Valacyclovir. 

Also recommended: 10 Most Common STI's, Treatment, How to Treat & Is It Cure tuasaude.com/en/sti

8. Genital warts

Genital warts are also a type of sexually transmitted disease that can be transmiitted through unprotected sex. In addition to small lumps in the vagina, visible cauliflower-like lesions may also appear, which can cause itching or burning.

What to do: There is no cure for genital warts, however the doctor can remove the warts with procedures like cryotherapy, microsurgery or acid application. Read more about the different ways to treat genital warts.

9. Gartner's cyst

A gartner's cyst is a type of cyst that develops in the vaginal walls of the vagina. It is generally uncommon, and occurs due to congenital malformations during that occurred during pregnancy.

During development, the fetus has a Gartner's canal, which is responsible for forming the urinary and reproductive tract. In general, this canal disappears naturally after birth, but in some cases it remains and leads to the formation of the cyst, which can be asymptomatic and small. 

What to do: Treatment is only indicated when the cyst grows and starts to cause symptoms or complications, such as incontinence or urinary tract infections. In these cases, the doctor may advise surgical removal of the cyst.

What is a bump on the labia?

A bump on the vaginal labia can be caused by a pimple, ingrown hair, bartholinitis or be a sign of benign tumors, such as senile angioma or vulvar keratoacanthoma.

A bump on the vaginal lips can also appear due to cancer in the vulva.