10 Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
Some women may develop lumps or bumps in the vaginal area sometime during their lives.
The severity of the condition, indicated by these lumps and bumps, can be classified into three categories:
- Infection or sexually-transmitted disease
For the most part, these lumps or bumps are harmless. The following conditions fall under this group.
Cysts can occur anywhere in the body. They are sacs, that range in size, filled with liquid or other substances. In the vaginal area, these cysts are usually benign and painless unless infected. It would feel like a small pebble just underneath the skin of the vulva.
There are two kinds of cysts:
Sebaceous cysts result from the blocked hair follicles and ingrown hair when shaving or waxing. Most of these cysts do not require treatment and can be ignored if it does not cause any problems. However, some may need a small incision if they enlarge or become infected.
When the Bartholin gland (a gland in the vaginal and vulva region) becomes blocked and swells, this will cause a Bartholin cyst to form. The cyst is also harmless unless it becomes infected and turns into an abscess (a swollen area containing pus). In such cases, a trial of antibiotics usually is effective. In some cases, minor surgery may be necessary.
2.) Molluscum Contagiosum
A virus called pox virus causes molluscum contagiosum. It is a skin infection which causes multiple tiny bumps to spread across the area of infected skin. These harmless bumps or raised lesions are pearly white to skin-coloured and will eventually vanish after 1-2 years.
Molluscum contagiosum commonly appears in children and other parts of their bodies. However, it may pose as a sign of an STD when it occurs in adults. It is then advised for these people to get tested for other STDs.
Effective treatment options available to cure this particular type of molluscum contagiosum include:
- Freezing (liquid nitrogen)
- Topical cream
3.) Vestibular Papillomatosis
VP is a skin condition whereby multiple shiny small papules appear over the skin of the inner labia and vaginal opening. Similar to pearly penile papules (PPP) in men, VP is a normal variant of female genitalia; therefore treatment is not necessary.
It should be noted that Vestibular Papillomatosis is commonly mistaken for genital warts because of their similar appearance. Genital wart is a type of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). Therefore it is essential to have a correct diagnosis of the condition as a measure to prevent undue stress or prolonged deterioration. Our doctors are able to distinguish between both conditions.
4.) Fordyce Spots
Fordyce spots are enlarged oil glands materialising as small white to yellow lumps over the inner labia. These spots can also appear on the lining of the mouth and occasionally on the penis in men. They are completely painless and harmless.
The condition where lumps and bumps associated with an infection is folliculitis. Other conditions that are STD-related include genital warts, syphilis and herpes.
Folliculitis is the skin condition where the hair follicles in the labia region become inflamed and infected, causing tender red spots containing pus to surface. The hair follicles become inflamed from bacterial, fungal or even viral infection (e.g. herpes), due to situations that irritate ingrown hair, like shaving or waxing. The treatment is dependent on the type of infection.
6.) Genital Warts
Genital wart is a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), usually, type 6 and 11. Genital warts present as small, skin-coloured cauliflower-like bumps that can either develop into one single lump or more commonly into multiple lumps. Genital warts are highly contagious through skin-to-skin contact.
Depending on the individual, the HPV warts may go away, remain present or spread and increase in amount. Even without developing these warts, the individual can still be a carrier of the HPV virus.
There are HPV vaccinations now available to protect you from certain strains of HPV including type 6 and 11.
(The new Gardasil 9 HPV Vaccination is available in all our clinics in Singapore and Malaysia)
Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease that is caused by a bacterial infection. From this, a chancre, a painless sore, will appear in the genital or mouth area. The sore can eventually go away untreated in a few weeks. However, this will lead to the development of severe complications because the infection remains.
Please click here to find out more about syphilis, including treatment options.
8.) Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a contagious sexually-transmitted disease appearing as multiple painful blisters or ulcers clustered in the genital area. The infection can spread quickly to sexual partners, even with the use of condoms.
Although there is currently no cure for the infection, there are different treatments, like antiviral medications, to prevent and control recurring outbreaks of blisters.
Lumps and bumps can also be a malignant growth, and potentially a sign of cancer.
9.) Vaginal Cancer
Vaginal or vulvar cancer can be presented as a lump or bump in the vaginal region. Besides the lumps, this type of cancer is also accompanied by other symptoms, including:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pain during intercourse
In such cases, a pelvic examination and pap smear are done to look for any red flags. A pelvic examination and a pap smear test is done to check for signs of early changes and cancer.
If the results are positive, the doctor will then discuss the next steps for treatment.
10.) Vaginal Melanoma
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer arising from pigmented cells. 2% of melanoma are diagnosed in the vagina or vulva. This cancer is more prevalent in women older than 50.
Vaginal melanoma appears as a pigmented lump in the vaginal area. Other non-specific symptoms include itching, bleeding and pain.
If you are experiencing Abnormal Vaginal Lumps & Bumps, it is highly recommended to visit our female doctors at our Women Clinics as soon as possible.
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