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Bumps on Vaginal Area – Vaginal Lumps & Vaginal Bumps

Lumps and bumps over the external genitalia (the vulva) or vagina are a fairly common concern that ladies may have. These can be normal or benign, or due to infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and less commonly, due to cancers (malignancy).

Here are some of the Causes of Vaginal Lumps & Bumps:

1) Benign bumps

Causes of benign bumps in the genital region include vestibular papillomatosis, Fordyce spots, ingrown hairs and folliculitis, various cysts (sebaceous cysts, Bartholin cysts).

Vestibular papillomatosis

This is a variation of normal anatomy. Vestibular papillomatosis appears as multiple, symmetrical, tiny bumps or finger-like projections over the labia minora and vestibule (vaginal opening). This can often be mistaken for warts and may thus be an undue cause for worry but there are features which help differentiate it from warts. No treatment is required for vestibular papillomatosis. It is harmless and it is NOT due to infection and cannot be spread to your sexual partners.

Fordyce spots

These are due to enlarged oil glands, which appear as tiny (1-3mm) whitish or yellowish bumps over the labia minora. These can also occur in other parts of the body, for instance around the edges of the lips or on the penis in men. They are completely harmless and painless and are part of normal anatomy. There is no need for any treatment or worry.

Folliculitis and ingrown hairs

Ingrown hairs may manifest as bumps, particularly in someone who shaves. Both ingrown hairs, as well as hair follicles, can get infected (known as folliculitis), resulting in small, red, tender bumps. Usually, topical creams will suffice for treatment.  Good hygiene, particularly relating to hair removal, is helpful in reducing the risk of folliculitis.

Cysts

Cysts are small round bumps that can be felt underneath the skin. These may arise from structures in the skin layer itself e.g. sebaceous cysts, or from glands which are found in the genital region near the labia minora (Bartholin’s glands).

Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are the result of oil glands which get blocked. They are painless unless they become infected. Most of the time, they can be left alone—but in the event of infection or if they become too large, incision and drainage or removal may be necessary.

Bartholin Cysts

Bartholin cysts are the result of Bartholin’s glands which are blocked. These cysts can enlarge, become infected and tender. They also have a tendency to recur and a minor surgery to remove them may be required.

2) Infections and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Warts

These are caused by certain strains (type 6, 11) of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They appear as small skin-coloured bumps or irregular, cauliflower-like skin growths. They and can occur in isolation but are usually multiple. Genital warts usually appear anytime between weeks to 8 months (average 3 months) from the time of HPV infection and are highly infectious. The clinical course of warts can vary – in some individuals, genital warts may spontaneously resolve, while in others they may stay the same or increase in size and number.
The treatment of genital warts does not remove the underlying HPV infection and the only medication available against this is the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine protects against future infection but does not get rid of existing strains, so it is best to get vaccinated as soon as possible before one is exposed to more strains of HPV.
Read: Cervical Cancer, PAP SMEAR & HPV Vaccination – What you need to know

Molluscum contagiosum

This is skin infection caused by the Molluscum contagiosum virus which causes multiple small, pearly white or skin coloured bumps, sometimes with a central dimple (“central umbilication”). These are painless, non-itchy and can occur not just in the genital region but elsewhere on the body as well. The virus is spread through direct skin contact, or through contaminated clothing and towels. These lesions are harmless and will generally resolve within 6 months to a year (occasionally longer). Treatments available to address these bumps include topical medications like imiquimoid cream, freezing, and electrosurgery (laser).

Herpes

One of the stages of genital herpes is painful genital blisters – red bumps which eventually become fluid filled and later burst to form ulcers. Genital herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus which can be transmitted through secretions such as saliva or genital fluids. There is no cure for herpes, but antiviral medications are prescribed when an individual has a painful flare of blisters and ulcers.

Read: Genital Warts, Genital Blister & Genital Ulcer – Causes and Treatments
Read: Syphilis Symptoms – Painless Sores & Rashes

3) Malignancy

Vaginal cancer

Vulval or vaginal cancer are rare but serious causes of a vaginal lump or bump. These may be accompanied by other features such as persistent itching, pain, a persistent ulcer, and abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge.

Melanoma

Vaginal melanoma (a type of cancer of the skin) can appear as a pigmented lump which may be associated with itching, bleeding and pain.

Malignancies tend to occur in older women but as their symptoms can be rather nonspecific, it is best to get any abnormal lump/bump checked.

If you wish to speak to female doctors if you have experienced the above signs and symptoms, call us or email us for an appointment at hello@dtapclinic.com.

Take Care!


Other Reads:

  1. What Is the Cause & Treatment For Oral Herpes (Cold Sores)
  2. How Late Can a Period Be (Delayed Menstrual Cycle)
  3. 10 Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
  4. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
  5. What You Need to Know about HPV Vaccination, Cervical Cancer & Pap Smear
  6. Why Do I Have Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
  7. What is HPV Vaccination – Gardasil 9
  8. Sex During Period (Sex & Menstruation) What To Know

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:

  • Harmless
  • Infection or sexually-transmitted disease
  • Malignancy

 
For the most part, these lumps or bumps are harmless. The following conditions fall under this group.
 

1.) Cysts

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

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.
 

Bartholin Cysts

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:

  • Electrosurgery
  • 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.
 

What are some of the causes of Bleeding after Sex (Post Coital Bleeding)?

5. Folliculitis

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)
 

7. Syphilis

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.
 
Take Care!

Other Interesting Reads:

    1. What You Need To Know about HPV, Cervical Cancer, Pap Smear & HPV Vaccination
    2. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
    3. What is HPV Vaccination (Gardasil 9)
    4. 10 Causes of abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
    5. An Overview of Gonorrhoea
    6. What is the Treatment for Cold Sores? What causes Cold Sores?