You go to the bathroom after waking up, and things are not as they should be. For some reason, you realize that you have a swollen vaginal area. The vaginal lips like the labia minora and the labia majora have become swollen, and the tissues have become engorged. If this sounds like something you are experiencing, you are not alone. Although most people do not talk about vaginal changes, it is an entirely normal experience to go through. There might not be anything serious behind it, but there is always a chance that you may have to the doctor.
Some of the Common Reasons Why Swollen Vaginal Areas Happen
From time to time, you may have to deal with a vaginal or cervical inflection. If you have cervicitis, then your vaginal lips will become swollen. Likewise, a yeast infection may also be the cause behind swelling. Skin conditions like cellulitis can cause pain or swelling of the vulva. If you believe that you might have an infection, you need to get medical care right away. A doctor can prescribe medication or an ointment that can help. If you have an infection and let it go untreated, it can ultimately lead to an abscess or other medical ailment, so you should always get it treated right away.
Edema is a fancy medical term for water retention. When you have edema, your body is retaining water for some reason. This could be due to cardiovascular problems, a high salt intake, pregnancy, diabetes or a number of other conditions. Whatever the cause is, the edema makes your veins and lymphatic system stop draining properly. This can cause your pelvic veins, uterus and vaginal tissue to become enlarged.
Allergens and Irritations
Many people have mild allergies without realizing it. Certain chemicals, soaps, creams, lubricants, bubble baths and condoms may be irritating the tissue surrounding your vagina. Soaps, certain chemicals in condoms and bubble baths are especially common irritants. There is also always the possibility that you could be mildly or severely allergic to the latex or other chemicals in the condoms. If you are allergic, you may develop swelling due to a condition known as allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis. If an allergen is the cause, you will have to identify it before you can start to cut it out of your life.
An Abscess or Cyst
At times, you may develop an abscess or cyst. This could be due to a physical injury, birth trauma or something else. You have ducts called Gartner’s ducts that are a part of fetal development, and these can become inflamed or develop cysts when you give birth. Bartholin’s glands around your vaginal opening can also be a site of tumors, cysts or abscesses. If a cyst or abscess is the cause of your swollen vaginal area, you will normally need to seek medical treatment to heal it.
Other Potential Causes
The previous causes are the most common, but there are some other unusual causes that could be the source of your problems. Straddle injuries, a cancerous tumor or rough intercourse could also be the source of your problem.
Pregnancy: It is normal during pregnancy for the veins to expand because your uterus is expanding and growing baby.
Heart Failure: If your heart is not working properly, fluids cannot be removed from your body’s tissue and this can lead to swelling.
Venous Insufficiency: This condition is caused when you have poor blood flow through your veins.
Fournier’s Gangrene: Fournier’s Gangrene is a type of bacterial infection that focuses on the genitals before expanding to the gastrointestinal tract and the urinary system. If this is the cause, you need to get medical help right away because it could become life threatening.
Lymphedema: Like edema, this condition causes water retention and swelling. It basically is a medical term that means that some of your lymphatic vessels are blocked or damaged.
You should always get medical help if your swelling is the result of a life threatening condition. You should also get help if you have severe pain or a fever more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Any uncontrolled vaginal bleeding that causes a pad to be soaked in an hour for more than two hours or bleeding while pregnant are also signs that you need the help of a doctor.
Treating a Swollen Vaginal Area
If you have a swollen vagina, your first step is to call your doctor. This condition can be caused for many reasons, and you will always want a doctor’s help if it is accompanied by an illness or lasts for longer than a week.
Avoid Irritants: If condoms, creams or soap is the cause, make sure to avoid them during and after healing.
Skip Out on Sex: While your genitals are healing, you will want to abstain from having sex.
Try Medication: Take any medication that is prescribed by your doctor. Antibiotics, anti-fungal treatments or creams may be given to treat a bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted disease.
Use Lukewarm Water : Toilet paper can cause further irritation, so you may want to wipe with lukewarm water to help soothe the affected area. Sleeping without underwear or pants can also help to air out and heal the affected region.