Vaginal Swelling: What Are the Common Causes?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
Vaginal Swelling

What Are the Common Causes of Vaginal Swelling?

Vaginal swelling and irritation will effect almost all women at least once in their lives, and can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. The swelling is often accompanied by vaginal discharge, itching, and even a burning sensation. There are several different things that can cause this problem, and it is necessary to know what the cause is before you can begin treatment.

What is Vaginal Swelling?

The term vaginal swelling generally refers to the area in and around the vagina and the vaginal opening. When part of this delicate area begins to show signs of swelling, it is referred to as an edema. An edema is simply the body’s natural response to injury or infection. When small blood vessels begin to leak tiny amounts of fluid, the extra liquid causes the surrounding tissue to swell. During infection and cases of inflammation, an edema can be beneficial. The extra fluid that is leaked into the tissue also carries the white blood cells that help to fight infections. Vaginal swelling is often uncomfortable, and is often experienced with other symptoms.

Common Causes of Vaginal Swelling

There are several different causes of vaginal swelling, and can include everything from medications to sexual lubricants and condoms. While some causes can be easy to find and diagnose, others can be more difficult, some of the more common causes of vaginal swelling can include,

  • Using Feminine Products Containing Harsh Chemicals and Heavy Perfumes
    The vagina is sensitive and has a delicate ph balance. When the ph balance is interrupted, harmful bacteria can spread. Not only can these irritants cause vaginal swelling, they can also cause certain infections to develop. Laundry detergents and bath soaps should also be free from any perfumes or heavy chemicals.
  • Tight Fitting Clothes
    Clothes that are tight fitting or made from synthetic material can cause vaginal swelling to develop. The delicate ph balance that exists in that area can easily be disrupted allowing harmful bacteria to grow unchecked. Wearing looser fitting, cotton undergarments can dramatically decrease* your risk of developing vaginal swelling or other more serious conditions.
  • An Older Tampon or Other Foreign Object
    In a woman’s busy and hectic life, it is possible to forget about an inserted tampon or perhaps a lost condom. While it does not happen often, these forgotten or stuck objects can cause severe swelling and even infection. If at any time you experience this problem, it is important to see your health care provider immediately.

Other common causes of vaginal swelling can also be attributed to excessive vaginal douching, and even certain sexual positions. Moving in between vaginal and anal intercourse without washing, can lead to infection and vaginal swelling. Other causes can also include contracting a sexually transmitted disease. If you or your partner believe that an STD may be involved, all sexual activity should cease until a health care professional has treated and cleared you for sexual intercourse. Certain vaginal infections can also cause vaginal swelling including vaginosis, vaginal yeast infections, and even herpes. While cysts and abscesses can cause swelling on only part of the vaginal area.

Knowing What is Causing The Swelling?

Vaginal swelling is often accompanied by other symptoms which can include vaginal discharges. A woman’s normal discharge can be either clear, off-white, or white in color and can also vary in consistency. While every woman’s may be slightly different, her own should rarely change. Slight changes in vaginal discharge during menstruation is normal though. Otherwise, it can be a sign or infection or another medical condition.

Treating Vaginal Swelling

Treating vaginal swelling will depend on the cause. Swelling that is caused by cysts or abscesses will have to be opened and drained. Antibiotics will often be used after they are drained, and to treat* most yeast and bacterial vaginal infections. Antiviral and antifungal remedies can also be used to treat* some of the other causes. For the more common causes of vaginal swelling, simply changing your feminine hygiene products may be all that is required. Over the counter creams and ointments are also available to help provide relief from the swelling and irritation.

No matter the cause of the vaginal swelling and irritation, it can be a painful and embarrassing condition. For some cases, a simple change of lifestyle can take care of the problem, while in other instances it can be a sign of a more serious condition. Vaginal swelling, irritation and discharge is actually more common than most women realize, and if it is caught early enough treatment is normally quick and easy.

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Expert Author : Mark Simms (Consumer Health Digest)

Mark Simms is a prolific freelance health and beauty writer, independent researcher with a long history and expertise of providing reliable and relatable health content for magazines, newsletters, websites including blogs and journals. He also enjoy exploring men’s and women’s health category writing articles about sex and relationships, product review and providing information on sexual health.

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