Check-Up: Her vaginal lips are swollen

July 02, 2018

Mic asks Check Up why her vulva (vaginal lips) is swollen. She has noticed a bump inside of one side, which is also reddened and a little tender. She has been bathing the area with warm salt water daily. She said that she doesn't have any noticeable discharge or any other problems.


Mic sounds like she could have a Bartholin's cyst in her labia. The vulva is an area with plenty glands which secrete lubricating secretions, especially during sexual excitement. Sometimes the exit duct of a gland becomes blocked and the gland swells producing the Bartholin's cyst, which is painless at first, but as the gland becomes distended, it can become painful. This pain can worsen significantly if the duct becomes infected and forms an abscess. However, there are several causes of vulvar swelling:

- Sometimes a hernia occurs which tracts a loop of bowel down into the vulva, causing it to swell. This swelling is usually painless and becomes more marked with long standing.

- An abscess can also form directly on the surface of the vulva due to on infected hair root or insect bite.

- Another cause of vulvar swelling is if you are allergic to products which you apply or use in contact with the area, for example, panty shields, soaps, clothing.

- If vulvar swelling occurs after sex and you used condoms or lubricating gel, one of these products could be the culprit.

- Vulvo-vaginitis, which is an infection of the vulva and vagina, can also, at times, result in swollen vulvas. This can occur after a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis or an infection with Trichomonas. All conditions are treatable.

- Pregnancy, where the growing uterus puts pressure on pelvic blood vessels.

- There are more serious causes of vulvar swelling such as blockage of lymphatic drainage from the vulva.

- Sexual abuse in children.

- Wearing tight pants can abrade the vulva and can result in vulvar swelling.

As a practice, wear only loose cotton underwear and loose clothing to the lower body when experiencing this kind of problem. Uncommonly, but worth noting is that some women are allergic to semen. See your doctor to check this out! It can be managed. All the conditions discussed are treatable, but conditions like Bartholin's cysts, hernias, infections and lymphedema usually need to be treated by your doctor. Moms, relatives, try not to miss the swollen vulva sign in abused young girls. They need help, and this condition should be reported to the police.

Mic should go see her doctor. She needs proper assessment and prescribed treatment.

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