What are vaginal bumps?
Bumps on the vagina are among the early symptoms of STDs in most women. However, not all bumps on the vagina are unusual or mean one is infected with an STD. Some women may be alarmed by finding bumps that have always been there and are harmless.
Vaginal bumps that cannot be passed sexually:
- Infected hair follicles
- Infected oil glands
- Ingrown hairs
- Aggravated pores due to shaving
- Friction with clothing
- Allergic reactions to soaps, lotions, or lubricants
When are vaginal bumps abnormal?
STDs are known to cause lesions, pimples, sores and bumps around the vagina. Bumps that result from STDs can be painful and itchy or painless. Bumps that appear around the genitals a few weeks or days after sexual contact are highly likely to be caused by an STD. The only way to know your STD status is to take a comprehensive STD test.
STDs that cause vaginal bumps
Molluscum contagiosum, HPV, and genital herpes can result in different vaginal bumps. HPV and genital herpes have no cure yet. It is possible that genital herpes will not cause any symptoms or outbreaks after being contracted. It might stay dormant for years before any symptoms show. This is why there are many people living with the virus but are not aware. A herpes outbreak comes with pain full round bumps on the labia and vulva and can sometimes be in the vagina. The sores are full of clear fluid which oozes out eventually and the sores heal on their own. There are cases where these sores are confused for syphilis sores which makes getting tested an important process. Genital herpes is caused by HSV-2 in most cases, but can also result from a HSV-1 infection. The outbreaks are lifelong but there are medications that can reduce or eliminate them.
HPV is also linked to small bumps which are referred to as genital warts. These can appear on the groin area or the vagina. Unlike genital herpes sores the warts will not clear on their own. HPV is known to increase risks of cervical cancer and can also cause cancer of the throat, anus, vulva, and vagina. Though HPV has no cure, it is possible to treat the cell changes caused by risky HPV strains to prevent the formation of precancerous cells in the body.
The only sure way to know the reason behind the vaginal bumps is getting tested. It is important for sexually active women to get tested often to eliminate the chances of infections going unnoticed. The symptomless STDs can progress to dangerous stages if left untreated.
- “Herpes Signs and Symptoms.” American Sexual Health Association. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/herpes/signs-symptoms/
- “Genital Herpes: FAQ.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Genital-Herpes
- “Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm
- “Molluscum contagiosum.” American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/molluscum-contagiosum#overview