A swollen vagina or labia lips may be caused by inflammation, trauma, yeast infections or even inner thigh chafing. Some women experience vaginal swelling after sex, cycling, and childbirth. The swelling can happen with or without itching, inside, at the opening or on the labia lips. Here are the causes and remedies.
A swollen vagina may be generalized, or it may be present in a small, limited area. Generalized swelling of the vagina is often referred to as edema and is caused by fluids filling the tissues. It can also be associated with red or blotchy normal looking skin. When inflamed, the swollen labia skin will be soft, red, and it may be warm to your touch.
In the case of edema, it can be caused by problems that are present in the blood vessels, and it could follow trauma as well. For the case of trauma, it can be because of infections, irritation, or an allergic reaction.
Irritation and allergy could be as a result of being exposed to the following:
- Feminine hygiene products,
Genital herpes and yeast infections could also lead to generalized swelling. Another cause of generalized swelling, albeit, an uncommon one is Fournier’s gangrene, which happens to be severe, and life-threatening infection(bacterial) of this area, and one that starts from the urinary tract infection.
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Cysts could cause defined swelling: the cysts could have been caused by birth trauma or cuts or could have formed around the Gartner’s ducts. The ducts are normally formed during the development of the fetus, and will often disappear after the child has been born.
Why is my vagina swollen? Causes
A number of factors can cause swelling around the vagina. They include the following:
It is normal for edema to occur together with other conditions that normally affect the other body parts, while the other causes are known only to affect the labia and the reproductive organs. Common causes of vaginal swelling include:
1. Allergy or irritation
Potential irritation or an allergic reaction is one of the most common causes of swelling in the vagina area. Irritation can be caused by factors like vaginal contraceptives, creams, soaps, lubricants, and at times bubble baths.
You may also find the irritation is caused by chemicals or soaps that you could have been using for many years. Continued use of latex condoms may also be a source of an allergic reaction.
- When a chemical reaction takes place, without an allergic reaction being noticed, it is something that could result in a swollen vulva.
- A swollen vagina that has been caused by an allergic reaction can be referred to as allergic contact dermatitis, which the rest are termed as irritant contact dermatitis.
The generalized vagina is swelling, that is present on both sides can be termed as edematous swelling, and is mainly caused by the presence of improper drainage of your lymphatic system.
Improper drainage can be attributed to pregnancy and other conditions that are known to make your uterus large, and in the process placing a lot of pressure on the veins present on the pelvic. See also 27 earliest signs of pregnancy.
3. Abscesses or vaginal cysts
When specific areas are swollen, it could mean that a cyst that is attached to the walls of the vagina has caused them.
- The abscesses could be caused by events like birth trauma.
- There is also a chance that they could form around the Gartner’s ducts.
The ducts are a part of fetal development, and will in many cases disappear once you have given birth. It is also possible for certain vaginal tumors to cause cysts.
When the cervix or the vagina becomes infected, it could lead to a woman having swollen labia lips. Even though the infections could lead to swelling, other symptoms, known as concomitant symptoms will be the first to appear.
Yeast infection is another known cause of swollen vaginal area. Certain skin conditions could also cause cellulitis, and this will lead to your vulva becoming swollen, as well as experiencing severe pain.
If these infections(such as yeast) are not properly treated, they could soon become an abscess .
Although the causes described above are the most common, there are additional factors that could lead to swollen labia lips.
Less common causes of swollen vaginal lips
Apart from all the causes that have been listed above, the following disorders, conditions, or diseases can also cause swollen labia.
- Fournier’s Gangrene—it is a bacterial infection that occurs in the genital area, and then spreads to the rest of the body starting from the urinary tract. The condition is considered to be life-threatening, and medical attention should be sought
- Heart Failure—this occurs when the condition of the heart deteriorates, making it impossible for it to pump blood.
- Lymphedema—it is the swelling that is caused by blockage of the lymphatic vessel
- Pregnancy—it increases the compression of the veins when the uterus begins to grow
- Venous Insufficiency—it is caused by an inadequate flow of blood in the veins
Swollen vagina after sex
Granted, sex is very enjoyable, but it could also bring with it some very unpleasant surprises. After engaging in sex, you may begin to experience some side effects that are very uncomfortable.
- Redness and soreness are quite common, especially when you and your partner have engaged in rough sex, which could also lead to swollen labia lips.
If you have a swollen vaginal area after intercourse, it is normal to get worried that something could have gone wrong. Depending on the kind of swelling, it could mean nothing, but it could also be an indication that something is very wrong. See a doctor if you experience swelling, itching and bleeding after sex.
Labia lips and vaginal swelling during a period
Some women will experience swollen labia lips during a menstrual period. In some, the swelling will begin a day before the menses are due, and will be present throughout the menses.
In some cases, bumps may begin to appear on the labia lips. The bumps are often swollen and may bleed if proper care is not taken. Although it is common for many women, it is recommended to consult with your GP to ensure that there is nothing wrong.
Vagina feels swollen during pregnancy
For many women, pregnancy is always an exciting period, though it can also bring with it some serious discomforts.
Even though there are amazing changes that occur in your body during this period, as the body begins to adjust to accommodate the person growing inside of you, there are serious side effects that you may not learn about from your peers.
Vaginal heaviness and pelvic pressure are one of the discomforts you can expect. When this happens, it will mean that your vagina will feel swollen during the pregnancy, especially during the last trimester.
Swollen labia lips and accompanying symptoms
When you have swollen labia lips, you can expect to experience some, or all of the following symptoms. They include:
- Itchy vagina and labia lips
- Pain when engaging in sexual activities
- Swelling inside the vagina and at the opening
- Red swollen vagina
- Swelling on one side of the labia lips
The inflammation of the vulva and the vagina is also known as Vaginitis. Common types of vaginitis are:
- Yeast infections
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Atrophic vaginitis
Some of the factors that place you at an increased risk of developing a swollen vagina area include; hormonal changes
- Poor hygiene
- Use of certain birth control measures
Symptoms of swollen labia will often depend on the causative factor, but they may include;
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Unpleasant odor
- Vaginal bleeding.
Home remedies for a swollen vaginal area and labia lips
It is possible to treat a swollen labia from the comfort of your home using the following home remedies. However, we recommend that even before trying any home remedy, you should see your doctor to rule out any allergies and infections that may cause inflammation and vaginal swelling.
Probiotic yogurt containing active culture is considered to be one of the best remedies for addressing swollen labia problems.
According to studies conducted by a Canadian Institute, yogurt is said to contain good bacteria, lactobacilli, which plays an important role when it comes to fighting off the bad bacteria.
Yogurt will also play an important role in maintaining a healthy vaginal pH balance, and this will go towards providing relief from all the discomforts that may arise from having a swollen vaginal area.
- Take a tampon and dip it into a cup of yogurt before placing it in the vagina for a few hours
- You will need to repeat this process two times each day until the symptom disappears for good.
- You should also consider including plain yogurt in your everyday diet
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar comes with acidic properties, which play an important role in regulating the pH levels of your vagina. The vinegar will ensure that the pH balance in the vagina remains at healthy levels at all times.
It can also help in controlling bacterial or yeast infections.
- Take two teaspoons of raw, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar and add them to a cup of warm water
- Use this water to wash the swollen vaginal area at least two times each day
- Alternatively, add a single teaspoon of raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a small amount of raw honey
- Take the blend and add it to some water before drinking it
Inflammation of the vaginal area can be caused using a cold compress. The cold compress will have very cold temperatures, and the temperatures will help numb this area and thus provide you with relief from pain, itching, and other discomforts.
- Take a few ice cubes and wrap them in a clean towel before tying it together
- Take this compress and press it on the swollen labia lips for at least one minute
- You will need to take a break for a whole minute before reapplying the compress
- Ensure you repeat the process
- The remedy should be applied as needed
The vaginal area can also be rinsed using cold water a few times in the course of the day
Garlic contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties that are vital in dealing with a swollen vaginal area. Garlic can also be used to treat yeast infections, which left untreated, could lead to swelling of your vaginal area.
This ingredient will also play an important role in boosting your immune system, and this will help you fight any infections that could be present in the body.
- Take four drops of garlic oil and combine them with a single teaspoon of coconut oil and vitamin E oil.
- Blend the ingredients and apply them to the area that is affected
- You may also choose to eat raw garlic or add it to your everyday cooking
- Alternatively, consider consuming garlic supplements a few times each day for at least one week. Before you can take any supplement, you should meet with your GP for a consultation.
Boric acid is an ideal remedy, which you can use to eliminate discomforts associated with swelling of the labia lips. It comes with antifungal and antiseptic properties that will help you deal with irritation, itching, and pain.
The acid also cleanses the vagina and ensures that it restores the pH levels of your vagina.
According to a study published in the Journal of Women’s health, boric acid is considered to be a safe, alternative, and economical option for ladies that have recurrent symptoms associated with a swollen vaginal area.
- Scoop some boric acid powder and place them inside an empty gel capsule
- Take the capsule and insert it into your vagina before you can go to sleep
- When you wake up the next morning, ensure that you thoroughly wash the vaginal area using some warm water
- Apply this remedy at least two times a week
Note: pregnant women should not use this remedy.
A swollen vaginal area can also be treated using chamomile. It is a herb that contains soothing and relaxing properties that will help in eliminating the swelling, itching, burning sensations, and the accompanying pain.
- Take a chamomile bag and steep it in some warm water for at least ten minutes
- Take out the tea bag and place it in your refrigerator for the next five minutes
- Place the tea bag inside the vagina
- You should squeeze the tea bag once it is inside your vagina to ensure that the water from the bag will reach the vaginal canals that are inflamed.
- Ensure you repeat the process at least two times each day until the swelling starts to subside
Hydrogen peroxide is a great treatment for a person dealing with a swollen labia lip. A natural disinfecting agent will help you control the growth of bad bacteria that can be found in the vagina.
Additionally, it will help in reducing inflammation, itching, as well as pain. When using this agent, there is a need to ensure that you do not use more than three percent.
- Prepare a cleaning solution containing equal amounts of water and 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
- Use the solution to clean the vagina, and wait for at least fifteen minutes, before you can rinse the area with water
- Ensure you repeat this two times each day
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil helps in relieving the symptoms that are associated with swollen labia. The oil comes with antifungal and antibacterial properties that are vital in dealing with infections.
If used consistently, it can also help in combating the vaginal odor.
- Add five drops of tea tree oil to a bowl of warm water
- You will need to ensure that you stir it properly and the use it to rinse the labia and the vagina
- Repeat daily for a few days
Note: If pregnant, do not use this remedy
Improve your immunity
A woman with a strong immunity is able to reduce the chances of developing swollen labia lips, as the immunity will fight off any infections occurring in the body.
- You need to follow a well-balanced diet that has adequate amounts of zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamins to help boost your immunity
- You need to eat immune boosting foods, including green tea, oranges, cayenne pepper, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, apples, and sweet potatoes
- Ensure you drink at least eight cups of water
- Always ensure you maintain an adequate amount of vitamin D in the body by exposing yourself to sunlight for at least fifteen minutes each day
- Enjoy sound sleep and make certain you get proper rest
- Take steps to exercise at least thirty minutes each day, for at least five times a week
- Maintain a positive outlook towards life
Maintain vaginal hygiene
Maintaining proper vaginal hygiene will ensure that you are not at risk of developing swollen labia lips. Maintenance of a proper hygiene is also important in that it will help in relieving your symptoms while promoting quick recovery.
- Ensure you wash your underwear each day and wash them using hot water
- The underwear should be dried using direct sunlight
- Wear loose-fitting skirts and underwear. Tight underwear is not ideal for your hygiene
- Stay away from underwear made from synthetic fiber, as well as panty liners
- After using the toilet, wipe yourself from front to back
- Do not use perfumed toilet papers or perfumed hygiene products
- Ensure that you step out of wet clothes as soon as you can
- Avoid taking bubble baths, douching, as well as using soap when washing the genital area
Treatment for swollen labia lips and swollen inside vagina
There are different factors or organisms, which can cause swollen labia lips. Therefore, you will find that treatment is targeted to the causative factor. The treatment options include:
When swollen vaginal lips have been caused by this condition, you may find your doctor prescribing Metronidazole tablets.
The tablets are taken orally, although there is a gel that can be applied directly to the vagina. In many cases, the medications are taken two times each day, for between five and ten days, or as prescribed by the GP.
Yeast infections can be treated using antifungal creams. Your doctor may also prescribe oral antifungal medications.
For over the counter treatment, the major benefit will be the convenience, not having to wait to see your doctor, as well as the cost, given that the over the counter medications are generally economical.
The problem with self-medication is that you could be treating something else, instead of addressing what is causing the swollen vaginal area.
Using a cold compress
Cold compresses can be used in eliminating the swollen vaginal area. To prepare a cold compress, you need to wrap some ice cubes in a clean towel, and then place it over the swollen labia lips.
The cooling sensation from the cold compress should provide you with immediate relief. Ensure you repeat the cold compress therapy for a few times a day until the swelling starts to go down.
If the swelling is still present after using the compress for a few days, schedule a consult with your GP
Allergies can cause swelling in the vaginal area, and you should, therefore, ensure that you stay away from the irritant until this swelling has gone down.
Irritants come in varying forms and can include douching products, bubble baths, deodorants, as well as scented soaps. Douching should be avoided as it can disrupt the vagina’s pH balance and may lead to an infection taking place.
You should thus stay away from any product that could cause further irritation to the already swollen vaginal area. While you are at it, make it a point to wear panties that are comfortable, and made from cotton. Tight underwear can cause friction, and this may make the swelling worse than it already was in the first place.
Do not scratch
If you experience itching along the swollen labia lips, desist from scratching. Scratching will often make the condition worse, and this will make you prone to an infection.
Scratching when you have an infection may make the infection spread to other parts of the body.
When looking to get rid of swollen labia, the best thing you can do is ensure you try out the remedies that have been listed above. The remedies should work for most people, and if one does not work for you, consider combining different remedies.
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