Vagina lips are the common term for labia. They are on the outside of the vagina, also called vulva. Their purpose is to protect the vagina, urethra, and clitoris from any possible harm. Swollen vagina lips can be caused by cysts, infections, or allergies.
The labia consist of labia minora, the internal part of the skin which precedes the vagina, and labia majora, which is on the exterior part of the vagina. The inner and the outer labia are often different in size, which varies for every woman.
Read on if you want to know how to treat a swollen vagina lip and reverse its course before the pain and swelling become too much to handle.
Besides the swelling of labia, some other symptoms can indicate the underlying cause of your infection or other problem:
- Persistent pain, especially when urinating or having intercourse
- Inflammation or redness of the skin
- Itching or burning sensation in the private area
- Bad smell coming from the vagina
- Vaginal discharge
- One or more bumps on the vagina lips
Causes of Vagina Lip Swelling
The tissue of the labia is very tender. Both labia majora and labia minora can easily become swollen due to that, and here are some of the most common causes:
Trichomoniasis, also referred to as trich, is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects many women of childbearing age. It is a parasitic infection and you are at higher risk of getting it if you have multiple sexual partners or a history of sexually transmitted infections.
Symptoms very often go unnoticed, which leaves the affected person completely unaware. However, if the symptoms do show up, you can experience swelling, very bad odor, yellow vaginal discharge, itching or irritated vulva, inflammation and urinal pain.
Most women, up to 75%, will have at least one yeast infection during their lifetime. The worst part is the infection can return. Candida is the most common cause of yeast overgrowth. The symptoms are swelling, vaginal itching, inflammation, and thick white discharge.
You are at a higher risk of yeast infections if you are pregnant, you have untreated diabetes, and if your immune system is not functioning properly. Some medicine also puts you at risk. This includes oral birth control pills, antibiotics and some steroids.
Same as yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis is also caused by multiplication of bacteria in your private parts. This occurs when the bad bacteria defeat the good bacteria. Around one-third of women of childbearing age get infected by bacterial vaginosis.
There are often no symptoms. However, they may include vaginal lip swelling, rotten fishy odor, gray or green vaginal discharge, and itchiness.
The Bartholin’s glands can be found on both sides of the vaginal opening. If they get blocked, then cysts may appear. Around 2% of women will experience this problem. It is common if you are in your 20s and the risk decreases with age.
Bartholin’s glands help with lubrication of the vagina releasing moisture. Women mostly do not even notice the cyst until it is too late and infected. If it comes to that, the skin surrounding the vagina and its lips can feel sore and sensitive. In some cases, the cyst also becomes filled with pus.
If your labia are swollen but it is not caused by an infection, you may be having an allergic reaction to something. Your vaginal lips can be irritated by some soap or detergent fragrances, latex condoms, and maybe the fabric of your lingerie. Other symptoms are burning sensation and redness.
If you are having sexual intercourse without enough lubricant, it may lead to the swelling of vagina lips. This is due to friction, which can seriously irritate or even damage your vagina. Make sure to use a proper amount of lubrication while having sex.
How to Treat a Swollen Vagina Lip
How to treat a swollen vagina lip? There are many ways to do it, depending on the underlying medical condition you have. Let’s go over some medical interventions and then some tips for home care.
Buying over-the-counter antibiotics is a good start if the cause of your vaginal swelling is a bacterial infection. The previously mentioned trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis are the most common ones.
Antibiotics may also help with Bartholin’s cysts, but if it does not prove to be enough, surgical removal or drainage may be needed. No need to panic though, these cysts sometimes do not need any treatment
Antifungal medications, be it OTC or prescribed, are used to battle yeast infections. They come in the form of pills and gels.
Labia swelling as a result of sexual intercourse or some allergy can be treated with some steroid creams.
Prevention and Home Care
Here are some tips for treating your labia swelling at home, and even better, ways to prevent it:
- Avoid using douches. They can interfere with the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina.
- Consult your medical practitioner about using different types of birth control if you are allergic to spermicide or latex.
- Use plenty of lubricant during intercourse. If it still hurts, refrain from it for some time.
- Wear comfortable clothes, especially underwear. Tight clothes can add to the development of fungi and bacteria.
- Stop using certain soaps and feminine products if you think you are allergic to them.
- Put a cold compress on the labia a few times a day to help with the swelling.
- Consume natural probiotics such as kefir and yogurt.
Enough with the Swelling
Swollen vagina lips are not always a cause for panic. If there are no other symptoms, like strong odor, discharge and burning, you can relax. The presence of these symptoms can be a warning and you should visit your doctor if you notice them.