Bumps on the Vagina: How to know if it is Serious

Merely Me Health Guide June 19, 2009
  • Maybe you are shaving or showering and you feel a bump down there.  You have probably always been taught that any sort of lump under the skin can be dangerous.  You begin to panic, thinking it is some sort of cancer on your genitals. Or else you worry it is a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease.  Totally freaked out you frantically search the internet for answers.

     

    Sound like a familiar scenario to anybody?

     

    I am writing this article to mostly reassure women who find they have some sort of lump or bump in their vaginal area and want to know if it is anything serious.

     

    Let's address your worst fears first and then I will tell you what is the most likely cause of lumps found in the vagina or groin area.

     

    Could this lump on my vagina be cancer?

     

    It is highly unlikely.  Vulvar cancer is rare according to the Mayo Clinic.  They state that:  " In the United States, it accounts for only 4 percent of all gynecologic cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. About 4,000 vulvar cancers cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. With early detection, vulvar cancer is highly curable." 

     

    A picture is worth a thousand words so you can see what vulvar cancer looks like by going to this Mayo Clinic article

     

    Most women who get vulvar cancer are white women over the age of fifty and usually this type of cancer is really a slow growing skin cancer.  Squamous cell carcinomas which develop on the vagina usually take years to develop.  Precancerous changes can usually be detected and treated. 

     

    The Medical Library of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists tells us that some of the symptoms of vulvar cancer are bleeding after sexual intercourse, a sore on the vulva, changes in skin color, and persistent itching and burning of the vulva. 

     

    Statistically speaking, the lump or bump you found on your vagina is most likely not cancer but it is wise to go see your doctor if you have any of the symptoms described above.

     

     

    Could this lump or bump on my vagina be an STD?

     

    The two types of sexually transmitted diseases one worries about when they see lumps or bumps down there are herpes and genital warts.  Health Central has a ton of information about Genital Herpes which you may find here

     

    You may also get Health Central information about genital warts here. 

     

    Genital Herpes causes more of what you would call sores or lesions than bumps.  Theses lesions are usually itchy, burning and quite painful.  The sore spot may resemble a bug bite which turns into a blister.  The blister opens and looks like an ulcer.  If you have genital herpes lesions you are going to know it because of the pain and discomfort they cause. 

     

    Again a picture is worth a thousand words.  You can see what Genital Herpes looks like if you just follow this link.  

     

    Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus or HPV.  These bumps resemble cauliflower and can grow in numbers.  You can get genital warts through genital to genital contact  or even from touching genitals with wart  infested hands. They can grow on the labia, inside the vagina, on the cervix, and even around the anus.  They start as pink, tan, or red swellings which are the size of rice grains.  Some warts are painless and hardly noticeable while others can grow in size to over three inches.  Some genital warts will cause itching and burning. 

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    If you are worried that you have genital warts here is a picture of what they can look like.

     

    Okay so most of you by now are most likely reassured that you probably do not have cancer or an STD. 

     

     

    So what else can cause lumps and bumps down there?

     

    One of the more likely causes of vaginal bumps is known as epidermoid or sebaceous cysts.  These cysts look very different from vulvar cancer, Herpes, or Genital Warts.  Sebaceous cysts are enclosed round sacs under the skin.  They protrude under your skin and make the skin look whitish or yellowish.  Inside the sac is a sticky yellow goo called keratin. 

     

    Sebaceous cysts can grow on your vagina, groin area, face, neck, and trunk.  They usually do not cause pain and are almost always non-cancerous.  The trouble happens if you pick at them and they burst, setting yourself up for an infection.  So whatever you do, do not pop these cysts open.

     

    If you have acne on other parts of your body you may be more prone to getting these types of cysts.  An abrasion or trauma to the skin follicles in your vaginal area can also cause a sebaceous cyst to form.  And some people are just more prone to getting them due to heredity. 

     

    Some of the signs of infection of a ruptured sebaceous cyst may include tenderness, pain, swelling, grayish white or cheesy fluid leaking from the cyst, as well as a foul odor to the pus. 

     

    If you want to see what sebaceous cysts look like just follow this link.  

     

    Remember that best thing you can do if you see or feel something down there that doesn't seem normal; make an appointment with your gynecologist or doctor to get it checked out.  That way you will have peace of mind.  Peace of mind is worth the time it takes to make a phone call.  I hope this article will be helpful to all of our readers who inquire about those mysterious bumps they may find and wonder what they are.