WE all get spots down there from time to time.
It’s totally normal to get breakouts around your vagina – even if they can be uncomfortable and irritating.
Like pimples anywhere else on your body, they can be painful or painless, be filled with pus, look all red and angry, be itchy, exist alone or in clusters.
And most of the time, they’re totally harmless.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re not a pain to live with.
Dr Larisa Corda, consultant in reproductive medicine, tells Healthista that there are four main reasons for getting vaginal spots:
1. Contact dermatitis (a reaction)
Really common, contact dermatitis is a type of eczema caused by a reaction to an irritant.
Common ones can include:
- washing powder
- feminine hygiene products
- sanitary pads
Another common cause of vaginal pimples is folliculitis, which is an infection and inflammation of the hair follicles from which hairs grow.
Triggers can include:
- ingrown hairs
- wearing tight clothing
- unclean hot tubs/swimming points
- infected cuts
3. Acne inversa
This is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects the sweat glands in the groin and under your boobs.
If you’re getting frequent spots and pus-filled sores, you’ve probably got this kind of acne.
It can leave scars and take a while to heal.
4. Molluscum contagiosum
This is a viral infection characterized by lesions that can occur anywhere on the body, including the vaginal area.
The growths are usually small, raised and white – and occasionally they can have a dimple in the centre.
5. Genital warts
Small, flesh-colored lumps, these may have a cauliflower-like appearance.
They are common and caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Treatment is not necessary if they are not uncomfortable but you still might want to chat to your GP.
6. Genital herpes
Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), genital herpes can lead to spots which are painful or itchy and can be contagious even when you can’t see them.
Medication can reduce symptoms, flare-ups, and lower the risk of passing the virus to sexual partners and using condoms can reduce transmission.
If you’re pregnant, you must tell your GP if you’ve had them because it can cause all sorts of complications.
7. Bartholin’s cysts
Bartholin’s glands are located on each side of the vagina. Sometimes these can become blocked, leading to the formation of cysts.
If these become infected, they can become swollen and very
painful, so will need treatment either with antibiotics or a small surgical procedure.
8. Skin tags
Skin tags are small growths or flaps of excess tissue on the skin.
You can have them removed if you don’t like them, or if they’re causing irritation but generally, they’re not harmful.
9. Vaginal varicosites
These are just swollen veins around the vulva and vagina, and are often blue and irritable.
See your GP if they do become bothersome.
How to treat vaginal pimples:
Identify the cause
Keep a note of when you get spots and any products, clothes or activities that you’re using around the same time.
Remove possible irritants
Once you’ve identified the cause, try to find an alternative to what you’re using.
That might mean finding a new shower gel, going for a wax rather than shaving, being wary of using hot tubs and avoiding using oil as a moisturiser as it can trap bacteria in the follicles.
Make sure you’ve got good hygiene
Bacteria love warm, moist areas so make sure that you’re washing regularly and staying dry.
Choose cotton underwear and try sleeping naked.
Regularly change tampons or sanitary towels during menstruation and consider some alternative versions on the market now, such as menstrual underwear or menstrual cups.
It’s so tempting but try not to pick.
Squeezing can spread bacteria and infection so just let spots go down of their own accord or seek proper medical help.
Sometimes a warm compress applied to the area that’s irritated or itching can help.
Simply soak a small towel in warm water and squeeze out before placing on the skin. This treatment can be repeated several times daily.
Make sure the area is dry before you get dresses to stop any bacterial growth.
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Your GP may advise you using creams or antihistamines for irritations. They can also prescribe antibiotics for infections.
This article first appeared on Healthista
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