A swollen vagina may cause discomfort and a lot of concern. Still, the swelling shouldn’t indicate any severe problems in most cases.

Whenever women have problems with a swollen vulva or vagina, it’s only normal that they are concerned. For the most part, some may assume it’s only a yeast infection, but it can signal various causes. When the swelling is accompanied by vaginal itching and burning, the underlying culprit might be an allergic reaction, or it may even be irritation. A swollen vagina after sex may result from rough intercourse, and so on.

In other cases, when certain parts of the vulva start to recede and become swollen simultaneously, it may indicate more severe issues and the need for atrophic vaginitis treatment or other, more intricate medical approaches to combat the problems.

As such, in this article, we will take a closer look at the leading causes of a swollen vagina and outline the possible treatment options as well.

Swollen Vulva and Vagina Causes

1. Allergy

Allergic reactions may lead to a swollen vagina and vaginal burning and itching. A woman’s private parts are very sensitive and may react negatively to several ingredients that many personal care products contain.

Lubricants, soaps, vaginal douches, vaginal contraceptives, body creams, lotions, latex condoms, and in some cases, even pads and tampons may have ingredients that may evoke an allergic reaction that presents itself primarily as swelling.

When you suspect that your swollen vagina results from an allergic reaction to a specific product, your best course of action might be to refrain from using the said product and reach out to a gynecologist and/or a dermatologist.

Cosmetic Cream on Woman Buttocks With Clean Soft Skin. Applying Moisturizer Cream

2. Rough Sexual Relations

A swollen vagina after sex is often the result of overly rough intercourse. This is especially true if the vagina isn’t lubricated enough. The added friction may lead to painful sex and may cause swelling after having relations.

Rough penetration may also lead to vaginal tissue tearing, which may also increase infection risks.

This problem may be permanently fixed when the couple engages in foreplay more or use lubricants to decrease friction. Also, simple anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers may be able to help manage the swelling and the discomfort.

3. Cellulitis

A swollen vagina may also be the result of cellulitis or bacterial infection of the skin’s inner layers. The infection causes the skin to become tender, swollen, and red. The bacteria may enter a cut that women most often sustain during pubic hair removal (shaving).

Cleaning shave cuts regularly can help greatly; sometimes, antibiotics may also be needed to help with the problem.

4. Irritation

Swelling may also be a result of irritation triggered by a product. Sometimes, even the most widely used products with certain chemical compounds can lead to a swollen vulva or vagina. 

Still, most often, chemical fragrances are the obvious culprit. Soaps, bath bombs, body washes, perfumes, laundry detergent, and even toilet paper may contain these chemicals.

As a matter of fact, some cloth types like polyester or lace underwear may also cause irritation.

To avoid a swollen vulva, it’s imperative to identify and avoid these irritants. In most cases, the irritation will stop once the primary irritant is removed. Still, when you’re unable to locate the source of the irritation, it’s best to consult an expert.

5. Gartner’s Duct Cysts

There’s a duct that forms in fetuses during the development of the sex and the urinary organs. This duct will usually disappear following birth, but if a part of it remains, it’s called a Gartner’s duct. Sometimes, the tissue attaches to the wall of the vagina and forms a harmless cyst. They can only become an issue if they grow and become infected, leading to pain and a swollen vagina.

A troubling Gartner’s duct cyst often requires surgery to combat the symptoms. However, once the procedure is done, the problems will diminish.

6. Bartholin’s Cysts

The Bartholin glands can be found on the side of the vagina, and they are responsible for providing lubrication.

In some cases, an unidentified cyst on these glands can become infected and lead to the formation of an abscess on the vagina. When this happens, the skin around the genitalia may also become swollen and red.

Fortunately, when the abscess on the vagina is tiny, it will probably resolve on its own. A warm and shallow bath and OTC medication may also help ease the accompanying pain and swelling. 

In more severe instances, cyst removal, surgical drainage, and surgical drainage may be needed.

7. Yeast Infection

This condition is a result of Candida overgrowth, and it may lead to a swollen vagina, but it may also produce symptoms such as: 

  • Skin irritations
  • Redness
  • Painful urination and sex
  • Vaginal itching and burning
  • Thick vaginal discharge

Antifungal medication treats these problems, but it’s always a great idea to visit an expert because other medical issues may also produce these symptoms.

8. Genital Herpes

The herpes simplex virus may cause blisters near the genitalia, which can turn into painful sores.

Still, some have no symptoms, while others experience pain and aches with the sores and a swollen vagina.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for the condition, but medication can help keep the outbreaks under control.

9. Pregnancy

Vaginal swelling during pregnancy isn’t unheard of – as the fetus grows, the added pressure on the pelvis, blood vessels, and nearby muscles can lead to inflammation which can interfere with the lymphatic system’s functions, leading to swelling.

While vaginal swelling during pregnancy is probably nothing out of the ordinary, it’s always a good idea to consult an expert regarding the safest medication options.

10. Bacterial Vaginosis

When harmful bacteria overgrows in the vagina, the condition may lead to vaginosis which includes symptoms of swelling, foul smells, and often grayish discharge. 

Luckily, many cases will resolve by themselves, but doctors might prescribe antibiotics to quicken the process.

Vaginosis can be avoided by regularly cleaning the area of the vagina. Experts also recommend avoiding douches and similar products to prevent disrupting the vagina’s natural bacterial balance.

Woman on a Gynecology Office About to Be Examined

11. Foreign Objects

When a foreign object is lodged in the vagina, the female body may produce the following symptoms: 

  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Irritation
  • Foul-smelling discharge

In some cases, you may need expert medical assistance to remove the object that’s causing the trouble.

Also, cleaning your vagina regularly may help prevent objects from getting lodged in the vagina.

When The Problem Persists

The swelling usually shouldn’t be a massive concern, but if you are uncertain of the causes, it’s always a good idea to visit an expert, especially if you are experiencing persisting symptoms of pain, chills, infection, and even fever.

Sometimes, the swelling may indicate the presence of an STI, which will need expert evaluation.

All in all, to pinpoint the exact cause of the swelling or inflammation, visiting an expert to perform the necessary tests and exams is always welcomed. With the help of an expert, you can get the proper medications or other treatment options that may help you get back on track as fast as possible.

As such, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.