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Top 10 causes of vaginal lumps and bumps

Vaginal lumps and bumps may cause considerable discomfort to those who have the misfortune of dealing with them. The thing is during the course of your life you may develop a bump in the vaginal area. You can divide vaginal bumps and lumps into the following categories.

  1. Harmless
  2. Sexually-transmitted disease or Infection based
  3. Cancerous

The following bumps are usually benign and there is no need to worry.


Cysts are fluid-filled sacs, that vary in size. They can develop anywhere in the body. In the genital area, these cysts cause no pain unless they become infected. They develop under the skin of the vulva and are usually the size of a small pebble. There are two types of cysts:


These cysts are caused by blocked hair follicles and ingrown hairs that may develop due to shaving or waxing. Most of the time you can ignore them if they don’t become infected. If they do, you may need to make a small incision to drain the pus.


VP is a skin condition that presents as bunches of shiny small papules on the inner labia and vaginal opening. It is often a normal occurrence so there is no need to seek treatment. Unfortunately, Vestibular Papillomatosis is often mistaken for genital warts which are sexually transmitted.

Your doctor can help you with an accurate diagnosis.


Fordyce spots affect the inner labia. The enlarged oil glands appear as tiny white to yellow lumps. Men may also be affected, the bumps materializing on the penis. Even though, unsightly, they are totally painless.

The conditions listed below are sexually transmitted or infection-based:


The skin condition occurs when the hair follicles in the labia region become infected and inflamed., They present as tender red spots containing pus. Bacterial, fungal, or even viral infection (e.g. herpes) may cause folliculitis. Shaving and waxing may cause initial irritation. They type of infection determines the treatment plan.


A Bartholin cyst is formed when the Bartholin gland (located in the vaginal and vulva region) becomes blocked and swollen. The cyst will cause no ill effects unless it turns into an abscess swollen with painful pus. If this happens, a course of antibiotics will be prescribed or in rare cases, you may need minor surgery.


Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection that manifests as tiny bumps across the infected skin. The poxvirus causes this condition. These harmless bumps may appear white or the normal hue of your skin. These lesions will linger for 1-2 years. This disease is considered as a STD in adults, so it is a good idea to be tested just in case. You should be aware that Molluscum contagiosum can affect children and the rash can appear on other parts of their bodies.


This condition is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), usually, type 6 and 11, and is sexually transmitted. They often appear in clusters of small, skin-colored bumps. On occasion, they can develop into one single lump. The HPV warts may disappear or multiply in number. Even with no visible genital warts, you can still be an HPV virus carrier.

You should also be aware that they are very contagious and it spreads by skin-to-skin or sexual contact.

You can now be protected from certain HPV strains through a HPV vaccination.


Syphilis is caused by a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. A chancre or painless sore will appear in the mouth or the vaginal area. The sore may disappear without treatment in 2 to 3 weeks. However, treatment is required. Syphilis is treated with antibiotics. Your doctor will discuss your treatment plan.


The main symptom of Genital herpes is a cluster of ulcers or lesions in the genital area. This STD can spread quickly among sexual partners via oral and genital secretions. You can still be affected even with the diligent use of condoms.

Unfortunately, bumps and lumps in the genital area can be malignant, indicating that the cells may be cancerous. This includes:


Vaginal or vulvar cancer can manifest as a lump or bump in the vaginal region. The symptoms listed below may also be experienced:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Painful sexual intercourse

In such cases, a pelvic examination are recommended for early detection.


This is a type of skin cancer caused by pigmented cells. Vaginal melanoma is considered rare since 2% of women are diagnosed melanoma. This cancer usually affects women over 50. You will notice a lump that is a different colour from your normal skin tone. The lump may be painful and there may be bleeding and itching.

If you notice any abnormalities, we recommend a visit to your doctor who will be on hand to give you the best care.


What are some of the other causes of vulval and vaginal bumps, lumps, and lesions?

  1. Structural variations, or normal glands being affected by an infection.
  2. Pelvic organ prolapse –
    This condition is seen in women who have given birth before, where internal organs cause a bulge in the vaginal wall.

Can Vaginal bumps be normal?

Yes, there are circumstances where lumps, bumps, or lesions may appear on the vulva (labia majora and labia minora) and the vaginal canal. They are as follows:

  1. Bumps from ingrown hairs
    Fordyce Spots (enlarged sebaceous glands)
  2. Skin tags
  3. Vestibular papillomatosis(harmless bumps that are often mistaken for warts)

What could be causing my painful vulval and vaginal lump?

Infection and swelling is usually the cause of pain. The following conditions may give rise to painful lumps:

  1. Folliculitis (infected hair follicles)These include infected hair follicles
  2. Infected sebaceous cysts
  3. Bartholin cysts and any infected glands in the vaginal region

Is my vaginal bump, lump or lesion a sign of sexually transmitted disease?

Sometimes, it is. The STDs that may cause lumps and bumps are as follows:

  1. Genital warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.
  2. Herpes can cause painful blisters and ulcers.
  3. Molluscum contagiosum causes whitish bumps.

What are vaginal and vulval cysts?

Vulval cysts are fluid-filled sacs that arise when normal glands in the vulva like Bartholin’s glands, Skene’s glands and sebaceous glands becoming blocked.

The result is often a Bartholin cyst or sebaceous cyst.

If vulval cysts become infected with bacteria that may become inflamed and painful.

On the other hand, vaginal cysts are small, painless lumps in the wall of the vagina. They may sometimes occur after childbirth.

How are vulva and vaginal cysts treated?

Small vaginal and vulval cysts can generally be left alone. However, if cysts become painful and infected, they may need to be drained of pus and treated with antibiotics. If the cysts get too large or there seem to be recurrent infections, surgical removal may have to be considered.

How are genital warts treated?

The following are your treatment options for Genital warts:

1.Topical medications
2.Cryotherapy (freezing off)
3.Electrosurgery (burning off).

Unfortunately, even after treatment, warts may return since these measures do not treat the HPV infection.

How is genital herpes treated?

Genital herpes cannot be cured but you may be prescribed oral antiviral medications and antiviral creams to suppress the virus and allow your body to heal after a flare.

When should I see a doctor for my vaginal lump?

You should see a doctor if any of the following happens:

  1. New lumps develop
  2. Lumps appear to be increasing in size.
  3. Lumps become painful
    As a precaution, you should have any lump or bumps check that you are worried about.

How can I reduce my risk of vaginal lumps and bumps?

You can wear breathable, cotton underwear, avoid tight clothing, and keep your vaginal area clean when waxing or shaving. By following these hygiene tips you can reduce the risk of some bumps like folliculitis and infected glands.

The usage of condoms (both male and female) during sexual intercourse may additionally reduce the danger of sexually transmitted infections. The Human Papilloma Virus vaccine, is also useful in shielding against certain strains of HPV.

So if you have any concerns regarding vaginal lumps and bumps, do not hesitate to visit our clinic. We are here to help.


  1. Patras, K. A., & Doran, K. S. (2016). A Murine Model of Group B Streptococcus Vaginal Colonization. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, (117), 54708.
  2. Egorov, V., Murphy, M., Lucente, V., van Raalte, H., Ephrain, S., Bhatia, N., & Sarvazyan, N. (2018). Quantitative Assessment and Interpretation of Vaginal Conditions. Sexual medicine6(1), 39–48.

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