Genital sores in women are small bumps and lesions that appear on and around the vagina. Sometimes they are painful, itchy or irritating and sometimes they do not cause any such effect.
There are chances that they gradually become tender, swollen and discharge. In that case, they show an infection. Asymptomatic genital sores are harmless, most of the times.
Sores on genitals usually show up whenever there is a problem i.e. viral attack. But sometimes they have no reason to show up, these types of genital sores go away on their own.
Genital sores represent an infection, skin disorder or a sexually transmitted infection or disease (STD/STI).
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA tells that sexually transmitted infections have the highest prevalence in the USA as compared to all other types of infection. In US citizens, women with genital sores are more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection.
Sometimes people don’t get genital sores checked or treated because of the embarrassment. But genital sores with a sexually transmitted infection as the reason makes a high impact on public health in every country of the world.
Women in young to middle ages are at a high risk of developing genital risks, representing sexually transmitted infections. If left untreated, they develop into serious health complications, as per CDC.
If the infected woman goes to the doctor, he will evaluate the bumps on genital area to diagnose the reason. Once the reason behind the bumps is clear, it is easier for the doctor to prescribe a treatment.
Sexually transmitted infections are not the only reason why genital sores show up. Sometimes an ingrown hair or razor bump also causes a bump in an appearance, which can be mixed for other reasons.
The casual cysts go away on their own or are treatable with common medicines. Only when the causative agent is a sexually transmitted infection or skin condition, the treatment of genital cysts needs extreme care and timely diagnosis.
How to recognize a genital sore?
Many people don’t know how does a sore look like and searching the pictures is sometimes disturbing. In simple words, you can characterize a genital sore as a small, red or flesh /skin colored bump or blister. A sore may change shape or color or size with time. It may show signs of discomfort but start asymptomatic.
They may or may not be accompanied by other symptoms, which is the sole basis for diagnosing the reason behind genital sores. These symptoms are as follows.
- Painful urination
- Re-occurrence of bumps
- Pelvic pain
If the reason is a sexually transmitted infection, the symptoms may also include a painful sexual intercourse, discomforting urination, and foul-smelling vaginal discharge.
What causes genital sores in women?
Sexually transmitted infections are not always the only reason behind genital sores in women. Eczema or other skin conditions are sometimes also mistaken as genital sores. It can be a skin allergic reaction from perfume, detergent or soap too. It can possibly be a result of a scratch or ingrown hair that turns into a cyst.
These are only a few reasons and in reality, there could be as many causative agents as possible. It depends upon your health, lifestyle, and habits that help the doctor to determine the most accurate reasons behind genital sores.
The diagnosis is verified when you tell the doctor if you have some other symptoms hitting you. Sometimes a chronic skin condition is responsible for the genital bumps. A few of these skin conditions are as follows.
- Contact dermatitis
- atopic dermatitis
- ingrown hair
- skin cancer
Despite all these facts, most of the genital sores reported have the reason of sexually transmitted infections in young women. These genital sores are contagious and can be transmitted to sexual partners through oral, vaginal or anal route. Sharing sex toys or lingerie can also transmit them.
Some sexually transmitted diseases that can cause genital sores are as follows.
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts
- Molluscum contagiosum
Diagnosis of female genital sores
To diagnose the genital sores, the doctor will physically examine the area. He will perform a complete pelvic examination and ask for the medical and sexual history. He may prescribe some diagnostic tests to confirm the cause of genital sores.
It could be a bacterial test, by taking a swab from the infected area, or viral test. Once the test reports are clear, it will be easier for the doctor to confirm the reason behind any women getting a genital sore.
What Can Be Done At Home?
If you are a woman and you find any unusual growth or sore around the genital area, don’t hesitate to get it checked. If you want to try the personal measures to check if it goes away on its own or not, try taking a sitz bath to note if there is a change in pain or discomfort. If it doesn’t bring any difference, try seeking medical help as soon as possible.
RELATED: How Do You Get Herpes?
Is there a treatment for genital sores in women?
The treatment options for genital sores are available. The selection of treatment is on the doctor. He makes the diagnosis by searching for the root cause. The treatment depends upon the cause of sores.
There are two types of treatments, topical and oral medication. Both can be given at a time or separately, as per nature of genital sores. Sometimes, antibiotics and painkillers are also prescribed.
Some of the choices for treating genital sores in women are as follows.
- Antiviral medications
- Anti-itch creams
The casual genital sores, which don’t have an underlying reason, don’t require any treatment at all. Most of the times, they shed on their own. Or you can get them removed surgically if you are feeling a discomfort.
How to prevent genital sores?
If you want to prevent the risk of female genital sores, it is necessary to control the primary cause i.e. unsafe sex practice. Always practice safe sex by using condoms with the sexual partner. It will prevent the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
If you have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, avoid all the contacts of sexual nature. Wait until your treatment is completed before starting a new relationship. Avoid strong fragrances, detergents, fabric softeners, and body wash.
Avoid shaving the genital area if you see a red, swollen or infected area on it. It will make the infection worse.
What Else Should You Keep In Mind?
The treatment or the long-term effect of genital sores in women depends upon why are the caused. In most of the cases, these sores are treatable with medicines. But only some infections such as genital herpes or a chronic skin condition causing genital sores may recur.
The recovery from genital sores depends on how well your body responds to the medicine. An untreated sexually transmitted infection can cause many problems in women including uncomfortable genital sores.
Some other health complications include the following.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Infertility in women
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Scarring of the reproductive organs
You need to talk to your doctor about the management of such infections if they ever hit you. Try to know the symptoms of related diseases so that it will be easier for you to evaluate your condition whenever there is a change in your body.
Take care of your personal hygiene and sexual health to avoid the occurrence of casual genital sores.