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Vulvar infections and pimples are common, but why do they happen and how to get rid of them

Vulvar infections and pimples on the vulva are common conditions that women often experience but hardly talk about. Here's everything you need to know about these common vagina problems.
View All Images things to avoid while treating vaginal infections
Common vulvar infections and pimples. Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Dr Pratima Thamke Published: 20 Oct 2023, 19:45 pm IST
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The vulva, the external part of the female genitalia, is a sensitive area that can sometimes be prone to infections and discomfort. One common issue that many women may encounter at some point in their lives is vulvar infections and pimples. While they can be distressing, understanding the causes and potential solutions is crucial for proper management and relief.

Causes of vulvar infections

Vulvar infections can occur for various reasons, and they are more common than you might think. Here are some of the key factors contributing to these infections:

1. Bacterial infections

Bacterial vaginosis is one of the most common vaginal infections and can extend to the vulvar area. It results from an imbalance of the naturally occurring bacteria in the vagina. Symptoms may include itching, burning, and an unusual odour.

2. Yeast infections

Candida yeast infections, commonly known as thrush, can also affect the vulvar area. These infections are often characterised by itching, burning, and a white, cottage-cheese-like discharge.

3. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Some STIs, such as herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhoea, can cause vulvar symptoms like sores, blisters, and discomfort. These infections typically require medical treatment.

4. Hygiene and irritants

Harsh soaps, fragranced products, or excessive cleaning can irritate the vulvar area, leading to itching and discomfort.

How to maintain vaginal hygiene
It is important to maintain vaginal hygiene to avoid infections. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

5. Hormonal changes

Hormonal fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause can sometimes result in changes to the vulvar skin and increased susceptibility to infections.

Causes of pimples on the vulva

Pimples, typically associated with facial acne, can also develop on the vulva. These bumps can be caused by several factors:

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1. Ingrown hair

Shaving or waxing the pubic area can sometimes lead to ingrown hair, which can resemble pimples. These can be itchy and painful.

2. Blocked sweat glands

Like other parts of the body, the vulvar area has sweat glands. These glands can become blocked, causing small, pimple-like bumps.

3. Folliculitis

This is an inflammation of hair follicles, which often occurs due to bacterial or fungal infections. It can lead to red, pimple-like bumps.

4. Fordyce spots

These are harmless, small, white, or yellowish bumps that can appear on the vulva and are typically associated with sebaceous glands.

How to manage vulvar infections and pimples?

If you suspect a vulvar infection or notice pimples in the vulvar area, it’s essential to take appropriate action to address the problems:

1. Consult a healthcare professional

If you suspect an infection or have symptoms like pain, discharge, or sores, consult a healthcare provider. They can diagnose the issue and recommend appropriate treatment, which may include antibiotics, anti-fungal medication, or antiviral drugs.

2. Practice good hygiene

Avoid harsh soaps, douches, and fragranced products that can irritate the vulvar area. Instead, use mild, unscented soap and rinse thoroughly with water.

3. Avoid tight clothing

Wearing breathable cotton underwear and avoiding tight clothing can help reduce friction and irritation in the vulvar area.

4. Trim pubic hair gently

If you choose to shave or wax the pubic area, do so gently and avoid overdoing it to prevent ingrown hair.

Vaginal health
Trimming vaginal hair harshly can lead to pimples on the vulva. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Use a warm compress

Applying a warm, moist compress to the affected area can help soothe discomfort associated with pimples or ingrown hairs.

6. Protect yourself against STIs

Practising safe sex and getting regular STI screenings can help prevent and manage STIs that may lead to vulvar problems.

Vulvar infections and pimples can occur for various reasons, and they are not uncommon. While they can be uncomfortable and concerning, many of these issues can be effectively managed with proper hygiene, medical treatment, and lifestyle adjustments. If you experience persistent symptoms or have concerns about your vulvar health, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a healthcare professional. Your health and comfort are paramount, and there are solutions available to help you address these concerns.

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About the Author

Dr Pratima Thamke is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar ...Read More

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