Most of the time, white bumps on vaginal area do not indicate a serious issue. It is usually due to excessive sweating, hormonal fluctuations, a vaginal infection or sebaceous cysts. Despite of this, you should always talk to your doctor about the issue as the bumps may indicate a more serious medical condition.
Possible Causes of White Bumps on Vaginal Area
There are specific locations along the genitals where the drainage ducts may become blocked, leading to the formation of cysts. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere on the body. Most cysts near the vulva are due to blocked skin or sweat glands. When this happens, they may fill with debris, leading to the follicle lining becoming distended. This is a process similar to getting a white head pimple, but on the genitals.
If the cyst is larger than half an inch, a doctor can incise it using a sterile instrument and then drain with sanitary precautions. Do not try to “squeeze” the cyst by yourself as broken skin can provide an entry point for bacteria which may lead to an infection. Patients first try warm soaks three times daily then incision and drainage. With recurring cysts, a procedure known as marsupialization may be necessary.
2. Clogged Sweat Glands
Fox Fordyce is a type of itchy skin lesion that can cause white bumps on vaginal area. This is due to skin debris or keratin clogging the sweat/apocrine glands. It is treated with phototherapy or a steroid cream.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is also a kind of clogged sweat gland which is frequently accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection. The condition can be painful but not itchy. These nodules will leave shiny scars where the skin has darkened. The condition can be treated with topical or oral antibiotics. In the case of draining fistulas or large hardened nodules, surgical treatment may be necessary.
Folliculitis is most common among tender, raised or irritated lesions. Skin bacteria like strep and staph enter the hair follicle via any tiny break in your skin. The infection site may stay small, known as folliculitis, or grow to a furuncle. Carbuncles are larger or deeper abscesses. Antibiotics or incision and drainage can be used as treatment.
Some infections relating to white vaginal bumps include:
- Molluscum Contagiosum
It is due to a pox virus. The white bumps on vaginal area caused by molluscum contagiosum are round, fleshy, and small, frequently containing a small indentation in the center. They will regress over time without treatment, but can be removed by cryobiology or freezing.
- Human Papilloma Virus Infection
HPV subtype 6 or 11 may lead to visible genital warts resembling cauliflower. They are rough and raised, expanding in number and size, particularly when the immune system is stressed. They can be treated with a cream to enhance the immune system, cryobiology or freezing, and bi- or trichloroacetic acid.
- Herpes Simplex Virus Infection
It is typically linked to burning and itching with possible raised bumps. It may first appear similar to a bug bite before becoming a cut within the skin or an open ulcer.
4. Normal Skin Condition
Skin tags as well as remnants of the hymenal ring surrounding the vaginal opening may appear to be bumps. Papillomatosis is also commonly mistaken for warts, but is a normal vulva variation. These are more fingerlike as opposed to raised bumps.
5. Vulva Cancer
Although it is rare, white bumps on vaginal area may be a sign of cancer of the vulva. Additional symptoms include pain or burning, itching, thickening of the vulva skin, discharge or bleeding not related to the menstrual cycle and open sores. Vulva cancer is highly curable with early detection.
6. Other Medical Conditions
There are other medical conditions that may lead to vaginal bumps:
- Acanthosis Nigricans
It generates velvety and dark raised areas along the neckline, armpits and vulva. It is linked to insulin resistance.
It is made by small blood vessels. Dark purple to red spots become visible when dilated capillaries group together. You may not notice symptoms until the friction by the capillaries leads to bleeding. They are treated via surgical removal.
Remedies for White Bumps on Vaginal Area
- You can try to dilute hydrogen peroxide in water and apply it on the bumps to clean the area and prevent infection.
- Sitting in a warm bath with Epsom or plain salts can also provide relief from itching or pain.
- A warm compress can help with pain and swelling.
- Reduce the bumps by opting for underwear made of non-synthetic materials to deter sweating.
- Clean and dry the genital area thoroughly.
- Avoid intercourse until your doctor says it is okay.
- Don’t squeeze or pop a bump.
- Pick a gentle and hypoallergenic detergent for your laundry to avoid irritation.
- Avoid scented lotions, bubble baths or soaps.
2. Medical Treatment
In the case of bumps caused by infections, your health care provider will prescribe antibiotics, topical lotions or creams. Medical treatment will be necessary for white bumps on vaginal area caused by STD (sexually transmitted disease) related infections.