What is Genital Sores in female?
Sores or lesions on the female genitalia or in the vagina may occur for many reasons. Genital sores may be painful or itchy, or may produce no symptoms.
Itching, painful urination, or painful sexual intercourse often occur with genital lesions. Depending on the cause, a discharge from the vagina may be present.
Not all sexually transmitted infections cause genital sores; the ones that most commonly do are genital herpes and syphilis. Herpes typically causes clusters of painful red blisters that may be itchy. Syphilis may be associated with a solitary, painless, red sore on the genitals that may be followed by a rash on the hands and feet. Lymphogranuloma venereum, granuloma inguinale, and chancroid, which are rare in the United States, are other sexually transmitted infections that can cause genital sores. Pubic lice and scabies can also be spread sexually. Scratching can cause rash-like scabs and sores.
Genital Sores not caused by STI
While many cases of genital sores are caused by STI, many times the condition is caused by other serious infections or problems. These are some of the non-STI causes of genital sores:
- Allergic reactions
- Behcet’s disease
- Vulvar dysplasia (females)
- Skin cancers of the vulva
- Atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, Vulvovaginitis (young females)
- Skin issues: lichen planus and lichen sclerosis
- Benign Cysts/abscesses
Common causes of Genital Sores
Most sores or ulcers on the genitals are sexually transmitted. It is difficult to know which disease is causing the sores because the ones caused by both syphilis and chancroid often look alike. For this reason, it is best to give medicines that cure both of these STIs when treating genital sores.
Conditions that may cause a sore, blister, or lump
- Genital herpes. Genital herpes is a viral infection that causes skin blisters and sores in the vaginal area.
- Genital warts. Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI). They are caused by various types of human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Bartholin gland cyst . Bartholin glands are two small glands located on each side of the opening of the vagina. These glands produce fluids that lubricate the opening to the vagina. If the opening to one of the glands becomes blocked, fluids may build up inside the gland, causing a painless lump called a Bartholin cyst. Bartholin cysts usually do not need treatment, but sometimes surgery may be needed to drain them. In some cases, one of the glands may become infected, causing an abscess, which may need to be drained.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Sores, blisters, or ulcers, especially in the groin or vaginal area, may be the first symptom of several different STIs.
- An infected hair shaft (folliculitis). A red, tender lump may form when skin bacteria cause an infection at the base of a hair shaft.
Symptoms of Genital Sores
Vaginal sores may be visible as small, flesh colored or red bumps and blisters on the genital area or inside the vagina. They may produce no symptoms apart from being present on the genital area. However, they may also produce an array of symptoms including: pain in the area, itching, pain in the pelvis that can be persistent, burning in the area, vaginal bleeding or discharge and a general ill feeling. The sore may become larger in size or crusts may appear on them. STIs may be associated with symptoms such as pain during sexual intercourse, foul smelling vaginal discharge and pain during urination.
Home Care for Genital Sores
See a health care provider before treating yourself. Self-treatment may make it harder for the provider to find the source of the problem.
A sitz bath may help relieve itching and crusting.
If the sores are caused by a sexually transmitted infection, your sexual partner may need to be tested and treated as well. Do not have any type of sexual activity until your provider says the sores can no longer be spread to others.
Medical Treatments for Genital Sores
The exact type of medical treatment given in a particular case depends upon the cause of the genital sores. To relieve the symptoms of pain and discomfort in the affected area, topical creams and oral medicines (pain killers) are generally used. Your physician or gynecologist may prescribe: antibiotics in case of a bacterial infection, antiviral drugs in cases of a viral infection, corticosteroids and hydrocortisone. Medicines to relieve itching and irritability in the area are also prescribed.