Although you may not feel comfortable talking about a swollen vaginal area, it is a condition that affects many women. The swelling around the vaginal region can occur in the labia (labia minora and labia majora) or vaginal wall.
A swollen vagina can be caused by allergies, a bacterial or yeast infection, small cysts, and some women suffer from a swollen vagina after intercourse. If you are experiencing swelling, itching, burning, or irritation around your vulvar region, please read on to find out how to get rid of the discomfort.
In many cases you don’t need to worry about a swollen vagina and there are many effective home remedies that can alleviate symptoms and reduce swelling.
For example, natural ingredients like tea tree oil and coconut oil can help kill the bacterial and fungal infections that cause a swollen vagina.
If the swelling doesn’t go away or if you notice a cyst or abscess, you should see your doctor or gynecologist for a checkup.
Swollen vagina causes and natural treatments
In this article, I will look at the various causes of a swollen vaginal area and look at the many different natural home remedies to treat the symptoms.
Vaginitis, or vulvovaginitis, is one of the causes of swelling around the vagina. Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina and vulva and can affect women and girls of all ages and can lead to a swollen vagina.
The most common types of vaginitis are bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which will be discussed later in the article.
Vaginitis can be caused by a number of reasons, including infections (bacterial and fungal), scented soaps that disrupt the pH levels in the vagina, or thinning of the vaginal lining when estrogen levels drop during menopause, causing the lining is more susceptible to irritation and inflammation.
Dr. Cynthia D. White, Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, says that some of the symptoms of vaginitis are inflammation and swollen vaginal area, itching, vaginal discharge, discomfort when urinating, or a bad vaginal odor.
Some of the natural causes and remedies for vaginitis are discussed in this article, but Dr. White gives some helpful tips on how to avoid inflammation of the vagina:
- Avoid personal hygiene sprays and fragrances in the genital area.
- Wear loose clothing and cotton underwear, or underwear with a cotton lining.
- Keep the genital area clean and when wiping when defecating, always go from front to back to avoid spreading the infection to your vagina and causing swelling.
A swollen vaginal area is one of the symptoms of a yeast infection. Your vagina contains a balance of yeast cells and bacteria, however if the balance is disrupted you can suffer from a vaginal yeast infection called yeast infection which can cause a swollen vagina.
Candidiasis is caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans yeast and can cause discomfort and swelling around your vaginal area.
According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms of a yeast infection can include redness of the vulva, itching around the lips of the vagina, painful urination, a rash, and an odorless white vaginal discharge.
Tea tree oil is a powerful antifungal remedy for vaginal yeast infections and can help reduce swelling, redness, irritation, and discharge from the vagina.
Another effective natural remedy to help get rid of yeast infection symptoms in the vaginal area is virgin coconut oil. The Journal of Medicinal Food published research showing that coconut oil is an effective natural treatment for various Candida strain infections.
You can use the antifungal properties of tea tree oil and coconut oil to make an effective natural treatment for vaginal yeast infection.
Gently heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to make it liquid. Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil and soak a tampon in the mixture. Insert into the vagina for 2 hours to eliminate the yeast infection and reduce the swelling around the opening of the vagina (Before inserting into the vagina, do a patch test to make sure you are not allergic to coconut oil or tea tree oil).
Alternatively, you can apply a thin layer of coconut oil and tea tree oil remedy to your vaginal area to treat yeast infection and reduce swelling. Apply 2-3 times a day until the swelling, itching, and discomfort caused by the infection are completely gone.
Organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) is another great remedy to help quickly treat a yeast infection and get rid of itching and swelling in the vaginal area. The acidic properties of ACV help balance the pH levels in your skin and kill fungal and bacterial infections in the vagina.
You should dilute equal parts of organic raw apple cider vinegar and water. Soak a tampon in the mixture and insert into your vagina for 30-60 minutes (before inserting it into the vagina, perform a skin patch test to make sure you are not allergic to ACV). Remove the tampon and rinse the affected area with warm, dry water. Do this 2-3 times a day until your infection symptoms have completely disappeared.
The Cleveland Clinic says that the swollen vaginal area can sometimes be associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV) and in those cases you should contact your doctor.
Bacterial infections can cause bacterial vaginosis (BV) which causes discomfort and swelling around the opening of the vagina. Unlike yeast infections, vaginal bacterial infections are often accompanied by a white or gray milky discharge with a foul odor. You may also have a burning or painful sensation when urinating, and your vaginal area may itch.
The bacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an imbalance of bacteria “good” and “bad” in the vagina. It is a common vaginal infection experienced by women whether they are sexually active or not.
Yogurt is a food that is great for your vaginal health and can be used to help clear up the symptoms of a vaginal bacterial infection.
You should use raw yogurt that contains probiotics (live yogurt). This type of yogurt contains “good” bacteria that can help fight the bad bacteria that are causing the discomfort.
To use yogurt for the treatment, you must consume 100g of raw yogurt twice a day. This will help restore a healthy balance of bacteria to your body and help the body fight bacterial infection and help reduce inflammation in your vagina faster. Or, you can apply raw yogurt directly to the lips of your swollen vagina to relieve itching, soothe irritation, and reduce swelling.
Alternatively, you can dip a tampon in the raw yogurt and insert into your vagina and leave for 2 hours. Repeat the application 2 times a day until you no longer have itching and other symptoms of bacterial vaginosis.
Home remedies for yeast infections like tea tree oil and coconut oil are also effective natural treatment to help clear a vaginal bacterial infection.
Cysts and Bartholin’s abscess
Redness or swelling in the vaginal area could be due to a cyst called a Bartholin cyst. The Bartholin glands are located on each side of the vaginal opening and secrete fluid that helps lubricate the vagina.
When the openings to these glands become clogged, fluid forms in the glands, creating a lump, and the vaginal area may also become swollen, painful, and cause discomfort when walking or sitting.
To treat a swollen vagina that is caused by a Barthlin cyst, doctors from the Mayo Clinic recommend soaking in a sitz bath every day.
To do a sitz bath, you must fill a bathtub with warm water, making sure that your vaginal area is immersed in water. Soak for 10-15 minutes to help increase blood circulation to the swollen area and help drain the cyst and reduce swelling.
If the lump in the vulvar area is not gone after 2-3 days, or if it becomes painful, you should see your doctor. This is important because if the cyst becomes infected, it can turn into an abscess. An abscess is usually accompanied by red, swollen tissue that is itchy or painful. You may also have a fever. An abscess can become serious and should be checked by a doctor.
The swollen labia of the vagina could be caused by an allergic reaction to clothing, food, or a foreign object that has come into contact with your vagina. This type of vaginal swelling does not usually cause a discharge.
The American Academy of Family Physicians says that an allergy to latex could cause hives, swelling, and even an anaphylactic reaction (swelling of the throat that can lead to death). If you think latex is causing your swollen vagina, your partner may have to switch to using non-latex condoms.
Some women are also allergic to sperm. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine , an allergy to sperm can cause swelling, itching, pain, redness, and a burning sensation in the vaginal area.
As with most allergies, it is important to identify the allergen and try to avoid contact with it to prevent allergic reactions.
Many women who are pregnant say that during the second or third trimester, they notice that their labia become very swollen.
This could be because there is more blood supply to the vaginal area, and the weakened muscles around the vagina could become a bit more inflamed.
There are some helpful tips to soothe an inflamed vagina during pregnancy. For example, some women find that a cold compress can help relieve any swelling and itching in the vagina.
You can also try lying with your legs against a wall for short periods of time. Swimming can also take pressure off your pelvic region and help reduce discomfort caused by swelling.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Redness and swelling of the lips are a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease. According to gynecology expert Dr. Nivin Todd, the symptoms of many STDs are similar to yeast infections.
STDs can lead to complications if they are not treated properly. Therefore, it is important to visit your doctor or healthcare professional if you suspect you have an STD. This can help keep you and your partner safe and healthy.
Swollen vagina after intimate relationships
Intimate relationships can cause the area around the vaginal opening to become swollen and uncomfortable. A swollen vaginal area after intercourse could be caused by some of the conditions already mentioned in this article, such as an allergy to latex or semen, a vaginal infection, or a Bartholin cyst. Sometimes friction can cause the tissue around the vagina and on the vaginal wall to become irritated and swollen.
Some of the natural treatments in this article could be effective if you have swelling in the vaginal area after intercourse. Therefore, you can try applying raw yogurt to your genital region to increase the number of “good” bacteria.
A cold compress can also help reduce a swollen vagina. You could also try using lubricants before intercourse to avoid irritating the sensitive skin on the vaginal wall.
Genital Crohn’s disease
Crohn ‘s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. Patients develop granulomas (small areas of inflammation in the tissues) and ulcers in the intestine.
According to consulting dermatologist Dr. Calum Lyon, genital Crohn’s disease describes the skin condition that arises when granulomas affect the genitals and adjacent skin. The swollen vaginal area in genital Crohn’s disease is due to Crohn’s granulomas that block the lymphatic vessels.
This is known as granulomatous lymphangiopathy or lymphedema. The most common symptom of genital Crohn’s disease is swelling of the lips on one or both sides.
Other symptoms of genital Crohn’s disease include:
- Skin tags
- Genital Crohn’s disease blisters or blisters that can lead to painful red papules, plaques, or ulcers in the vaginal area
- Secondary bacterial infection or Candida albicans infection.
The Crohn’s genital is a complex condition and you should consult your doctor about treatment options.