Is my vagina normal? There is no such thing as a normal vagina
Vagina’s come in all shapes, sizes and colours and there is no such thing as “normal”.
However, if you find any odd lumps and bumps down there is can be concerning, but more often than not it’s nothing to worry about.
Vaginal lumps and bumps come and go, and even the colour around the area might change.
It is normal to see these changes especially during your childbearing years and as you are ageing.
The important thing is knowing what is normal – and when you should see a doctor.
Here we reveal the causes of vaginal lumps and bumps:
The word cyst may install fear in a lot of people – but they are usually nothing to worry about.
Cysts can appear on both your vulva and vagina.
Your vulva – the external genitalia – has a number of different glands that can become clogged.
These include oil glands, Bartholin’s glands and Skene’s glands.
If these become clogged a cyst – a small, hard lump – may appear.
These are not usually painful unless they become infected.
Cysts usually disappear by themselves, but if it becomes infected it can be an idea to visit your GP who may prescribe antibiotics.
Vaginal cysts are usually smaller and appear on the wall of the vagina. These are common and are not usually painful or dangerous.
If they cause you massive discomfort they can be drained or removed surgically.
“Shaving, waxing and whatnot can cause an infection in some of the small hair follicles around the vulva, which can create bumps and lumps”
Dr Alyssa Dweck
2. Hair removal
Your chosen method of hair removal can result in lumps around your vulva.
Dr Alyssa Dweck, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said: “Shaving, waxing and whatnot can cause an infection in some of the small hair follicles around the vulva, which can create bumps and lumps.”
Dr Dweck recommends switching out your razor frequently, using shaving cream and shaving in the direction of the public hair.
Shaving, waxing or plucking the hair increases the risk of ingrown hair.
You should see a GP if the area becomes inflamed – as it could be a sign of an infection.
Is my vagina normal? Slight changes to your vulva can be normal
Varicose veins can happen anywhere on the body – and results in the veins becoming enlarged, dilated and overfilled with blood.
Vulvar varicosities are the same but happen around your genital area.
The swollen veins can cause an itchy feeling and in some cases bleeding.
This is common during pregnancy because of changes in blood flow and increased hormone levels.
For pregnant women this usually disappears without treatment after childbirth.
For non-pregnant women who suffer from this condition can see a specialist for treatment options.
4. Genital herpes
Genital herpes is a fairly common infection caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Many people will have herpes but never experience symptoms.
However, when genital herpes does show up it can materialise into itchy bumps.
Dr Dweck said: “Herpes can cause blisters and little pustules, but what usually brings someone (with Herpes into my office) is the pain.”
If you experience pain you should see a doctor to figure out the best plan of action, which could include antiviral medication.
5. Genital warts
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease (STD) spread by the human papillomavirus.
Symptoms of the STD may include clusters of small skin-coloured bumps, patches of warts and itching or burning.
These can grow on your vulva, anus and in your vagina.
There is no cure for genital warts, but they can be removed by a doctor or with prescription cream or laser.
Bumps on the vagina can often cause cancer scares, but cancers of the vulva are rare – and vaginal cancer is even more unusual.
It should not be the first conclusion you come to if you see bumps on your nether regions.
Dr Dweck said: “Vaginal cancer is very rare. Vulvar cancer is not as rare, but still uncommon and typically a disease for older women.”
However, signs to look out for include flat or raised sores or bumps on your vulva, thick patches of skin, if the skin colour in an area has changed, itching or burning and unusual discharge or bleeding.
Cancer of the vulva is more common in older women and women who smoke.
It is a good idea to see your doctor if you are unsure about anything, or have bumps that don’t disappear within a few weeks.