Discovered a large painful lump in your intimate area? Too embarrassed to take medical advice? Not even sure the right terminology to describe the location, then this illustrated guide will help you determine whether or not this sore lump is something that needs investigation.
What is the medical name for this part of the genitalia?
You might have seen in articles the name, Labia Majora. This means in translation, ‘large lips’ and is the name for the soft, flexible, fleshy fold of skin that sits external to the body. Their job is to protect the genitals. Think of them as the female equivalent of the scrotum or ball bag.
Within lie, the ‘Labia Minora’, the inner labia which encase the entrance to the vagina and urethra which is the aperture through which you pass urine. Sometimes it is less degrading to use slang terminology, similar to the manner in which breasts are spoken about. Popular idioms for the labia include flange, flaps, minge and sumata. Healthcare workers may also use these labels to relax patients and ease any awkward moments.
Help, I have a lump on my labia!
There are several causes for lumps, bumps and discolouration on the vulva, the collective name for all the external parts including both labia. This is partly explained by the location, stuffed away in a pair of knickers, and anatomical design. The labia minora features a rich blood supply and Skene’s glands and Bartholin’s glands to oil and lubricate offering a rich, warm, moist environment ideal for the culture of bugs. The commonest cause of an inoffensive little purple lump on your labia is a cyst, merely a collection of secretion produced by a blocked oil duct. They can swell until they are pea-sized, often an indicator of infection. You can soften these in a hot bath and with a warm cloth express the contents to remove it. Fordyce spots are small whitish or pale yellow bumps commonly found on the labia and further inside, neither hard nor painful they are a pubertal development and nothing to worry about.
The million dollar question, do you have an STI?
Sexually transmitted diseases can give rise to blisters of pimples, for example, genital herpes caused by the herpes simplex virus and easily transmitted during intercourse. Most people don’t even know they have it, Genital warts originate from the human papillomavirus – HPV – present slightly differently, they are smooth bumps under the skin in clusters, often referred to as looking like a cauliflower. Sores and lesions can be the presentation of a more serious STI like Syphilis so an accurate diagnosis is paramount to determine the correct treatments and cure.
Gallery of pictures to help you identify the lump on your labia
Some ladies are unaware of what their labia really looks like until the suspect a problem. Changes in colour and raised areas are a normal part of the hormonal cycle. Browse through these pictures to assist in pinpointing the lump on your labia.
What should I do if I find a hard lump on my labia?
This is quite possibly something innocent but if you are a newbie, then it can be shocking. A hard lump on the labia can be something as tame as a pus-filled spot.
I in doubt, always take appropriate support.
How to minimise risks and promote cleanliness
The vaginal areas are designed to be self-cleaning. Fragranced bathing products can disrupt the natural pH balance.
- Use mild and unscented soap in this delicate area, intersperse baths with showers and allow yourself to sit a while in clear, chemical-free water
- Gently separate the labia so the water can cleanse the area
- Pat dry with a clean, soft towel, do not rub vigorously
- On the move? Use a ‘peri-care’ bottle available from your chemist or pharmacy store. Designed for postpartum mums, this is a great tool for long, hot sweaty days
- Wear cotton fabrics which are breathable
- Thongs can cause pressure and irritation via friction and are to be avoided
- Removing pubic hair can give rise to spots, waxing, shaving or plucking. If you discover an ingrowing hair, this can be removed with tweezers
- Change your sanitary wear regularly
- Follow safe sexual health practises, use condoms unless you have a long-term partner or have recently received a clear STI test
What’s the story on genital piercings?
Quite the fashion currently, a cute piercing in your labia is supposedly an aid to sexual stimulation and as significant as choosing a beautiful pair of earrings. Both the labia majora and the labia minora can sport pretty jewellery or opt for a Christina or Venus piercing which is on the pubic mound, the fat pad which covers the pubis just on the edge of the outer labia. There is a range of choices of rings or bars. The piercing studio can guide you and advise on hygiene and after care. For some women, their labia are not suitable for piercing. They can take as long as three months to heal fully.
Have you found a painful lump on your labia?
Pop down to the clinic, a quick appointment will put your mind at rest. For younger women who have less familiarity with bodily changes, it can be frightening but chances are, a painful lump on the labia is nothing more than a tricky spot.
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