The female private parts are a powerful part of the body that requires a delicate balance. They bring life into the world, but also can be disrupted by fragrance in a bar of soap. Taking care of the area is a key part of your overall health.
What is that Lump on My Privates?
A lump can strike at any moment, but it doesn’t have to freak you out. There is a stigma around bumps on the genitals because society has deemed sexually transmitted diseases worse than other communicable diseases, but medically they are virtually the same. You wouldn’t be embarrassed to see a doctor for that cold you caught from a coworker would you? You shouldn’t be shy about getting treated for that infection you picked up from your last date either.
This piece will cover a few common causes of lumps on female private areas and how to approach treatment.
Vaginal Pimples: What Are They?
Pimples have a solid reputation for plaguing faces. More extreme cases may transmit to the chest or back. The truth is, acne can crop up anywhere on the body. The reason is it prevalent on the face is the heavier oil production and the exposure to the elements like dirt.
In the groin, pimples can pop up for the same reason. Moisture, oil, and dead skin cells can get trapped underneath the tighter clothes of the area. In addition to traditional acne, pimples can also be caused by:
- Contact dermatitis. This is a form of eczema that has pimple flareups when the skin comes into contact with an irritant. Common triggers include douches, lotions, soaps, feminine hygiene products, laundry detergent, semen, and urine.
- Acne inversa. Also called hidradenitis suppurativa, this condition causes painful cysts that look like acne but are actually an inflammatory skin condition. Boils can develop in the sweat glands of the groin, armpits, and underneath the breasts.
Treatment for Genital Warts
One of the most common STIs is the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 different strands of the virus with around 30 of those affecting the genitals. An estimated 79 million people in the U.S. have HPV and 14 million will become newly infected each year. That totals for about 80% of the sexually active population. Chances are, you will have this virus as someone point in your life. The numbers could actually be higher because most people, especially males, never exhibit any symptoms.
Some strains of HPV cause little smooth genital warts. The HPV that causes warts is not the same as the stains that cause cervical cancer, so the warts are virtually harmless. While experiencing a warts breakout, you are more contagious so you may choose to seek treatment or wait until the issue resolves itself.
Treatment includes freezing, lasering, or chemically peeling the spots off. Sometimes it takes multiple treatments to completely eradicate the outbreak. Since it’s a virus, you could see more spots pop up periodically. Topical creams like imiquimod, podophyllin, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and podofilox are customary options as well.
What is the Cure for Herpes?
Another prolific contagious disease is the herpes simplex virus. According to the World Health Organization, two out of three people under 50 already have the HSV-1 within them. HSV 1 prefers to produce sores on the mouth and HSV 2 produces sores in the genitals. Scientists are learning however, that both viruses can produce sores in either place. So there’s a really good chance you are already living with at least one of the strains.
Other than occasionally causing an outbreak of open sores, the herpes virus is mild. When lying dormant it has little to no effect on the immune system at all. Some people will experience a fever or other flu-like symptoms, but most will exhibit no symptoms. An imbalance like a different disease, extreme stress, or an unhealthy diet can inspire an outbreak.
There is no known cure for the virus yet, but antiviral medications can suppress outbreaks. You may have seen some of these advertised on late night infomercials like valacyclovir (Valtrex), acyclovir (Zovirax), and famciclovir (Famvir).
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
Clogged hair follicles have caused many STD scares. An ingrown hair can look like a pimple or genital wart, but isn’t caused by any virus or autoimmune disorder. It is just dead skin cells or dirt that get into the hair follicle and prevent pubic hair from properly growing.
Ingrown hair can happen organically, but the risk is increased with certain behaviors like shaving or waxing. Here are a few tips for treating and preventing this itchy, uncomfortable situation:
- Stop hair removal. Temporarily stop any shaving or waxing until the ingrown hair(s) subside. It will only irritate the area and delay healing. If you are significantly prone to ingrown hairs after hair removal, you may want to consider rocking a natural bikini line.
- Warm compress. Heat from a warm (not hot), washcloth can help open up the pore.
- Remove the hair. With sterilized tweezers, try to pull the end of the hair out of the bump. Try not to pluck the hair completely out by the root because it may repeat the process. Instead, just allow the hair to breathe.
- Exfoliate. Regularly removing dead skins cells will help prevent future ingrown hairs from happening.
- Steroid cream. If the area is extremely irritated, ask your doctor about a steroidal cream to reduce inflammation. There are also over the counter options to reduce itching and reduce puffiness.
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