What is vaginal rashes and sores?

Vaginal Rashes and Sores

What causes vaginal and vulvar rashes and sores?

A rash in your vagina or on your vulva may be caused by irritation of the skin from many sources, such as clothes rubbing against the skin.

Contact dermatitis

A common cause of a rash is contact with a substance that causes irritation or an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis). Soaps, detergents, shampoos, perfumes, lotions, pads, or tampons can cause contact dermatitis. Often the rash from contact dermatitis is very itchy, but it is rarely serious. Changing your soap or detergent may be all you need to do to prevent this type of rash.

Other rashes

Other conditions that may cause a rash in the vagina or on the vulva can include:

  • Scabies. This is an itchy skin condition caused by tiny mites that burrow into the outer layers of the skin.
  • Pubic lice. These are small insects that live on humans and survive by feeding on blood.
  • Yeast infection (cutaneous candidiasis). This may cause a rash in the skin folds of the vulva.
  • Psoriasis. This causes raised red or white patches topped with silvery, scaling skin. The patches are most common on the knees, elbows, scalp, tailbone, and back, but may appear anywhere on the body (including the fingernails, palms, and soles of the feet).

Sores, blisters, or lumps

Conditions that may cause a sore, blister, or lump in the vagina or on the vulva can include:

  • Genital herpes. This is a viral infection that causes skin blisters and sores.
  • Genital warts. These 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 and the vulva. 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 may be the first symptom of several different STIs.
  • Folliculitis. This is an infected hair shaft. A red, tender lump may form when skin bacteria cause an infection at the base of a hair shaft.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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