What is Swollen Labia?
Vagina maintains chemical balance but this balance can be affected by some conditions. This disturbance may cause the vagina linings to swell. In case the labia swell, the swelling can be localized to either labia majora or labia minora or generalized to both. This situation affects girls and women of all ages.
Causes & Symptoms of Swollen Labia Majora & Minora
There are many causes of swollen labia such as:
Allergy or irritant reaction
This occurs when your vagina is repeatedly exposed to a causative agent for a prolonged time. For example, anyone exposed to soaps, cream and sprays for a long time can have an allergic reaction.
Allergy makes the labia skin red and swollen. You can experience allergic reaction in labia minora and labia majora every time after sex. This is because you are allergic to latex condoms or gel used.
Sometimes your vagina may be swollen on both sides, a condition referred to us edematous swelling. This occurs due to pregnancy or any other condition that widens the uterus and exerts pressure on the pelvic veins. As a result damages the veins leading to poor drainage.
Vulvovaginitis is the common infection of vulva and vagina.The following are some of the causes:
Many micro-organisms live in the vagina; they are either good or bad bacteria .Good bacteria helps to protect the vagina against infections and control the population of bad bacteria. When bad bacteria populations become more than good bacteria population in the vagina, it causes inflammation. This makes you susceptible to vaginal candidiasis or bacterial vaginosis.
A woman with bacterial vaginosis manifests at least some of the following symptoms:
- Increased vaginal pH. Women suffering from bacterial vaginosis have vaginal pH equal to or higher than 4.8.
- Vaginal discharge that is white, gray and thin.
- Vaginal fishy smell
Vaginal bacteria are affected by food; what you eat can affect the populations of bacteria in the vagina.For instance, a lot of alcohol, sugary and refined starchy foods in your diet can help bad bacteria grow and multiply.
Candida albicans is the common causes of vulvovaginitis. Yeast infection is mostly triggered by use of antibiotics which kill antifungal bacteria in the vagina.This infection can result into genitals itching and a thick white vaginal discharge.
Sexually transmitted viruses are the major causes of vulvovaginitis. Examples of viruses are human papillomavirus and herpes .Human papillomavirus occurs via skin contact and many people acquire the viral infection through oral sex or direct sexual contact. But, you do not need to have sex to be infected because it is a skin infection. Human papillomavirus may lead to serious health complications such as genital warts.
When you wear very tight clothes such as pants, they rub against the vaginal area causing irritation. An irritated skin is vulnerable to vulvovaginitis. Another unhygienic method of genital cleaning is scrubbing the skin with a rough clothe that damages the skin.
Parasites such as scabies mites cause scabies in human beings. Scabies mites enter the epidermis by barrowing the skin, multiply and spread in other areas of the skin. You can get scabies through prolonged skin contact with an infected person or through sex.Scabies causes severe itching around infected areas.
Trichomonas vaginalis is another parasite that causes trichomonas vaginitis and sexually transmitted. Women with this condition experience symptoms such as redness, burning, irritation, and vulva swelling with greenish vaginal discharge. Some women may feel pain during urination.
Your doctor considers your history of vaginal infections or sexually transmitted diseases and a conducts a physical assessment of the pelvix.A sample from your Vaginal discharge if any is taken and analyzed to determine whether there is infection or not.
Swollen labia are treatable but their treatment is based on the condition causing it. Treatment can include the following:
Use of antibiotics
Bacteria vaginosis can be treated by an antibiotic called Metronidazole .It is available in different forms such as tablets taken twice a day between 5 to 7 days, single dose tablet taken once and a gel applied once daily for five days.
Pregnant women with bacterial vaginosis are required to take Metronidazole tablets for 5 or 7 days. While breastfeeding mothers use Metronidazole gel because tablets affect breast milk.
In case you had a past reaction to Metronidazole, a cream such as clindamcyin is recommendated. However, Metronidazole can cause vomiting, nausea and slight harsh taste in your mouth. You have to eat food before taking the tablets. Avoid alcohol when taking this medicine for at least 48 hours.
Bacterial vaginosis can also be treated by vaginal corrections such as gel which can be purchased over the counter. The gel is applied inside the vagina to change acidic balance thus preventing bacteria growth.
Use clothing that allows free circulation of air to keep vulva dry. You can wear cotton pants and avoid putting on panty liners during your normal times.
Use of antifungal medications
Vaginal thrush is treated using several medicines such as pessaries; clotrimazole and fenticonazole which are inserted in the vagina.
There are some natural methods you can use at home to prevent irritation of the vagina such as
Drink a lot of water
Taking a lot of water increases frequent urination. By regularly emptying your bladder, you control the growth rate of bacteria as well as minimize spread of bacterial infection.
Garlic has antibiotic and antibacterial properties that kill bacteria and yeast. It also enhances the immune system and fights body infections.
Raw honey contains antifungal and antibacterial properties that can remove any microbial infection in the vagina.You need to apply raw honey on the affected area of the vagina.
Before you use any natural remedy, consult your doctor for advice to avoid any medical complications.
- Use fragrance-free soap and plain water to clean your vagina.
- Eat vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C to strengthen your immune system and minimize infections.
- Avoid irritants and allergic substances such as creams, soaps etc.