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Women's Health: Why Women Shouldn't Ignore Soreness, Genital Bumps, or Itches

You may find any soreness, bumps, or itches that generate from your genitals are too embarrassing to talk about. But ignoring the signs and symptoms may place your health at risk.

At Seacoast Dermatology, we specialize in women’s skin care needs and understand how difficult it can be to discuss symptoms that affect the intimate areas of your body. To make sure you seek help when you need it, we want to share some of the skin conditions that may be causing your soreness, genital bumps, or itching.

Your private parts

Changes in your genital health may affect your inner or outer genitalia. When we talk about soreness, genital bumps, and itches, we’re referring to the signs and symptoms that affect your outer genitalia, also referred to as your vulva. Your outer genitalia is composed of several parts, including:

Your internal genitalia includes your vagina and reproductive organs. 

What’s causing your soreness, genital bumps, or itches?

Like most women, you probably assume any genital itching or discomfort is a yeast infection, which is easily treated with an antifungal medication. But if your antifungal treatments aren’t working or your soreness and itching also includes genital bumps, then you may have more than a yeast infection. 

It’s possible your genital symptoms may be caused by an injury or an allergic reaction, but it may also be something more serious, such as:

Sexual transmitted disease (STD)

STDs don’t always cause symptoms, but your genital soreness, bumps, and itching may be signs of an infection like herpes or genital warts. Though men and women are at risk of contracting STDs, women are more likely to experience serious health complications, such as infertility. 

Lichen simplex chronicus

Lichen simplex chronicus causes thick and scaly patches of skin (referred to as plaques) on your vulva that can be very itchy. 

Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN)

VIN is a precancerous condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common STD that’s also linked to cervical cancer. The condition causes itching, soreness, and skin changes that may include bumps. 

Vulvar cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 6,000 women were diagnosed with vulvar cancer in 2019. Though not as common as other types of cancer, when caught early, vulvar cancer is treatable. Pap smears have saved millions of lives, but the test doesn’t check for vulvar cancer. 

As you get older, your risk increases, with 80% of cases in women older than 50.  Symptoms of vulvar cancer include persistent genital itching, pain, tenderness, and changes in the color or thickness of your skin. You may also develop wartlike genital bumps or ulcers.

Getting evaluated

Soreness, genital bumps, or itches may not always be a serious health issue, but getting evaluated may prevent future health complications, not to mention faster relief from your symptoms. At Seacoast Dermatology, our specialists can talk to you about your symptoms and evaluate your skin to identify the cause, so you get the right treatment. 

If you’re experiencing genital soreness, bumps, or itching, now’s the time to schedule a GYN skin cancer screening appointment with one of our female health care professionals. Call Seacoast Dermatology or book an appointment online to schedule an evaluation.

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