Swollen down there? The 11 things that can cause swelling around your vagina

EVERYONE wants to feel comfortable.

There’s nothing worse than wriggling around in your seat because you’re swollen down there and can’t get comfy.


Vaginas come in all shapes and sizes – but if yours is swollen then you might need to see your GPCredit: Getty

It’s an experience no one wants to have and it can be worrying – especially if you don’t know what has caused the issue in the first place.

Vulvovaginitis is the name given to a number of condition that can cause swelling, redness and irritation around the vulva and vagina.

There are many reasons why you might be slightly puffy down there, from infection to trauma.

And if you do notice a change in size you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible to rule out anything serious.

Here’s what might cause you to swell down there.

1. Thrush

Vaginal thrush is a common yeast infection that affects most women at some point in their lives.

Signs you could be suffering thrush including itching and soreness down there, pain during sex and a stinging sensation when you pee.

It can also cause swelling and inflammation.

Those suffering for the first time, pregnant women, and those who’ve suffered two bouts of thrush within six months should speak to their doctor.

And those with sores on the skin around their vagina, and abnormal bleeding should also seek medical advice to rule out STIs.

2. STIs

There are several STIs that can cause swelling down there.

Women with gonorrhoea, chlamydia or less-known trichomoniasis may notice inflammation around their private parts.

Chlamydia is one of the most common forms of STI in England.

Around 200,000 people test positive for the curable STI every year.

NO NEED TO OVARY-ACT There are apparently five different types of vagina… so are you Ms Puffs or Ms Barbie?

In the majority of cases, people with chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms at all.

But others may experience burning pain while weeing, unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum, pain in the abdomen, bleeding after sex, bleeding between periods.

Gonorrhoea is the second most common form of STI in England.

The bacterial infection spreads through all forms of unprotected sex, oral sex, as well as by sharing unwashed or unprotected sex toys.

In women, symptoms can often include unusually watery or off-colour vaginal discharge, as well as burning pain when weeing.

Trichomoniasis is caused by a tiny parasite called trichomonas vaginalis.

Symptoms in women include abnormal discharge that can be yellow or green, soreness and swelling and pain when having sex or weeing.

If you think you have an STI you need to see a doctor.

3. Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis can also cause swelling in your lady garden.

The infection occurs when the bacteria inside the vagina becomes disrupted.

The condition doesn’t always come with itching or pain but can create a strong fishy smell.

It can also cause a grey/white discharge and discomfort during sex.

If you have bacterial vaginosis you will need a course of antibiotics to treat it.

4. Rough sex

Just like anywhere else in the body, your vagina can swell if it experiences a trauma.

You might not think rough sex is a trauma, but anything that is slightly harsher on your flesh can cause swelling – no matter how good it felt at the time.

You may also experience swelling if you are not properly aroused during sex.

In most cases you won’t need treatment and the swelling will go down on its own.

But if it persists for several days you should speak to a doctor.

5. Herpes

Herpes is highly contagious and caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which triggers painful blisters.

It is spread by skin-to-skin contact – during vaginal, oral or anal sex – or even just a kiss.

There are two types of herpes – HSV1 and HSV2 – which enter the body via the skin around the mouth, penis, vagina and rectum.

Both types cause cold sores on the mouth, genital herpes, whitlows (small abscesses) on the fingers and hands.

The STI can also cause some swelling and discomfort in your private parts, as well as pain while weeing and too much discharge.

If you think you have herpes you need to see a doctor.

6. Foreign objects

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t put anything in your vagina that is not designed to go in a vagina.

But, that being said, several recent trends have involved foreign objects in the vagina – including glitterbombs, cucumbers, Vicks VapoRub and wasp nests.

All of these carry with them the risk of infection, which can lead to swelling.

It may also cause pain, discomfort, itching, irritation and unusual discharge.

The bottom line is, don’t follow these trends.

7. Pregnancy

When you are pregnant you may notice swelling is a side effect.

As your baby grows it can put pressure on the pelvis and nearby muscles and blood vessels.

This can affect your blood flow down there and cause inflammation.

8. Cervicitis

An inflamed cervix, or cervicitis, is often the result of an STI.

It will cause swelling down there as well as pelvic pain, bloody discharge and spotting between periods.

You can also bruise your cervix during sex, which can cause pain and swelling in your private parts.

9. Cysts

There’s a little known reason women may get cysts in their vagina – the gartner’s duct.

The duct refers to the remnants of a vaginal duct that forms in a foetus.

It often disappears after birth but in some women it remains and becomes attached to the vaginal wall.

Cysts can then develop in between the duct and the wall, which can cause swelling.

Cysts or abscesses can also develop in the bartholin’s glands on either side of the vaginal opening.

The glands produce mucus to lubricate the vagina.

They are usually nothing to worry about though and the cysts will go away on their own.

If you experience pain or there are signs of infection speak to a GP.

10. Cycling

Cycling seems like a healthy option, right?

It is good exercise but all that pedalling could be making you BIGGER down there.

Experts warn the hobby could leave you feeling a “burning sensation” in your vagina.

According to Cycling UK, when a woman sits on a road bike, her vulva – something that is absolutely not designed to be weight bearing – can be required to take as much as 40 per cent of her body weight.

This pressure can cause the vulva and labia to appear bigger and become swollen.

11. Irritation and allergies

Allergic reactions can happen in your vagina, too.

If you suffer irritation or an allergic response down there you will become inflamed and swollen.

You may also experience itching and a rash.

Things like vaginal lubricants, soaps, perfumes, toilet paper, condoms and washing powder can cause irritation of your lady garden.

Even the cut of your underwear can be a problem – think thin lace G-strings that can cause unnecessary friction.

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