You wake up one morning expecting everything to be as it normally is; only to discover you have a swollen vaginal area. A swollen vaginal area does not just mean the vagina itself, but it can also be a swelling of the vaginal lips, labia majora or minora. Regardless of what specific area is swollen, you surely want to learn why. The causes of a swollen vaginal area are many, based on which area is affected, the appearance of the swelling and the other associated symptoms.

Common Causes of Swollen Vagina

Allergy or irritation

An allergy or potential irritation is considered one of the most common causes of a swollen vaginal area. An allergic reaction or irritation can occur from any type of chemical, such as soaps, vaginal contraceptives, sprays, creams, lubricants or even bubble baths. Sometimes, this can even occur with soaps or chemicals that you have been using for years. Furthermore, use of latex condoms may also cause an allergic reaction. If a chemical irritation occurs without an allergic reaction, it may result in the vulvar region becoming swollen. Usually, an allergic reaction is known as allergic contact dermatitis while the others are known as irritant contact dermatitis.


Generalized swelling around the vagina which is present on both sides is known as edematous swelling. This is most often due to improper drainage of the lymphatic system, or improper drainage of the veins in the region. The reasons for this drainage may be due to pregnancy or other conditions which enlarge the uterus and place pressure on your pelvic veins.

Cysts or abscesses

When there are specific swollen areas, it may be from a cyst or abscess that has become attached to the vaginal wall. These cysts and abscesses can occur from a variety of events, such as birth trauma. They may also form around what are known as Gartner’s ducts, which are part of the fetal development and usually disappear after birth. Additionally, some vaginal tumors are known to cause cysts and infected Bartholin’s glands, which are located on both sides of the vaginal opening, can also cause abscesses.


When vagina or cervix gets infected, which is also referred to as or cervicitis, the vaginal lips may become swollen. While these infections may result in swelling, there are usually other concomitant symptoms that appear first. Besides, yeast infection can also lead to swollen vagina. Additionally, skin conditions may cause cellulitis, which often results in a swollen vulva and severe pain. If not properly treated, infections may soon become abscesses.


Although the above are considered the most common causes, other common causes of a swollen vaginal area also include straddle injuries, rough intercourse and benign or cancerous vaginal tumor.

Less Common Causes of Swollen Vagina

In addition to the possible causes listed above, the following diseases, disorders or conditions can also be responsible for the swelling.

  • Fournier’s Gangrene, which is a bacterial infection of the genitals that spreads throughout the body from the urinary or gastrointestinal tracts and is considered life-threatening.

  • Heart failure when the heart’s deterioration fails to appropriately pump blood.

  • Lymphedema or the swelling caused by a damaged or blocked lymphatic vessel.

  • Pregnancy, which increase the compression of the veins by the growing uterus.

  • Venous insufficiency or the poor flow of blood throughout the veins.

When Should You Seek Immediate Medical Help?

There are certain cases in which vaginal swelling is actually a symptom of a life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical attention. If you or someone you know suffer from any of the following conditions in relation to a swollen vaginal area, be sure to call 911 immediately:

  • Bleeding, including light spotting, while pregnant.

  • A fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Pain that is extremely severe.

  • Any vaginal bleeding that is uncontrollable (soaking through more than one sanitary pad per hour for more than two hours at a time).

How to Treat Swollen Vagina

Consult Your Doctor

A swollen vaginal area may occur for a variety of reasons, so it is best to see a doctor if the swelling lasts for more than a week or is accompanied by illness or being uncomfortable.

Take Prescribed Medication

If you have a yeast infection, you may need an anti-fungal medication, which can be administered orally or vaginally. There are also antibiotic pills or creams to help soothe bacterial infections or swelling from a sexually transmitted disease.

Avoid Possible Irritants

After the cause of the swollen vaginal area has been diagnosed, be sure to avoid using any potential chemicals or soaps that may cause the swelling to return. Use fragrance-free laundry detergent, avoid scratching (as this may prolong healing), and abstain from sexual intercourse until fully healed.

Use Lukewarm Water

This is especially important if taking a bath or after using the restroom. If the swelling is severe, you should avoid using toilet paper and instead rinse with lukewarm water. You may also want to consider sleeping without bottoms in order to allow the vaginal area to be aired out.

You can get more information about clean vagina from the video below:


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  • jennieOct.20 16:23
    please help..... my vagina feels like i am being stabbed it hurts to walk or to sit or do anything that includes anything coming in contact with my vagina. i can't sit certain ways or lay certain ways. the muscle of the opening of my vagina is extremely swollen. please help i need relief!!!
  • T'Onnie DavisOct.13 21:51
    My private area has been irritated and it's very swollen there is no discharge or a smell its just irritated and swollen and sometimes it starts to feel very warm. can you please tell me what to do? i really need help.
  • CaraOct.9 22:27
    Hi I'm 14 and today I don't know but between the two lips of my vagina it's swollen a bit and I don't know what to do.
  • AmandaSep.19 06:02
    My vagina has been itching since last week and yesterday when i checked it the left lip was swollen. I am very scared its something dangerous. I am only 14. I dont want to tell my mom. Pls advice me on what to do.
  • Nicole Sep.16 16:51
    one day I went to take my bath ND I noticed that my vagina lips were very swollen, reddish and has some rashes on it. since then after my menstruation it occurs and occasionally. i told my mom but she said that some people have that kind of symptom.still I think I ve a confused.
  • Anonymous Sep.13 11:25
    Okay as far as I know I don't have any stds and haven't my vagina is swollen shut feels like it burns to a certain extent I'm treating it as a yeast infection should I just go to the doctors I'm terrified by the way I'm not abnormally discharging there's no smell at all just swelling soreness and tiny itching but it hurts so I dare not touch it
  • AdriannaSep.13 06:58
    Help. I had sex W/ a guy I really like and we did it hard sex rough sex, but I can't even sit or stand without my vagina burning and itching I looked in the mirror and my left side is swollen on the lip towards the top. I don't wanna tell my mom I'm 14 lol or go to doctor HELP.
  • Deven poundsSep.5 03:41
    Hello my name is deven . What can cause one side of my vagina lips to be swollen and it itches a lot ? It's been there about 2 weeks now.
  • Alex HarringtonAug.30 00:56
    Please help. My left vaginal lip is swollen and so is the left lip next to my clitoris. I had sex and I can't even walk, sit or stand without it burning, itching or hurting.
  • HanzenAug.29 17:58
    So last week my vagina is so itchy and I looked it up and it's said its a yeast infection so i went to tha store and got the anti itch relief and after 3 days the itch is gone and now my vaginal lips are swollen I don't know what happen and it scares me.
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