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Lizzie De La Cruz - August 19, 2020

Pimples On Your Vagina? Here's What They Can Mean

How Do I Get Rid of Pimples on My Vagina?

Pimples are pesky little things when they pop up on your face or your back, but when they show up on your vagina or inside your vag lips, however, they can create a whole new level of worry.

Sure, you may have a few new genital pimples, but it's a good idea to know for sure before having sex again. No matter the diagnosis, pimples on your vagina are not the end of the world. Even if it turns out to be genital herpes, your life can get back to normal once you address your symptoms and seek treatment.

What Are These Pimples in My Vag?

You took a look down there and spotted what seems to be a pimple. But is that really a pimple, or could something else be behind that pimple-like thing in your genital area? Sound like you?

Before you panic, it's important to know the basics. So, take a deep breath, and let's dive in.

Pimples and genital herpes, technically known as HSV-2, can come with similar characteristics. Both may appear as a small bump on your skin that's filled with pus.

A true pimple comes from dirt or oil that builds up and clogs your pores, and that's true of vaginal pimples as well. Genital pimples are usually filled with white pus and look red or pink.

Genital herpes typically looks like red or white bumps that are full of a clear liquid. The virus also commonly presents as red, painful ulcers.

Could This Pimple Be Herpes?

It's possible that your pimples are really genital herpes. This virus can stay dormant in your system for years after you were exposed ⁠— you can get symptoms at any time, even months after acquiring the virus during sex.

If you have a small patch of white or red bumps or ulcers, check for some other symptoms, including:

  • Achiness

  • Fever

  • Headaches

  • Leg pain

  • Lymph nodes that are swollen

  • Vaginal discharge 

A combination of genital "pimples" and a few of these symptoms indicates that what you have likely is genital herpes.

The lesions you get from genital herpes usually feel softer than a "regular" pimple would. They can sometimes look more like a blister than a pimple. Unfortunately, they're also typically painful. But they're no reason to feel ashamed. Genital herpes is easy to treat, and the sooner you determine if it's the cause of your pimple problem, the sooner you can get back to living your normal life.

Getting Tested for Genital Herpes

Time for another deep breath. If you suspect your pimples are actually herpes, there's no need to freak out. Getting tested will allow you to receive treatment that makes it possible to live a totally normal life.

Sex makes us human, and you want to make sure you're keeping yourself and your partners healthy if you're having it. Unless it's getting treated actively, herpes can spread between sexual partners. And it's possible for herpes to spread even if you or your partner aren't showing external symptoms.

An open swab test is the only way to verify genital herpes. Most medical facilities won't test for the virus unless you explicitly request a test, so make sure you speak up when you see your doctor. Your doctor can then use a herpes viral culture lesion test to collect a skin sample during an outbreak (Note: this test must be performed in the presence of a genital outbreak). You may feel some discomfort during the test, but relief is coming. You'll generally get results in just a few days ⁠— and there's no need for any other "herpes test." This test will tell you everything you need to know.

Alternatively, you may be contacted by a past sexual partner informing you that they have Genital Herpes. If you acquired the virus and experience an outbreak, you can begin taking Prescription Antivirals to control future outbreaks immediately. Depending on the frequency of your outbreaks, i.e. how your body responds to the virus, you will need a "Suppressive" or "Episodic" treatment plan.

Treatment for Genital Herpes

Time for some good news: Genital herpes is actually easy to treat! Even better? If you take your antiviral medication quickly, you'll make your outbreak less severe. You may not even get an outbreak at all.

Prescription antivirals include Acyclovir (Zovirax, Sitavig) and Valacyclovir (Valtrex). Both can treat current outbreaks and prevent future outbreaks, depending on how you take them. You can even use telehealth to speak with a doctor and receive medication in a totally discreet, stress-free way.

After answering a few questions about your symptoms, a wisp doctor will diagnose your condition and prescribe medication which is packaged by a US pharmacy and sent directly to you in discreet packaging (so no one has to know what it is). Alternatively, you can pick it up from a local pharmacy too!

Other Causes of Vaginal Pimples

That pimple could also just be a pimple, and it can be a symptom of other conditions besides genital herpes. Some additional culprits behind pimples in your genital area include:

  • Contact dermatitis

  • Folliculitis (better known as ingrown hair)

  • Hidradenitis suppurativa, or acne inversa

  • Molluscum contagiosum

Contact Dermatitis

Many instances of vaginal pimples come from a reaction to something touching your skin. You can get contact dermatitis if you're sensitive to various everyday things such as:

  • Condoms

  • Douches

  • Feminine wipes, lotions, perfumes, powders or deodorants

  • Laundry detergents or dryer sheets

  • Lube

  • Over-the-counter topical medications

  • Sanitary pads and tampons

  • Sexual arousal stimulants

  • Soaps or bubble baths, particular ones that have fragrances

  • Spermicides

Your skin can also get irritated from:

  • Perspiration

  • Semen

  • Urine

  • Vaginal discharge

Skin irritation from any of these things can make pimples form.

Folliculitis

An infection of the hair follicle from bacteria can also lead to pimples. Simply shaving is one common cause. As your hair grows back out of its follicle, it can curl back toward your skin and cause irritation, or even grow into your skin. That's what you know as ingrown hair. If your skin is sensitive, a dull razor can give you razor burn and cause bumps and blisters. Razors can even cause, yep...pimples.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), also known as acne inversa, is a chronic disease that affects your sweat glands. HS is a rare inflammatory disease that creates lesions like pimples all over the body, including your vulva. 

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that can also cause pimples anywhere on your body, including your genitals.

No matter what you think is causing your pimples, your best course of action is always consulting with a doctor. Your doctor can order tests that will clarify what's behind your pimples so that you can start any necessary treatments as soon as possible.

Whether you've discovered them on your labia or somewhere else in your genital area, vaginal pimples range from "annoying," to something you may have to make a small lifestyle change to treat. Even if your vaginal pimples turn out to be genital herpes, easy treatment can get you on the road to wellness in no time. Take that final deep breath, and reach out to a doctor if you need to. You'll get back to your normal life once you know what treatment to start.