WTF is the bump on my bikini line?

WTF is the bump on my bikini line?

Bumps on your vulva– are they normal or not? Have you ever shaved only to uncover a bump on your bikini line, proceeded to spend an hour digging into the depths of google, and walked away feeling worse? Yep, we’ve been there too. Bumps on your bikini line, mons pubis (the fatty pad of hair-covered tissue above your pubic bone), and between your legs can occur due to a wide range of different things– they can be harmless or indicate a larger concern. 

Bumps on your bikini line can be quite common. 

I lived with a bump on my bikini line for a year before I finally mustered up the courage to go to the doctor. I had no idea whether it was an STI or a skin tag. A quick trip to my gynecologist confirmed that it was an inflamed ingrown hair, and I needed medication to help it go away. So, FYI, bumps on your vulva are very often normal. However, if you have one sticking around for a while or you aren’t sure what it is, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with your gyno. 

What is the bump on my bikini line? 

Ingrown hair

Do you have ingrown hair on your bikini line? We’ve all been there. Don’t fret, they are common and very treatable! Ingrown hairs on your vulva happen when you shave, wax, or sugar and the hair grows back into your skin, instead of up and out. Ingrown hairs are often tender. They can be papules, pustules, or turn into cysts. Using warm compresses, exfoliants, and retinoids will often do the trick to get rid of your ingrown hair. They can take days to weeks to go away. On occasion, you may require antibiotics (either topical or oral) from your gynecologist or primary care provider to help treat and clear the infection. 

Skin tag

Skin tags are very common, but did you know that sometimes skin tags can occur on your vulva? Vulvar skin tags are small growths on your labia, near the opening of your vagina, or in between your thighs. They don’t grow inside your vagina. They look like a normal skin tag, and are harmless! If they are irritating because of their position and friction, or if you do not like the cosmetic appearance, you can ask your gynecologist or dermatologist to remove them in office. Skin tag removal is quite common and simple.

Fordyce spots

Fordyce spots can occur on your lips, vulva, or penis. They are sebaceous oil glands that are slightly enlarged. Fordyce spots are normal (70-80% of women have them!) and not contagious. 

Vulvar or vaginal cysts

Vulvar cysts, also called Bartholin cysts, can occur near the opening of the vagina. They can happen when a Bartholin gland gets blocked. They can cause swelling and discomfort. Sometimes these cysts can become infected and lead to an abscess, which will need medical attention. If you think you may have a cyst, it’s a good idea to see your doctor!  

Genital warts

Genital warts are often an STI caused by HPV. They are often skin colored and can look like small bits of cauliflower. It can take anywhere from weeks to years after sexual contact to develop warts. Genital warts are painless and do not have any discharge coming out of them. Genital warts may go away on their own, but there are also several medical treatments to get rid of them, including creams, in office acid treatments and cryotherapy (freezing procedure). As always, if you’re unsure if you have genital warts, we suggest seeing your gynecologist! 

Herpes lesion

Although it has a scary stigma, herpes is a very, very common STI. Herpes sores can be painful and itchy, and often turn into scabs. Herpes lesions look like ulcers with surrounding redness. They may also cause pain when you pee when the urine touches the lesion. You can transmit herpes by having sex with someone who is infected, or engaging in oral sex with someone who is having an oral herpes outbreak. Rarely, herpes can also be transmitted when neither person has an active outbreak. Herpes outbreaks will resolve on their own but antiviral medications, such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, can help decrease the duration of the outbreak and the associated symptoms.  Note- there are many conditions that can be mistaken for herpes! 

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