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    What Does It Mean When Your Vagina Is Swollen?

    Updated 27 August 2021 |
    Published 11 November 2019
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    If your vagina is puffy, red, or irritated and you want to know what this could mean, read on. Although it isn’t normal for vaginas to become excessively swollen, it’s not uncommon. There are a number of reasons why vaginas become swollen, and we cover the ones you’re most likely to encounter here.

    Symptoms of a swollen vagina

    A swollen vagina can have symptoms ranging from puffiness and discomfort to pain, discharge, and spotting. There can be a number of causes, including an allergic reaction or inflammation due to various microbes. 

    If you are dealing with a swollen vagina, it may affect a specific part of the vagina. You may have a swollen vulva or swollen perineum (the place between your vagina and anus). Your vagina, vulva, labia, or another area may look red and feel irritated or raw. Other symptoms may include an unusual discharge, painful urination, and light spotting or bleeding. 

    Frequently, a swollen vagina is a sign of vaginitis, or vaginal inflammation. When the vaginal inflammation accompanies a swollen vulva, it is known as vulvovaginitis. Inflammation is most often caused by a bacterial or viral infection, an overgrowth of yeast, or an imbalance in vaginal bacteria. Vaginal swelling can also be caused by an allergic reaction or even a rough sexual encounter. If symptoms persist for more than a few days or get worse, talk to your doctor. 

    Yeast infection

    A common cause of a swollen vagina is a yeast infection, also called candidiasis. Candidiasis happens when yeast grows to unhealthy levels in the vagina, causing inflammation of its mucous wall. It’s a very common health condition, affecting nearly three out of every four women at least once in their lifetime. Besides swelling, a yeast infection usually includes the following symptoms:

    Yeast infections can often be treated with an over-the-counter antifungal medication. If you are having recurrent infections, talk to your doctor about the possibility of an underlying condition.

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    Bartholin’s cyst

    Although rare, a Bartholin’s cyst can sometimes cause a swollen vaginal opening (also called vaginal vestibule). Often accompanied by symptoms of redness, pain, and heat if it gets infected and forms an abscess, this is one condition you’ll want to bring to your doctor’s attention immediately.   

    On both sides of your vaginal opening are Bartholin’s glands. Sometimes, the ducts along one of the glands can become blocked, and the resulting fluid buildup can cause a cyst to form. Bartholin’s cysts are soft and not typically painful. However, if the cyst grows too large, it can make the vulva painful while sitting, walking, or having sex.