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Vaginal Blisters: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

The moment you see a blister or sore on the vagina, you panic and you tend to start looking out for ways to get it treated. But, first you need to know why did it occur and how can you prevent it in the future. In this article, we will explain what is a vaginal blister, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Most often when the vaginal blisters erupt it may be itchy, painful, tender or have a discharge. They occur on their own and resolve on their own, however, they do not go away quickly if it's severe.

What Are Vaginal Blisters?

It is a blister that occurs at the entrance of the vagina or on the outer lips of the vagina. It may also appear on the clitoris, so basically anywhere on the female genitals. These blisters or sores are clear and full of fluid, they may appear as one or in clusters. Most women mistake these vaginal sores to be acne as they cause redness and itchiness.

What Causes Vaginal Blisters?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are the most common cause of vaginal sores and blisters spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex. It can also spread through sex toys [1] ,[2] , [3] .

The most common types of STIs that cause genital sores or blisters are the following:

  • Genital herpes - A viral infection that causes blisters on the genitals [4] . These blisters may not hurt, but they can burst and become painful. Once a person gets genital herpes, it can't be cured but the outbreaks can be treated with medications like acyclic/carbocyclic guanosine analogues[5] , [6] . People with genital herpes should avoid sexual contact.
  • Genital warts - They are caused by human papillomaviruses (HPVs) resulting in sores that are harmless and usually resolve themselves. The warts are smooth on the skin and the treatment depends on where it has appeared and the size of the wart. Usually, a small number of warts can be treated with creams like imiquimod [7] , [8] and the larger warts have to be surgically removed.
  • Chancroid - This is another type of STI caused by Haemophilus ducreyi bacteria [9] . The blisters are painful as the bacteria attacks the tissue in the genital area and develop an open sore which produces a contagious fluid. The infection usually goes away within a week if treatment is done on time. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends medications like azithromycin, ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin, and erythromycin.
  • Syphilis - It is caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum, which leads to ulcers in the vaginal area. It can be treated with antibacterial medications like penicillins [10] . This antibiotic works by interfering with bacterial cell walls.
  • Molluscum contagiosum - A viral skin infection characterized by small bumps in the groin area and buttocks. These bumps can become bigger and larger sores that are tender and itchy. It generally lasts from 2 weeks to 4 years and disappears on their own. Depending on how strong your immunity is, the virus is difficult to treat[11] .
  • Granuloma inguinale - It is caused by the bacteria Klebsiella granulomatis. People suffering from this STI develop ulcers like sores that are red in colour which bleed and are painless. They can be treated with antibiotics.

Other Causes Of Vaginal Blisters

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Vulvovaginitis
  • Eczema
  • Cysts
  • Infected scratch
  • Rough intercourse
  • Clothing

Symptoms Of Vaginal Blisters

  • Vaginal blisters appear as small, red-coloured bumps which are accompanied by symptoms like these.
  • Itchiness
  • Pelvic pain
  • Bleeding
  • Burning
  • Pain at the site
  • Pain while urinating

Diagnosis Of Vaginal Blisters

To know the cause of vaginal blisters a physical examination needs to be done. The doctor will conduct a pelvic exam and ask about your medical history and he/she may order you to take blood or a swab from the affected area to learn the cause of the sores. Once the cause is known, your doctor will inform you what kind of treatment will help you.

Treatment For Vaginal Blisters

The treatment for vaginal blisters depends on the cause of it. Some blisters or sores may go away on their own and if not treatment is required with the help of medications.

Oral and topical medicines such as antibiotics, antiviral medicines, pain relievers, corticosteroids, and hydrocortisone can help cure these genital blisters and bring relief. STIs are generally treated with antiviral medicines and antibiotics [12] .

The doctor will guide you as to how to clean your sore and apply medicines until it heals and will advise you to avoid irritants such as douches and harsh soaps. Also one needs to wear the right undergarments that don't cause itchiness and tight-fitting clothes should be avoided.

Prevention Of Vaginal Blisters

To prevent STIs from spreading, practising safe sex using condoms is necessary. If your partner has been diagnosed with an STI, talk to your partner about getting it tested and treated to avoid infection and from further spreading the disease to you.

However, vaginal sores occurring due to allergies or other skin conditions can't be prevented. Cysts and ingrown hairs can be reduced if the vaginal area is washed with lukewarm water and you should avoid any kind of irritants.

View Article References
  1. [1] Royer, H. R., Heidrich, S. M., & Brown, R. L. (2011). Young women's Representations of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (RoSTD): a psychometric study. Research in nursing & health, 35(1), 15-29.
  2. [2] Panchanadeswaran, S., Johnson, S. C., Mayer, K. H., Srikrishnan, A. K., Sivaran, S., Zelaya, C. E., Go, V. F., Solomon, S., Bentley, M. E., … Celentano, D. D. (2006). Gender differences in the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and genital symptoms in an urban setting in southern India. Sexually transmitted infections, 82(6), 491-495.
  3. [3] Gorgos, L. M., & Marrazzo, J. M. (2011). Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Women Who Have Sex With Women. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 53(suppl_3), S84–S91.
  4. [4] Sen, P., & Barton, S. E. (2007). Genital herpes and its management. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 334(7602), 1048-1052.
  5. [5] De Clercq, E., Andrei, G., Snoeck, R., De Bolle, L., Naesens, L., Degrève, B., … Neyts, J. (2001). ACYCLIC/CARBOCYCLIC GUANOSINE ANALOGUES AS ANTI-HERPESVIRUS AGENTS. Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, 20(4-7), 271–285.
  6. [6] Modi, S., Van, L., Gewirtzman, A., Mendoza, N., Bartlett, B., Tremaine, A. M., & Tyring, S. (2008). Single-day treatment for orolabial and genital herpes: a brief review of pathogenesis and pharmacology. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(2), 409-417.
  7. [7] Edwards, L., Ferenczy, A., Eron, L., Baker, D., Owens, M. L., Fox, T. L., ... & Schmitt, K. A. (1998). Self-administered topical 5% imiquimod cream for external anogenital warts. Archives of Dermatology, 134(1), 25-30.
  8. [8] Puri N. (2009). A study on the use of imiquimod for the treatment of genital molluscum contagiosum and genital warts in female patients. Indian journal of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, 30(2), 84-88.
  9. [9] Sheldon, W. H., & Heyman, A. (1946). Studies on Chancroid: I. Observations on the Histology with an Evaluation of Biopsy as a Diagnostic Procedure. The American journal of pathology, 22(2), 415-425.
  10. [10] ARNOLD, R. C., CUTLER, J. C., WRIGHT, R. D., & LEVITAN, S. (1952). Studies in penicillin treatment of syphilis. Public health reports (Washington, D.C.: 1896), 67(1), 78-89.
  11. [11] Bugert, J. J., & Darai, G. (1997). Recent advances in molluscum contagiosum virus research. In Viral Zoonoses and Food of Animal Origin (pp. 35-47). Springer, Vienna.
  12. [12] Krupp, K., & Madhivanan, P. (2015). Antibiotic resistance in prevalent bacterial and protozoan sexually transmitted infections. Indian journal of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, 36(1), 3-8.
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