A vaginal boil is a painful, pus-filled lump that can form under the skin in the area around your vagina and vulva. We know—ouch! Not what you really want down there.
So what causes these annoying little (or not-so-little) boils on your vagina? And what can you do to get rid of them?
Let’s find out.
In this article 📝
- What causes vaginal boils?
- Is a vaginal boil the same as a vaginal cyst?
- How to treat a vaginal boil
- Can you prevent vaginal boils?
What causes vaginal boils?
Some common causes of vaginal or vulvar boils are:
- Folliculitis, where one of your hair follicles (the little sacs that your hairs grow from) gets infected. It can happen as a side effect of irritation from shaving or waxing.
- Bacterial infection, often by a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus (staph). This bacteria can live quite peacefully on the surface of your skin—it’s only when it gets into your body that it may cause problems.
- Bartholin’s cysts. If your Bartholin’s glands (which sit at each side of your vaginal opening) get blocked, cysts can form. And if these get infected, they can become boils. (More on the difference between cysts and boils below.)
Is a vaginal boil the same as a vaginal cyst?
They both look like bumps under the skin in your vaginal area, but vaginal boils and vaginal cysts are actually quite different.
Let’s take a look at what sets them apart:
What does a vaginal boil look like?
A boil on your vagina can start off as a small red bump, but in the space of a few days it can swell up into a much larger painful red spot.
As it’s filled with pus, it will have a white or yellow tip.
Because a vaginal boil is caused by an infection, it can feel tender or warm to the touch.
What does a vaginal cyst look like?
In contrast, a vaginal cyst tends to be smaller, slower-growing, and skin-colored. It can be filled with fluid or other material, but not pus.
Generally, a cyst will be painless unless it gets infected. Then it can become a boil or skin abscess (another term for a large boil).
How to treat a vaginal boil
Most of the time, if you get a boil on your vaginal area, it’ll go away by itself within a couple of weeks.
Either it’ll burst and the pus will drain away (lovely, we know) or it’ll shrink down and just disappear.
But here are some home remedies you can try to help the healing process along:
- Apply a clean, warm, damp washcloth to the area for 10 minutes, three to four times a day. This can help draw the pus to the surface, and hopefully the boil will drain sooner.
- Wear loose underwear and clothing so there’s less chance of it rubbing and making the irritation around your vagina worse.
- Keep the area clean, and wash your hands before and after touching it, to prevent the spread of infection.
- Take over-the-counter pain relief, if you need to, for any discomfort.
- Cover the boil with a gauze bandage once it starts to drain, and keep washing the area regularly.
- DON’T try to squeeze or pop the boil. We know it might seem tempting, but this runs the risk of spreading the infection and causing scarring.
If your boil isn’t getting better on its own, or if it becomes very large and painful, you might need to see a doctor for medical treatment.
Here’s what they might suggest:
- Antibiotics to help clear up the infection
- Lancing the boil. That’s where your doctor makes a small incision in the boil so that the pus can drain away.
How do you get rid of a boil fast?
Sadly, there’s no super-quick way to make a boil vanish. But try the home treatments above and hopefully the boil will clear up sooner rather than later.
Can you prevent vaginal boils?
There’s nothing you can do to totally prevent vaginal boils, but these tips should help keep them at bay:
- Wash your vaginal area at least once a day and after exercise.
- Change your underwear daily and after exercise.
- Wash your hands often to avoid contact with any harmful bacteria.
- Don’t share personal items (such as towels and washcloths) with other people.
- Avoid using perfumed products around your vaginal area, as they can irritate your skin and increase the risk of infection.
Ultimately, you know if there’s something going on with your body.
If you’re ever unsure, check in with your doctor.
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