Why Is Your Vagina Swollen If You Haven’t Had Sex?

Hi Heather,

I have a question for you… My boyfriend and I wanted to have sexual intercourse, but I was very swollen before the intercourse even started. Is this normal? I don’t know why but we couldn’t even have sex because it was so swollen. Why would it be like that if I haven’t even had sex yet?

smell

A swollen vagina is one of those down-there issues that no one ever talks about. Girls will complain about their PMS symptoms, and even discharge is becoming a more common topic (thanks to the Internet), but swelling down there? It’s definitely not something you run to your friends for advice on. One of the most common reasons for vaginal swelling is indeed having penetrative sex, but if you haven’t done that, then what’s going on? I turned to my friend Dr. Sherry Ross for advice – she’s from the site HelloFlo (a monthly period package you need in your life ASAP). 

Dr. Ross said, “Swelling of the vagina, which includes the lips of the vagina (also known as the labia minora and majora), is more common than you think. The most common causes of vaginal swelling from sexual activity include being allergic to a sexual lubricant, latex condoms, vaginal contraceptive, or other chemical irritants. However, it’s not all about the sexy times. Your vagina could be swollen because you’re allergic to something like a perfumed soap, spray, or even bubble bath. This type of allergic reaction is called dermatitis.”

Dr. Ross added, “If you were using some of these types of commonly used irritants with foreplay, it could be the cause of your vaginal swelling. If you didn’t use any of those things, then it probably wasn’t caused by allergies. I would suggest you see your health care provider to see if you have a vaginal infection such as yeast or a cyst of the vagina.” Do you notice any other symptoms, such as itching, general irritation, a burning sensation when peeing, or extra discharge? If so, you should definitely see a gyno.

How do you fix the issue? Dr. Ross suggests: “Treatment of a swollen vagina will depend on the cause of the swelling. It is best to see a health care provider to help you figure out the source.” In the meantime, you can always try using ice wrapped in paper towels, or an ice pack wrapped in a towel, and press against the swollen area. This should help ease the swelling until you can get more medical help.

And hey, maybe it isn’t even from an infection or an allergy – if you were really dry down there, and your BF was trying to get his penis inside of you, that friction could have caused swelling and irritation. If you guys were trying for a while, then all of the action (even if you didn’t have sex) could also cause some swelling down there. If that’s the case, then the next time you try having sex, you should use a lubricant to make sure you’re wet enough for things to feel comfortable. And take it slow! Good luck!

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com You can also reach our buddies at HelloFlo with questions about your body or health. Just ask Dr. Flo at HelloFlo!

 

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