I'm scared. I found a lump at the side of my vagina. It's only there when I have my period. Is it natural?
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Vaginal lumps can be the result of a variety of different conditions or diseases. The most common among these are sebaceous cysts, herpes, genital warts, vaginal polyps, or a Bartholian cyst. The good news is most of these are treatable, and most vaginal lumps are not life-threatening, although they can be frightening when found. In the event of severe vaginal pain or vaginal bleeding, immediate medical attention should be sought as this could be an indication of a more serious condition. Only through examination by a specialist in gynecology can an accurate diagnosis be made.
Sebaceous cysts are probably the most common cause of vaginal lumps. They are formed from a blocked sebaceous, or sweat, gland, or can result from an ingrown hair. They can be aggravated by shaving the vaginal area or by wearing tight underwear that interferes with the function of the sweat gland. These vaginal lumps can become infected and quite painful, especially if squeezed.
If a woman thinks she may have a sebaceous cyst, she should visit her doctor and not attempt to squeeze or pinch the lump. A course of antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is detected. This is a very common cause of vaginal lumps, and not an indication of a disease or illness, although only a physician knows for certain after examination.
Bartholian's glands are found on either side of the entrance to the vaginal canal, and are responsible for lubricating the vagina. Sometimes these glands can become blocked, causing fluid to back up into the gland, forming a Bartholian cyst. This type of cyst is usually painless, but if a woman experiences vaginal pain, the cyst may be infected. Some Bartholian cysts can be treated at home, but if an infection occurs antibiotics and surgical draining of the cyst may be necessary. Most of the time, the lump is small and painless, and may not even be noticed.
Vaginal polyps are benign growths on the vaginal lining. Unless vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain occurs, they do not require treatment. Often, these lumps go unnoticed, and cause no symptoms.
Herpes can appear as small vaginal lumps at first, but change into fluid-filled blisters appearing as vaginal sores, breaking open and becoming quite painful. There may also be an odor associated with this condition. Genital warts often look like small lumps under the skin, and are usually painless. They are caused by the HPV virus, which could lead to more serious conditions, such as cervical cancer.
Both of herpes and genital warts are sexually transmitted diseases. It's important for a woman to practice safe sex and to be examined by a medical professional for the proper diagnosis and treatment. Neither disease is curable, but with the proper precautions, such as using a latex condom during sex, the disease can be managed to minimize the symptoms.
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