Pus-Filled Bump on Vagina: 7 Possible Causes and Treatment Tips | myHSteam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About myHSteam
Powered By

Pus-Filled Bump on Vagina: 7 Possible Causes and Treatment Tips

Medically reviewed by Steven Devos, M.D., Ph.D.
Written by Emily Brown
Posted on April 11, 2024

A pus-filled bump in the vaginal area might be alarming, and sometimes, these nodules may be caused by hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). “That’s the only place I ever get them, and they are unbearable,” one myHSteam member responded to another asking if vaginal bumps are normal with HS.

In HS, lesions show up as pockets of pus that usually develop where skin rubs together and has hair follicles, like the armpits, groin, and genitals. These bumps can be painful and keep coming back. However, not all vaginal lumps are caused by HS.

HS isn’t the only potential cause of this symptom. Other types of bumps, including vaginal boils, can be caused by a skin infection or some health conditions. Determining the underlying cause of vaginal bumps is critical to getting appropriate treatment and feeling more comfortable.

Keep reading to find out seven possible causes of pus-filled bumps near the vagina, as well as treatment options if HS is the cause.

What a Pus-Filled Bump on the Vagina Looks and Feels Like

A pus-filled bump (also called an abscess) can develop on the vulva, which is the genital area outside the vagina and includes the labia — the skin folds that surround the vaginal opening. These pus-filled bumps may start as a small bump that can turn into a large, painful lump filled with pus in only a few days. These bumps near the vagina are also called vaginal boils.

The bumps can develop deep underneath the skin and produce several symptoms. A pus-filled vaginal bump may:

  • Feel tender or painful to the touch
  • Produce swelling
  • Appear pink or red
  • Have a yellow or white pus-filled center that may open and ooze pus, bleed, or crust over
  • Be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes or a fever

Causes of a Pus-Filled Bump Near the Vagina

There are many reasons why you might develop a pus-filled bump near your vagina, and certain symptoms can help narrow down the cause. Below are seven causes of a vaginal pus-filled bump, along with tips on when it’s time to talk to a doctor to see if HS might be the cause.

1. Skin Infection

Bacterial infections can cause a pus-filled bump to develop in the groin area. Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is the bacteria most commonly found to cause boils, carbuncles, and folliculitis, all of which are types of infections of the hair follicles — where hair growth occurs.

If you have a skin infection, you might experience other symptoms in addition to a pus-filled bump. While skin infections have different symptoms depending on the type, common symptoms of many skin infections include itchy, red, and painful skin or a rash.

2. Ingrown Hairs

Vaginal boils can also be caused by ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs are more likely to develop in areas where thick hair grows, like the pubic area, after shaving or waxing. While ingrown hairs are also painful, like vaginal boils, ingrown hairs are often accompanied by different symptoms, including skin discoloration (purple, brown, or red) around the ingrown hair, itching, and a hair in the middle of the bump.

3. Tight-Fitting Clothes

Pubic hair follicles may become inflamed and infected (folliculitis) and lead to a pimple-looking bump from wearing tight-fitting clothes. Tight-fitting pants don’t allow the skin around the groin to get air, and sweaty or dirty tight-fitting clothes or underwear are especially risky for boil development, as they can lead to a buildup of sweat and dirt in skin pores in the groin area.

It’s important to change out of sweaty or dirty underwear immediately, such as after exercising, and to practice good hygiene in the groin area to prevent vaginal boils.

4. Close Contact With Someone Who Has a Boil

Vaginal boils caused by infection are contagious and can spread through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing personal items, such as a towel or clothes, with someone who has a boil.

Some vaginal bumps can be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), with symptoms such as blisterlike red bumps or small, hard bumps. If you’re worried that vaginal bumps might be a result of sexual or intimate contact, talk to your doctor about getting tested for an STI.

5. Skin Injury

Small skin injuries, such as from an insect bite or shaving, can cause skin boils as the cut in the skin allows bacteria to enter the skin and cause an infection. For example, grooming the pubic area, such as the bikini line or labia, can cause injury to the skin and increase the risk of developing a boil from bacteria entering the hair follicles. Therefore, you’ll want to keep the pubic area clean and dry and change your razor often if you shave, because old razors can harbor bacteria.

6. Weakened Immune System

Having a weakened immune system or diabetes increases the risk of developing a boil, as the body is less able to fight off infection if bacteria or fungi were to enter the skin through a small skin injury. Although some diseases that compromise the immune system may have nothing to do with the skin or genital area, a vaginal bump may be a sign that your body is having a hard time fighting infections.

7. Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Pus-filled bumps around the vagina may be caused by HS (vulvar HS). The first symptom of HS is usually a skin bump that looks like a cyst, pimple, or boil, oftentimes in the armpit or groin area, where the skin rubs together and thick, coarse hair grows. These bumps can grow together into an abscess that breaks open and oozes pus or blood, which can smell unpleasant. HS is not contagious.

HS bumps may clear after a while and then develop again in the same area or even the same exact spot. The flare cycle of bumps healing and returning eventually causes channels (sinus tracts) to form between the abscess and the surface of the skin to drain pus and may lead to permanent scarring.

If you have pus-filled bumps that keep returning to your vaginal or vulvar area, talk to your doctor about whether HS may be the cause so that they can get you on a treatment plan to manage the condition.

Treatment Tips for a Pus-Filled Bump

Treatment for a pus-filled bump near the vagina depends on the underlying cause and how severe the bump is. Some boils may go away on their own or if warm compresses are applied to the affected area. More severe boils may require drainage or antibiotics.

If HS is the cause, treatment for vulvar HS may include:

  • Antibiotics to fight bacterial infection
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Hormonal treatments to control symptoms
  • Biologics to treat the disease
  • Procedures, such as surgery to drain or remove the lesions

A doctor or dermatologist might also create a skin care or pain management plan to help you manage symptoms. Keeping the groin area clean and comfortable and bandaging your groin can help you find relief from painful vulvar HS symptoms.

Home Remedies

Many myHSteam members find relief from vulvar HS with home remedies and hygiene best practices. “The groin area is problematic for a lot of people. Not shaving, moisturizing that area, letting that area breathe, using Hibiclens daily or every couple days, and antibacterial soap like Dial or medicinal soaps with tea tree oil or natural oils may help,” one myHSteam member shared. Another wrote, “I have HS not in the groin but the lady area. I found placing a heating pad directly on the area eases discomfort of pain.”

Appropriate treatment for pus-filled bumps near your vagina requires a proper diagnosis. If you notice bumps near your vagina that don’t go away or keep coming back, talk to a doctor about their possible cause and a treatment plan, including recommended home treatments. It can be embarrassing to talk about bumps around your private areas, but remember that you’re not alone in this, and talking about it is the first step to managing symptoms and feeling better.

Find Your Team

On myHSteam, the social network for people with hidradenitis suppurativa and their loved ones, more than 40,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with hidradenitis suppurativa.

Have you had a pus-filled bump near your vagina? What helped you feel more comfortable? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

    Posted on April 11, 2024
    All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

    We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

    You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
    Steven Devos, M.D., Ph.D. received his medical degree and completed residency training in dermatology at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Learn more about him here.
    Emily Brown is a freelance writer and editor, specializing in health communication and public health. Learn more about her here.

    Related Articles

    Hair grows straight up and out from the skin, but occasionally, a strand of hair curves and grows...

    Ingrown Hair Bumps in the Armpits: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

    Hair grows straight up and out from the skin, but occasionally, a strand of hair curves and grows...
    Flares are a big part of life for individuals living with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Members ...

    Understanding the Flare Cycle in HS

    Flares are a big part of life for individuals living with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Members ...
    Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) can affect any patch of skin with hair follicles. Behind the ear is...

    Can You Get Hidradenitis Suppurativa Behind Your Ear?

    Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) can affect any patch of skin with hair follicles. Behind the ear is...
    People living with chronic skin conditions like hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) are at higher risk...

    Depression and HS: Ways To Cope

    People living with chronic skin conditions like hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) are at higher risk...
    Pain from hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) can make getting a good night’s sleep difficult. Also kno...

    Sleep and Hidradenitis Suppurativa: 6 Ways To Manage Nighttime Pain and Get Better Rest

    Pain from hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) can make getting a good night’s sleep difficult. Also kno...
    If you’re living with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), you know that lesions can appear anywhere on...

    Perianal HS: Symptoms and Management

    If you’re living with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), you know that lesions can appear anywhere on...

    Recent Articles

    Hidradentitis suppurativa (HS) is a challenging skin condition that causes lesions and abscesses....

    Clinical Trials for HS: 6 Facts To Know

    Hidradentitis suppurativa (HS) is a challenging skin condition that causes lesions and abscesses....
    Many classes of drugs have been developed to help manage and treat hidradenitis suppurativa (HS),...

    How Do Biologics Treat Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

    Many classes of drugs have been developed to help manage and treat hidradenitis suppurativa (HS),...
    Intense skin issues can seem like a bit of a mystery — clues to diagnosis can be confusing when s...

    Hidradenitis Suppurativa vs. MRSA: What’s the Difference?

    Intense skin issues can seem like a bit of a mystery — clues to diagnosis can be confusing when s...
    Does this myHSteam member’s story sound familiar to you? “I’ve been trying for a baby and haven’t...

    Can HS Cause Infertility in Women?

    Does this myHSteam member’s story sound familiar to you? “I’ve been trying for a baby and haven’t...
    Getting the proper care for hidradenitis suppurativa can be expensive. At myHSteam, people regula...

    Financial Assistance for Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment: 5 Helpful Tips

    Getting the proper care for hidradenitis suppurativa can be expensive. At myHSteam, people regula...
    If you’re living with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), you may have heard that losing weight can im...

    HS and Weight: Is There a Connection With Obesity?

    If you’re living with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), you may have heard that losing weight can im...
    myHSteam My hidradenitis suppurativa Team

    Thank you for subscribing!

    Become a member to get even more:

    sign up for free

    close