Several women worldwide are affected by swollen labia. The folds of skin at the vagina entrance or the lips serve to protect the vagina. The vagina is a sensitive area that needs protection. Swollen labia could occur in the labia majora or labia minora.
This swelling happens due to an allergic reaction to some chemicals, bacterial or yeast infection, cysts in the vulva etc. But the lips at the vaginal opening can also swell as a result of sexual intercourse and pregnancy.
Swollen labia cause women discomfort and prevent them from carrying out their day-to-day activities properly. Women suffer pain, discharge and discomfort. You might be tempted to scratch between your legs because of the itchiness and burning sensation that you’ll feel.
Natural remedies can be used to treat swollen labia. These include coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. These natural remedies have antibacterial and antifungal properties that make them effective for fighting infections and soothing itchy labia.
Cause 1: Vaginitis
Vaginitis is an inflammation of the labia, vulva and vagina. It can cause swelling in the labia. It affects both girls and women irrespective of their age. There are several types of vaginitis. The types of vaginitis that can cause swollen labia are yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted diseases.
The symptoms of vaginitis are fishy vagina odor, itchy labia, discomfort when urinating, and inflammation of the genital area.
Vaginitis can be treated by preventing its symptoms. Here are some steps to take.
- Stop douching
- Take antibiotics only when necessary
- Change tampons three times daily. Tampons should never be used more than 3 times daily
- Avoid the use of perfumed products around the vagina area
Cause 2: Vaginal Yeast Infection
A yeast infection in the vagina can cause itchy, swollen labia. There might also be issues of vaginal discharge. Vaginal yeast infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of Candida albicans fungi in the vagina, labia and vulva. There is a need for a good balance between bacteria cells and yeast for a healthy vagina.
If you have a vaginal yeast infection, you will experience vaginal discharge that is white, odorless and clumpy. You will also experience itching. There will be redness and irritation around the vaginal opening.
The following are some natural remedies for treating vaginal yeast infection that causes swollen labia and itching.
Apple cider vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar can be used to treat vaginal yeast infection. You can apply a solution of apple cider vinegar to your vulva area to stop itchiness, reduce swollen vagina lips and get rid of the infection. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar lowers pH levels and stops vaginal itching.
Various studies have shown that acetic acid is an effective antifungal agent that can kill off several strains of yeast. Studies have also shown that acetic acid can also be used to stop the growth of Candida albicans fungi.
How apple cider vinegar can be used to reduce labia swelling
Here are the steps to follow to prepare an apple cider vinegar solution that can treat vaginal yeast infection. A skin patch test should be done first to ensure that you are not allergic to apple cider vinegar.
- Dilute raw apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water. Undiluted apple cider vinegar solution will burn your skin, so it should not be used.
- Soak a tampon into the diluted apple cider vinegar solution and insert the tampon into your vagina for about 30 to 60 minutes to kill off the yeast infection.
- The tampon should be removed from the vagina, and the vagina area should be rinsed with warm water. The area should be dried off gently after this.
- The tampon should be used about two to three times every day until the swelling stops.
It is better to use an apple cider vinegar tampon than using an apple cider vinegar douche as suggested by some women. Medical experts do not recommend the use of apple cider vinegar douche.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil contains antifungal properties that make it effective for treating vaginal yeast infection that causes the labia and the general vagina area to swell. Tea tree oil can kill off Candida albicans fungi and other fungal strains. Suppositories of tea tree oil can be inserted into the vagina.
Coconut oil can be used to treat vaginal yeast infection. It treats the pain experienced when urinating, itching and vaginal discharge. When the coconut oil is applied to the vaginal opening, vaginal discharge can be reduced, pain and itching can stop, and the swelling will go down. Fluconazole is a popular antifungal medication that can treat yeast infection. Research has shown that coconut oil is as effective as fluconazole for treating yeast infections.
How coconut oil and tea tree oil can be used to treat swollen labia
These treatments are homemade remedies that can be prepared yourself. These treatments will treat swollen labia that is caused by vaginal yeast infection.
Here are the steps that you need to take to prepare these treatments. It is essential that you do a skin patch test to ensure that you are not allergic to coconut oil or tea green oil.
- Warm 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil gently and two to three drops of tea tree oil and mix them well together.
- Soak a tampon into the tea tree oil and coconut oil solution so that the oil can be absorbed.
- Insert the soaked tampon into your vagina and leave it for 2 hours to kill off the yeast infection and reduce swelling in the labia.
- The treatment should be repeated two times daily until you don’t experience any itching and pain and the swelling in the labia majora and labia minora has gone down.
If you don’t want to use the tea tree oil and coconut oil solution through a tampon, you can use it as a healing ointment. Here are the steps to follow if you want to do so.
- Apply a very tiny or thin layer of the solution to your vaginal area to treat the infection and reduce all itchiness and swelling.
- This remedy should be applied two or three times every day until you don’t experience any swelling and discomfort and all signs of the infection are gone.
Yoghurt can also be used to treat vaginal yeast infection. Yoghurt that contains live bacterial should be consumed. This will create a balance in the bacteria in the body and treat vaginal yeast infection. The yoghurt can also be applied topically.
Bacterial infections can cause bacterial vaginosis which can cause the area around the labia to swell. There should be a balance of bacteria in the vagina. If the bacterial balance in the vagina is disturbed, there will be too much bacteria in the genital area that will cause bacterial vaginosis (BV). The resulting bacterial vaginosis will cause swollen labia, pain when urinating and smelly discharge.
Whenever the symptoms of bacterial infection occur, a doctor should be visited. There is no sure way of preventing bacterial infection, but healthy living helps. Eat healthily, exercise regularly, and keep your stress levels low to boost your immune system and remain healthy.
Natural, raw yoghurt can also help in keeping the vagina healthy. Yoghurt will prevent smelling and inflammation. Experts have revealed that probiotic, natural yoghurt is as effective as clindamycin in treating bacterial vaginosis. Clindamycin is a pharmaceutical drug that is commonly prescribed for treating bacterial vaginosis. When yoghurt is applied to the vagina, bacterial vaginosis can be treated.
Application of yoghurt for treating bacterial vaginosis
To use yoghurt to treat bacterial vaginosis, here are the steps to take.
- Apply raw yoghurt to the swollen labia to reduce the swelling of the labia and stop itching.
- You can also dip a tampon in raw yoghurt and leave it in your vagina for up to two hours.
- The application should be repeated twice a day until there is no more swelling in the vaginal area. Also, all pain and itching should have gone by then.
But if symptoms persist, you should see a doctor.
Case 3: Allergies
Allergies can also cause swelling of the vaginal lips. The allergy could be caused by food, clothing, foreign objects etc. Some women are allergic to condoms, tampon, medication and sperm. Allergies cause vaginal itching without discharge.
Symptoms of the allergic reaction include itching, pain, swelling at the vaginal area, redness etc. Identify the allergen that is causing the allergic reaction and avoid contact with it in the future.
Case 4: Bartholin’s abscess and cyst
The swelling of the vagina lips could be caused by a cyst or an abscess. The Bartholin’s glands secrete fluid that keeps the vagina lubricated. They can be found on the sides of the vagina.
If the Bartholin’s glands become blocked, fluid will build up, and there will be a lump in the vaginal area that will make the folds of skin at the vaginal opening to swell. There will also be pain and discomfort when sitting and walking.
How swollen labia caused by Bartholin’s cyst can be treated
Here are the steps to take to treat swollen labia caused by Bartholin’s cyst.
- Fill a bathtub with warm water and ensure that your vaginal area is covered.
- Soak in the water for about ten to fifteen minutes. This will increase the flow of blood to the area that is swollen, and the cyst will drain.
- Repeat the bath every day until the cyst is gone and the painful symptoms are no more there.
If the cyst does not drain and you continue to experience pain, you should see a doctor. The doctor will remove the cyst. If you notice that the labia remain swollen and red around the cyst, there is a labial abscess or an infection.
Case 5: Pregnancy
A lot of pregnant women experience vaginal swelling, especially during the second and third trimester. This is a natural thing that you shouldn’t worry about. You might experience clear watery discharge during early pregnancy, and you should not worry about this.
More blood flows to the vaginal area during pregnancy and the weakened muscles in the area swell. The swelling can be relieved by placing a cold compress on your genitals. The cold compress will reduce the size of your labia and relieve your labia from itching you.
Case 6: Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
Most STDs cause redness, itching and swelling in the vaginal and labia region. If your swollen labia case is caused by an STD, it is recommended that you see a medical doctor. This will prevent the infection from becoming worse and stop you from infecting other people.
Case 7: Genital Crohn Infection
Genital Crohn infection can cause the vaginal glands to swell. Genital Crohn infection or disease happens when granulomas affect the area around the genitals and block the lymph vessels. This will cause a side or even both sides of the labia to swell.
Those that have Genital Crohn disease will notice abscesses around the vaginal lips, skin tags, swelling etc. Once you notice any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor for a medical checkup and get the right treatment.
Case 8: Post Intercourse
Several women experience swollen labia after sexual intercourse. The tissues that are located at the opening of the vagina are sensitive, and this friction can cause swelling, and irritation. After intercourse, the swelling usually goes away on its own.
But your labia might be swollen after sex as a result of some of the other reasons that are mentioned in this article.
You can apply a cold compress after sexual intercourse to reduce any inflammation. Those that experience frequent labia swelling after sexual intercourse can also use lubricants to avoid irritating sensitive tissues in the vagina.
If you have swollen labia, try to find the cause of it and use any of the treatment methods in this article. If you experience further issues, see a doctor.