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Anonymous on September 26, 2011

Could you give me some ideas as to what these small, skin-colored lumps might be between my vagina and anus?

I discovered some small, skin-colored lumps in between my vagina and anus. They don’t hurt or itch, and my boyfriend seems to be okay. Could you give me any ideas as to what this could be? (I've been with my boyfriend for nearly five months and we haven’t slept with anyone else.)

answered by Eric Christoff, MD, AAHIVM on September 26, 2011

It’s great that you’re monitoring your body, but I can certainly understand your concern. While I can’t diagnose you without an examination, I’m happy to offer you some thoughts for your consideration. 

First, were you and your boyfriend sexually active with other partners prior to your monogamous relationship with each other? If so, it could be that one of you has a sexually transmitted infection that is only now showing symptoms. Remember, many STDs don’t show any signs or symptoms for a long time...so you (and your boyfriend) could have been infected previously without knowing it. 

Some STDs can also cause symptoms like the bumps you describe...for example, genital warts and genital herpes are known for causing bumps, pimples or blisters in the genital area. 

The only way to know if you have an STD is by getting tested. If you and/or your boyfriend haven’t been tested for common STDs since you started your relationship, I would encourage you to do so. You’ll either rule out that one or both of you has an STD; or, if one of you tests positive, you can get treated and take necessary precautions (like using condoms and dental dams) to keep each other safe. A doctor can diagnose genital warts from a visual examination or herpes by taking a sample of a herpes sore...so visiting your doctor is a good idea.  

Meanwhile, besides STDs there are some other possible causes for your discomfort...

You might have a skin condition like dermatitis that’s often caused by a reaction to fragrances, soaps or detergents. 

Also, sometimes a yeast infection can cause bumps in the genital area...or you could have a viral infection called molluscum contagiosum. This is a relatively harmless infection that can sometimes be passed sexually. If you have it, you might see small skin-colored bumps with indents in the top.

Bottom line: see your doctor and consider testing for common STDs. Your doctor will be able to offer you a definite diagnosis and prescribe any treatment you may need. And if you’d like to explore more detailed information about STD symptoms, testing, treatment and prevention, visit our Expert Guide to STD Basics.  

Thanks again for writing, and I hope you’ll soon know the cause of your symptoms. 

Related info:

Eric Christoff, MD, AAHIVM

Dr. Christoff is a practicing physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. His areas of expertise include the treatment of HIV and syphilis along with other STDs, the medical treatment of depression and chronic fatigue, and the specific health needs of gay and lesbian patients. Dr. Christoff was educated at the University of Toledo, College of Medicine and completed his residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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