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Anonymous on September 26, 2011

I noticed some small cuts between by vagina and rectum after sex. What are they?

I had sex recently, and afterward I saw some small cuts on the skin between the bottom of the lips of the vagina and the rectum. The area burns and it’s very sore. I thought it was fully healed...but when I had sex again, the cuts opened up more. What is it? What can I put on it?

answered by Ruthann M. Cunningham, MD on September 26, 2011

I’m sorry about your discomfort, and I understand your confusion and concern about the symptoms you’re experiencing. The area you are describing is called the perineum. It’s the area between the anus and the vulva in women, and between the anus and the scrotum in men.

Your symptoms could indicate an infectious condition, so getting tested for STDs is a smart idea...especially if you’ve had unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, or if you have multiple sexual partners. As well, I encourage you to see your regular doctor for a visual examination and definite diagnosis of your the cuts in your genital area. 

For more information about STD symptoms, risk factors and testing, you might be interested in reading through our Expert Guide to STD Basics

That said, what are other possible causes of your symptoms? For one, you might have a recurring yeast infection. Or perhaps you’ve given birth recently or had prior surgery that may have weakened or torn the tissue in this fragile area of the body. 

Additionally, a lack of lubrication may be a factor here...especially if you’re having rough sex. And changes in hormones or medications can also cause vaginal dryness...luckily, vaginal lubricants can help.

One more thought...hemorrhoids are another possibility. If you do have hemorrhoids, sitz baths (sitting crossed-legged in the bathtub with lukewarm water) can be soothing and help keep the area clean. Once the area is clean, it might also help to apply a petroleum-based healing ointment to the cuts...apply liberally, but don’t put petroleum-based products inside your vagina.

Again, I hope you’ll see your regular doctor to get to the root cause of the cuts and sensations you describe. And I hope that your discomfort will be resolved soon. 

Related info:

Ruthann M. Cunningham, MD

Dr. Cunningham is a member of the Analyte Physicans Group. She's also a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, practicing at both Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in Illinois and at Wheaton Franciscan All Saints Medical Center in Wisconsin. An ER physician since 2000, she regularly treats patients with STDs. Dr. Cunningham was educated at Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL.

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