Anonymous on September 28, 2011

I’m a virgin with a small, red, itchy bump on my right vaginal lip...what is it?

I’m a virgin with a small, red, itchy bump on my right vaginal lip. It hurts to rub, but I’m a virgin. A similar bump has appeared before in other places. Do you have any idea what it could be?

answered by Ruthann M. Cunningham, MD on September 28, 2011

Thanks for sharing your concern with us. I can offer you some ideas for your consideration, but you’ll need to visit your regular doctor for a definite diagnosis of your symptom.

Because you’re a virgin, the red, itchy bump on your vaginal lip might be a harmless ingrown hair or pimple. Ingrown hairs occur most often after shaving...the coarse pubic hair can curl under the skin instead of growing outward, which could cause an infection at the root of the hair. When this happens, you might see red or white bumps that hurt to touch. This condition is also referred to as folliculitis.

If you’ve had any sexual contact, the bump could be a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Remember, intercourse isn’t the only sexual activity that can put you at risk for STDs. If you’ve had any unprotected sexual contact (like fingering, oral sex, blow jobs, etc.) with someone who’s infected, there’s a chance that an STD might have been transmitted to you.

Herpes is one STD that’s easy to spread on the fingers or orally. For example, if anyone with herpes (including someone with cold sores) has touched your genitals with fingers or mouth during a herpes outbreak, there’s a small risk that you could have caught genital herpes. You can learn more about herpes risks and symptoms in our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2.

Although even less likely, genital warts can also be spread through oral sex and fingering by an infected partner. You can learn more about the type of human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes genital warts in our HPV Overview. If a sexual partner had genital warts and touched his or her genitals right before touching yours, you might be at risk. 

Again, it’s hard to know the cause of the red, itchy bump on your vulva without an examination. Once you talk to your doctor about your symptoms and your sexual history, you’ll be on the right track for treatment. You can also talk to your doctor about your STD risk and need for testing. 

Thanks for writing...I wish you good luck and good health.

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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