Whiteheads on Labia: Causes & How to Get Rid of Them

How can I get rid of whiteheads on the vagina? At times, you might get whiteheads or white bumps on the labia that are quite itchy.

The white spots on the vaginal area often occur as small white spots on the vaginal lips and may be itchy especially if caused by yeast infections.

Here are the causes, treatment and remedies for white bumps on the pubic area.

Can you get whiteheads on vagina?

Small white bumps can occur on both the labia majora and the labia minora.Whiteheads on labia and vagina

The labia is the visible outside part of the vagina. It has two parts namely the labia majora which is the larger outside part. The labia minora consists of the inner folds of skin between the outer labia lips. Both types of labia are referred to as vaginal lips.

  • Both types of labia can get pimples.
  • Simply put, pimples will form on the vaginal lips or other part of the body when any unwanted substances such as bacteria, oils and dead skin cells get trapped in the pores of the skin.
  • Another factor that makes the vaginal lips prone to whiteheads each time they are inflamed is because the area is very sensitive to irritants.

 

In most women, the whiteheads will appear on the labia after an incident which introduces irritants to the vaginal area.

During normal times, the labia will rarely have the whiteheads or any other problems. While the vaginal pimples are often harmless, you may need to see a doctor if the pimple grows and becomes a boil.

Causes

Whiteheads on labia or white bumps on the vagina can be due to many different reasons such as pimples, hormonal changes, folliculitis, dermatitis etc.

1. Folliculitis

Whiteheads on vagina
White bumps on the pubic area.

Pimples in the genital area can be due to infection of the hair follicles by bacteria. Folliculitis is the case whereby the hair grows from a follicle but its head grows back towards the skin.

When it makes contact with the skin, it will cause irritation and vaginal pimples are the likely result. In some cases, the heads of the hairs grow into the skin causing further irritation.

In such a case, it is called ingrown hair.

Folliculitis can also be caused by shaving and waxing in what are called razor bumps. Besides the whiteheads, a rough razor can also cause;

  • Bumps
  • Pimples
  • Blisters
  • Razor burn

Folliculitis is common on the legs, beard, buttocks, back, arms and other areas of the body. It can be equally caused by bacteria, yeast and a specific fungus.

Tight clothes that rub against the skin also cause folliculitis in some people. Other causes of folliculitis include makeup, body oils or sweat. All the causes of folliculitis include;

  • Tight clothes
  • An infected surgical wound, scrape or cut since the infection can easily infect the hair follicles nearby.
  • Using a swimming pool, whirlpool or hot tub that has not been properly treated with chlorine.
  • Use of potentially irritating substances such as creosote, tar, motor oil, cocoa butter, and makeup.

The most obvious sign of folliculitis is a red pimple with a hair in its center. When the pimple is broken up, it may release pus or blood or both. At times, the pimple may be filled with a bit of a clear liquid.

While the folliculitis can go away on its own after a fortnight, it may need the use of a warm compress or medicated shampoo if it goes out of hand. If you have fever, the folliculitis keeps coming back, or the affected area becomes swollen, see your doctor immediately.

2. Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is an infection of the skin caused by the virus Molluscum contagiosum. This most clear symptom of this disease are benign lesions or bumps on the upper parts of the skin. These whiteheads may go away on their own and last for between two months to four years.

Molluscum contagiosum can be transmitted from one person to the other through direct contact with the wound, or through a contaminated item such as a towel or cloth.

The particular symptoms of this disease include small bumps that have the following traits;

  • Flesh-colored or with a white or pink color.
  • Shiny and small in size and smooth in appearance.
  • Have a central core made of waxy material.
  • The bumps are dome-shaped with a dimple in the center.
  • Sizes range from 2 to 5 millimeters.
  • Can be found on the legs, torso, face, arms, abdomen and other areas. They can occur basically everywhere on the body but the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands.
  • In adults, they can be found on the abdomen, inner thighs and genitals.

These bumps are often resistant to medication and will go away on their own. While they remain at about 2 to be millimeters, they can be as large as 15 millimeters. This later case can occur if the individual has a weak immune system and will require the intervention of a medical doctor.

Causes of molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum can be caused and transmitted in various ways including the following;

  • Simply touching the skin of an infected person is enough to cause the disease in the healthy person. That means that children can get the disease when they play with infected children.
  • The molluscum contagiosum virus is one of the few that can survive on objects such as toys, towels and others. You can thus get the virus by using an infected towel or other object.
  • Sexual intercourse is also a major means by which the disease moves from one person to the other. This could be the reason why you may get whiteheads on labia after sexual intercourse.
  • Games that involve lots of contact such as rugby and wrestling can also transmit the disease to the healthy party.
  • Items such as sports equipment like wrestling mats, baseball gloves, football helmets and headbands can also transmit the virus from a sick person to a healthy one.
  • You can also transfer the virus to other parts of your body through touching the healthy parts. For example, scratching certain areas with infected skin will infect the new area.

Risk factors to molluscum contagiosum

The factors that make one likely to have this disease include;

  • Those with atopic dermatitis will experience rashes and scales on the body. This condition makes it easy to have the molluscum contagiosum disease.
  • Climate – those in tropical climates are at a higher risk of getting the disease than those in other areas.
  • Age – children between the ages of 1 to 10 years are more likely to have the disease either from other children or handling by the adults in their life.
  • Immunity; having a weak immune system due to organ transplant, cancer treatment or HIV makes one vulnerable to molluscum contagiosum.
  • Participants in games such as football and others that are based on contact.

Knowing these facts about this disease, it is easy to keep infection from it at bay. If you need the bumps caused by molluscum contagiosum removed, there are many ways of doing that as described in the remedies to vaginal pimples.

The best candidates for treatment include those who are in fear of spreading the infection or have another disease such as atopic dermatitis.

3. Contact dermatitis

Most cases of whiteheads on labia lips are caused by contact dermatitis which is the reaction of the skin to touch by an irritant. Some of the items likely to cause contact dermatitis include;

  • Perfumes, female wipes, powders, lotions, deodorants and others.
  • Soaps and bubble baths especially those having fragrances.
  • Sanitary pads or tampons
  • Sexual arousal stimulants, lubricants, condoms and spermicides.
  • Douches
  • Detergents used in laundry
  • Some topical medicines.
  • Normal vaginal discharge
  • Semen
  • Perspiration (sweat)
  • Urine

4. Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS)

Another name for hidradenitis suppurativa is acne inversa. It is a condition affecting the sweat glands. It is a rare inflammatory condition known to cause pimple-like lesions on the body. Boils are also a likely to occur when you have this disease.

Hidradenitis suppurativa often occurs in areas where the skin rubs against another part of the body such as the groin or armpits. When the lesions heal, they may leave scars on the affected areas.

Other symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa

The whiteheads on vagina caused by this disease will occur in various areas including the;

  • Buttocks
  • Under the breasts
  • Inner thighs
  • Anus
  • Groin, and
  • The lips of the vagina.

When the disease has broken out, the symptoms will include;

  • Pain
  • Boils
  • Red bumps
  • Deep cysts or nodules
  • Draining nodules

The disease may become worse when one has some conditions such as;

  • Hormonal changes
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Stress
  • Heat
  • Overweight

If you do not treat the disease, chances are that it will escalate into;

  • Recurring breakouts that are deep and painful.
  • Thickening scars.
  • Various infections.
  • The formation of tunnels.
  • Bumps that would burst and releases pus with an awful smell.
  • Scares that form with more breakouts.

Risk factors for hidradenitis suppurativa

You are likely to get this disease if you are;

  • A woman
  • Obese or overweight
  • On some medications such as lithium
  • You are from a family with a history of hidradenitis suppurativa
  • Are a smoker
  • Are between 20 and 29 years of age
  • Have a severe case of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, arthritis and acne.

5. Yeast infection bumps or pimples

At times, the vaginal whiteheads on your skin can be due to yeast infections. Yeast is caused by the fungus Candida albicans.

Although about 50 percent of women already have yeast in their vagina area, the yeast is in controlled amounts. Only when it runs out hand does it exhibit any symptoms.

Yeast infection symptoms

Some of the symptoms of a yeast infection include;

  • Burning and irritating feeling.
  • Pain during sex
  • Intense itching
  • Pain during urination
  • Soreness in the vagina
  • Vaginal pimples

Causes of vaginal yeast

Vaginal yeast can be caused by an increase in the amount of fungus in the vagina relative to the healthy bacteria. The reduction of the healthy bacteria can be due to many different reasons including taking antibiotics and immunosuppressants.

When the walls of the vagina are injured by procedures such as chemotherapy, the yeast will find it easy to grow and spread. A weak immunity will have the same effect of allowing the yeast to spread.

When you are diabetic, are taking oral contraceptives or are pregnant, your chances of having yeast attacks are very high. Also, using perfumed vaginal hygiene sprays or douches will have the same effect of increasing the likelihood of causing vaginal yeast.

When you have vaginal yeast from sexual intercourse, it will be an STD (sexually transmitted disease).

6. Fordyce spots on vagina

Another cause of whiteheads on labia lips is Fordyce spots. Fordyce spots are also a type of whiteheads that will often be found on the labia of the vagina. They can also form on the inside of the cheeks.

Fordyce spots are harmless as they are simply oil glands that have been enlarged. While the normal oil glands (sebaceous glands) are located at the hair follicle, Fordyce spots appear where there are no hairs either alone or as a group.

These types of pimples are between 1 to 3 millimeters in size and they range from a flesh, reddish or yellow color. While they will rarely bleed during intercourse, these spots are not infectious, itchy or painful in any way.

Fordyce spots are not caused by anything since they are a natural part of your anatomy. They will often appear at puberty although most people are born with them.

The spots can be removed through various methods including laser surgery, chemical cauterization, topical treatments, and micro-punch surgery.

How to prevent the spread of vaginal pimples

If you have vaginal whiteheads, they may spread to other parts of the body depending on their cause. To prevent that, you can practice the following routines.

  • Effective hand washing techniques such as using soap and warm water. Children should be taught these techniques given that they are likely to come into contact with infected playmates and items.
  • Once you notice the bumps, always make sure they are covered to avoid contact with other people.
  • You should also avoid sharing any clothes or items that are have come into contact with the body. That includes soaps, towels, hair brushes, sporting gear and others.
  • While the bumps may be itchy, avoid touching them as you will easily spread them to other areas of the body through contact.
  • Refrain from sexual intercourse during the infection as it is a sure way of spreading it.
  • The bumps should not be excited in any way. For example, scratching or shaving in the areas they are found should be avoided.
  • The substances used on the body should be mild. These include soaps and beauty products.

How to get rid of whiteheads on labia lips

Depending on the cause of the whitehead pimples on the labia, there are several methods that can be used to get rid of them. They include;

  • Curettage; a method by which a small tool is used to pierce and scrap the whitehead off the skin.
  • Laser therapy can also be used to remove each bump.
  • Cryotherapy can be used in freezing each bump using liquid nitrogen.
  • Topical therapy will involve the use of creams having chemicals such as acids to induce the peeling away of the skin to break bumps out. The most common topical remedy used is the podophyllotoxin cream. Others include cantharidin (Cantharone), trichloroacetic acid and imiquimod (Aldara).
  • Biologics – biologics are medicines which work by suppressing the immune system to treat specific conditions such as hidradenitis suppurativa.
  • Antibiotics – these medicines can be used to stop the spread of the pimples, inflammation and treating the infections themselves.
  • Painkillers – painkillers bought over the counter can be easily used ti relieve the pain felt from the pimples.
  • Steroids – though not to be used for long periods of time, steroids can improve the symptoms and the condition in general.
  • Metformin – also known as glucophage, this drug is used in treating skin conditions.
  • Hormones – while still under study, the use of hormones to treat certain skin conditions has been used to treat many patients.
  • Methotrexate – for severe conditions, it is recommended to use this drug.
  • Retinoids – used both as a topical and oral medication.
  • Bleach baths – bleach baths will kill the bacteria affecting your skin.
  • Zinc supplements – zinc supplements may improve the symptoms in general.
  • Acne washes – these washes will rid the skin of the harmful bacteria. When combined with the right medicine, they can be good contributions to the healing process.

Repeat treatment is also used recommended if the bumps keep coming back. It is important to see a doctor since some white spots on the vaginal area may be caused by STDs, herpes (HPV), vaginal sores and other infections.

References

  1. Medical News Today. Vaginal pimples.
  2. Vaginal Yeast Infection: Symptoms, Home Remedies & Causes.
  3. Molluscum contagiosum – NHS Choices

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.