What the hell IS this thing?
January 15, 2010 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Why is there a bump on my (female) genitals, why does it hurt so much, and how can I get it to go away?

I know that the immediate responses will be "see a doctor!". And I will. But I have had not-so-great experiences with doctors shrugging off this complaint so I would like to go in forearmed with possible solutions.

Backstory: I started having sex five years ago. From the beginning, sex was normally superficially painful in the area at the bottom of my vulva. After sex, it would burn when I was peeing and urine hit that area, so I thought of it as more a cut than anything more serious. My partner was somewhat large and I figured that the skin down there was tearing and not healing right or something.

Fast forward several years and partners later. This still happens. I use a ton of lube, and we have to apply it often during sex. But every time, I always feel sore down at the base of my vagina and it hurts to touch it or to pee afterward ("sore" meaning like an open cut, not like bruising inside). Previously, when I would touch it, it felt like a small ridge; as if I had been torn there previously and it was an old scar.

This morning, I noticed some blood after sex. This concerned me and when I looked with a hand mirror I noticed that right at the painful spot was something that looked like a pimple around 2mm in diameter - really, more of just a skin tag. There was no visible 'head'. I poked at it some and nothing happened except it really hurt.

So, what could it be? Considering that it was there for my first sexual encounter, I don't think it's genital herpes or warts. The fact that it's hurt for so long makes me suspect it isn't just a common pimple. Any ideas?

Hopefully this is something simple and easy to fix. Although it's not bad pain, I would love to have sex without wincing on the toilet afterward.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

ingrown pubic hair?
posted by ghharr at 1:36 PM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

The area you describe- the posterior fourchette- is one of the areas that is most easily damaged during sex. The small ridge is probably a fissure on that area. If it healed as a fissure, it might be easier to retear during sex.

I would guess that the pimple is an ingrown hair, but if it doesn't go away I'd get it checked out. While some doctors do shrug off general pain, if they can see it they'll probably be more in their element.
posted by emilyd22222 at 1:39 PM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

It is a pimple. You can definitely get them there. Don't try to pop it; it might get infected.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:40 PM on January 15, 2010

See a woman gynecologist. Your discomfort has gone on far too long.
posted by Carol Anne at 1:44 PM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe it's a mole or skin tag and it's sensitive. I have a skin tag on my face that is more sensitive to being rubbed up against than my normal skin. I've had it my entire life and it's never changed, and no doctor is concerned about it. I'm pretty sure if it was in a place that was jostled and rubbed against regularly, it would be a concern, though!

You should be able to find a gyno who will treat you with respect and not brush off your problem (I had to go through three different ones before I found a gyno I liked). They (or maybe they would refer you to a dermatologist?) could look at it, and maybe remove it by freezing or surgically if it's something like a mole. If they wanted to biopsy it anyway, if it's small, they'd probably just go ahead and remove the whole bump. It would be a little awkward and painful, perhaps, but not that much more awkward or painful than any other gynecological procedure, and worth it for your sex life. (If that's what it is).
posted by ishotjr at 1:44 PM on January 15, 2010

...and no offense to older people or older doctors, but I've overwhelmingly had more luck with young doctors (especially my gyno) listening and actually looking at different solutions and being willing to do their own research than I have with older, more established ones. You might consider finding a younger female gyno (by young I mean like in their 30s or 40s) who has a good reputation for staying abreast of new medical information. I went to several gynecologists (all older females) who brushed off my problem with typical generic advice without even investigating the possibility that what I experienced wasn't normal. My current one actually likes to do her own research and keeps up with all kinds of new studies and more holistic approaches.
posted by ishotjr at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

It could be a bartholin cyst.


I get them from time to time, in particular when my partner and I use lube. I think the lube clogs it up. Taking a warm bath or using a washcloth compress helps clear it up. If it is really painful you should visit the doctor, it may be getting infected.
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 1:50 PM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

On the one hand, if it's been there for five years, I doubt it's an ingrown hair or a pimple (if it's exactly the same bump in exactly the same place).

On the other hand, if it's been there for five years and not gotten worse, odds are also good that it's not anything that's going to cause life-threatening harm.

But it's affecting your quality of life, which is plenty of reason to go to a couple of different gynecologists until you can find one who agrees "yeah, we should do something about this."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:06 PM on January 15, 2010

I agree with EmpressCallipygos in that it's probably just an annoying thing that should be gone. When you go in, your approach should be "Hi, I'd like to get rid of this thing" rather than "What is this?"
In my experience in similar situations with doctors, what they want to hear is easy, concrete, obvious things that they know how to do, like getting rid of annoying things. That always gets me a lot farther than questions like "What is this" which they interpret as "OMG DO I HAVE CANCER OMG" and gets a condescending smile and a wave of the hand. It also gives you a better come-back if they try to brush you off because it's a quality of life issue and you're experiencing pain.
posted by amethysts at 2:29 PM on January 15, 2010 [6 favorites]

2nding possible Bartholin Cyst.
posted by 6:1 at 5:04 PM on January 15, 2010

If you look at the Bartholin Cyst and find your bump is in a different place, it could just be a clogged gland/pore. I had something like that on like, the side of my clitoris/labia minora. It was like an ingrown hair (except there's no hair there) or a pimple, but had no visible "head" and hurt LIKE HELL. It was a type of pain similar to that of a sore inside your mouth. I went to a gyno (admittedly, one of the dismissive ones -- what is it with gynos?) and she said it was just a clog in one of the many, many mucus glands down there. It went away, came back a few months later, went away, came back a year later, and then I haven't had it again in a while.
posted by thebazilist at 6:11 PM on January 15, 2010

It seems like a cyst of some sort, most likely a Bartholin Cyst. Or 2nd the poster above - a clogged pore/gland that isn't able to properly drain. However, you're citing a myriad of other related issues and they've been ongoing for awhile. It would definitely be advisable to see a doctor and receive a proper diagnosis. Good luck.
posted by TwiceTheRice at 7:00 PM on January 15, 2010

You have a right to compassionate, quality medical care. Find a provider who will treat your concerns seriously. You shouldn't have to get medical advice on the Internet because your doctor isn't listening. Good luck.
posted by theora55 at 8:20 PM on January 15, 2010

A few years ago I had something exactly like how you described, only it was there for only two or three weeks, not years. Still, it could just be something small that hasn't quite healed. When it happened to me, I went to the doctor and he gave me an antibiotic ointment, told me to go easy on it when wiping (after peeing) and then it just went away on itself (I wasn't sexually active at the time). Maybe try to not have sex for a week, wipe softly with baby wipes and get an OTC ointment and see if that works before going to the doctor?

Of course, after years of this, you probably should have visited a doctor already.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:37 PM on January 15, 2010

Oh sorry, I just saw that you did ask a doctor already.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:38 PM on January 15, 2010

What kind of doctor did you go to? It really does sound like a bartholin cyst, but that's usually not something that a doctor would just shrug off. I do agree with the others. Find a good ob/gyn (ahem, it doesn't have to be a WOMAN doctor.. my wife works in an office with two fantastic male ob/gyns that are very highly respected) and tell them what you believe you have.

They might need to drain it. Bartholin cysts can get kind of unruly if left too long.
posted by drstein at 3:02 PM on January 18, 2010

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