Help me get rid of this pimple
September 20, 2012 5:10 PM   Subscribe

I have a painful pimple on my inner labia. How long is this going to take to go away?

I have no access to medical care for the next week, so although I'm sure that this is, indeed, a pimple, I can't go to the doctor to have it checked out. Please don't recommend that I do so; I'll go to the doctor as soon as it's possible. There's a slight, slight chance that this is a clogged gland of some kind, but I highly doubt it given that I've had this problem before (in a different, similar location) and it turned out to be just a pimple.

I've been using warm compresses with a bit of luck. That is, the whitehead is starting to appear, but it is still mostly under the surface. I have a history of bad cystic acne on my face, and this is a cystic pimple. It's in a very bad location for a pimple: I can't keep it dry, and it's constantly rubbing on my skin because it's located in a fold, which causes considerable pain. It's difficult to walk, and I'm very uncomfortable.

Is there anything I should be applying to the area other than warm compresses? I tried taking a hot bath, but that didn't help. What else can I be doing to make the pain go away, and how long does it typically take for a pimple to go away on its own under these conditions?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Keep using the compresses, even if it doesn't seem like it's making much difference in your immediate pain level. It really accelerates the healing. I'd say you can probably expect it to last about a week or week and a half.
posted by houndsoflove at 5:23 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Apply baby powder before you get dressed. Reapply throughout the day if possible without making too much of a mess. It won't help it move faster but it will provide relief from the chafing and keep the area dry.
posted by Anonymous at 5:24 PM on September 20, 2012

Seconding using the compress often, and take some ibuprofen.
posted by Specklet at 5:26 PM on September 20, 2012

2nding powder and with warm compresses and the fact that you can see the whitehead I'd say it'll resolve in a couple of days. I don't think it'll take a week or more.
posted by quince at 5:26 PM on September 20, 2012

It might be a milium rather than a pimple -- if it doesn't go away in a few days, go to your doc and get him/her to lance it.
posted by pised at 5:31 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agreed: keep it up with the compresses. For me, I feel like the hotter the compress, the better, though I don't know if this is actually backed up by the evidence.* And do it as often as you can. I sympathize, I've had ingrown hairs and pimples in similarly inconvenient places and it is a bastard. Also, not to be obvious, but avoid wearing clothing that gets up in that area - this is a good time for flowy skirts and granny panties (if any) and sitting with your legs spread wide open whenever possible.

* This is my technique for making really hot compresses - just be very careful you don't make it so hot you burn yourself: put a damp-to-wet washcloth in the microwave for 10 seconds to a minute (depending on how wet the washcloth is and how powerful the microwave is). Handle with extreme care when you take it out of the microwave.
posted by mskyle at 5:43 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Were I in your situation, I would be contemplating the anesthetic properties of Orajel (etc.) on mucus-membranes. Whether this is a good idea I will leave you to decide for yourself, as I am notoriously cavalier about such things.
posted by teremala at 5:44 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

Ah, sorry you are going through this! The warm compresses will help healing, and definitely try going "commando" at night to reduce friction. Also try calling the nurse at your GYN or even your GP's office to see if they recommend any topical OTC products for the pain. I don't know what's actually safe for use down there, especially on an adult woman. We've got a delicate balance down there.

Not to derail, but I would avoid using talcum powder near your lady parts. Some researchers have found talcum usage correlates with a 30% increase in ovarian cancer. Here's some info so you can decide for yourself. As it states, 30% isn't actually a huge jump, so YMMV.
posted by two lights above the sea at 5:45 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do you have Clobetasol in your possession by chance? You can use that on the pimple.
posted by Yellow at 5:46 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try using thin sanitary napkins and change pads 3x or 4x a day. Leave them off at night if possible. The pad will give you some ventilation and provide somewhere for the moisture to go. Always Infinity is way overpriced but does provide some wicking.

I have more luck switching between warm compresses and ice packs or just plain ice packs. Make sure to wrap the compresses and/or packs in very clean cloths and change them often too. Even if it is a pimple, keep it as clean as possible to prevent complications until you can see a doctor.
posted by jaimystery at 5:53 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

This sounds crazy and I don't know where you live but Russian Spas (extreme saunas) can really help with blocked skin issues.
posted by bquarters at 5:53 PM on September 20, 2012

I have a relative who has had similar issues. Soaking in a very hot tub helps. She will will run the water as hot as she can stand it and then fill a basin with the hot water, setting it in the bathtub and sitting in it until the water is cold and then repeating the process.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:06 PM on September 20, 2012

TwoFewShoes's relative follows nearly the same treatment that I do. I will soak (just deep enough to submerge the infection) in the hottest water I can manage, recharging it with even hotter water every 10mins or so, until the pain subsides. This helps bring the pus to the surface or helps heal a cyst faster. Even if you don't pop/lance it, the pain will be reduced for a while. I usually do this before bed and it really helps.

If it really is a pimple, I actually recommend avoiding an anti-inflammatory like Advil because the inflammation seems to make it easier to get the pus and/or hair out. However, if its a cyst then Advil will help a lot.

(This is probably really bad, but once I resorted to applying Orajel every hour or so during a shift in order to survive the rubbing. It didn't cause an infection or anything bad, but the gunk was yucky.)
posted by Vysharra at 6:24 PM on September 20, 2012

Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel might help during the day (I'd wash it off and use some of the other above suggestions for night-time).
posted by candyland at 6:26 PM on September 20, 2012

My doctor diagnosed me with hidradenitis suppurativa (do not Google around for images; the Wikipedia article is safe) and suggested warm-as-you-can-stand baths with a small amount of bleach. Soak for ten minutes a day as long as there's a pimple there, she said; I've read that vinegar also works, but I can't stand the smell.

I also, BTW, got a prescription for a topical antibiotic that I have to wipe all over all the spots that hidradenitis supperativa tends to accumulate (groin, under the breasts, underarms, etc.,) a few times a week.

If you've gotten these things in the same general areas several times, you might want to bring up the name to your doctor. Mine said other doctors don't always think of it. It's sometimes called "acne inversa" or "apocrine acne."

I really cannot emphasize enough how much you should not Google around for images.
posted by SMPA at 7:02 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

I have gotten these before. My answer was lidocaine gel. Orajel works great and is safe, but there's sweetener in it to make it palatable to babies. When I've had them, they take about 2 weeks to resolve.
posted by KathrynT at 9:13 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

A small thing, but, buy a package of soft flushable wet wipes (they sell ones that you can fit in a purse) and use them instead of toilet paper, just to cut down as much as you can on any accidental irritation TP might cause. Use toilet paper to gently pat dry, but don't do any actual moving on the skin with it.
posted by Mizu at 10:20 PM on September 20, 2012

um... IANYD but that does not sound at all like a milium. If it's not a pimple (that is, if you notice it getting worse instead of better) I'd be more concerned about an infected Bartholin's gland cyst. They can start looking like pimples but they tend to keep coming back as a problem until they get taken care of properly by a physician. Just a thought if it does keep bugging you until the point that you get to the MD's office.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:28 PM on September 20, 2012

This happened to me. It was a hair wrapped around a part of the thin and sensitive skin in that area. I was a teenager and my mom cut it with nail nippers and
I got instant relief even though I was really embarrassed!
posted by Kazimirovna at 9:30 AM on September 21, 2012

Heat kills pimple bacteria (which is why applying a q-tip dipped in very hot water can help get rid of them). So hot compresses it is; they'll also increase the blood flow around the area which will get the bad stuff cleared out faster.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:27 AM on September 21, 2012

Hot compresses or even better, if you have a shower with a detachable head, run very warm water over it - the moving water can work better than the compress. As many times a day as you can stand, water as warm as possible without being painful or injurious.
posted by biscotti at 10:41 AM on September 22, 2012

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