BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuGenital sores - femaleSores on the female genitalsSores or lesions on the female genitalia or in the vagina may occur for many reasons. Considerations Genital sores may be painful or itchy, or may produce no symptoms. Other symptoms that may be present include pain when you urinate or painful sexual intercourse. Depending on the cause, a discharge from the vagina may be present. Causes Infections spread through sexual contact can cause these sores:Herpes is a common cause of painful sores. Genital warts may cause painless sores.Genital wartsGenital warts are soft growths on the skin and mucous membranes of the genitals. They may be found on the penis, vulva, urethra, vagina, cervix, and...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Less common infections such as chancroid, granuloma inguinale, molluscum contagiosum, and syphilis may also cause sores.ChancroidChancroid is a bacterial infection that is spread through sexual contact.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Granuloma inguinaleDonovanosis (granuloma inguinale) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is rarely seen in the United States.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Molluscum contagiosumMolluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that causes raised, pearl-like papules or nodules on the skin.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Changes that may lead to cancer of the vulva (vulvar dysplasia) may appear as white, red, or brown patches on the vulva. These areas may itch. Skin cancers such as melanoma and basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas may also be found, but are less common.MelanomaMelanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is also the rarest. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Other common types o...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Squamous cell carcinomasSquamous cell cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the United States. Other common types of skin cancer are:Basal cell cancerMelanoma...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Other common causes of genital sores include:Long-term (chronic) skin disorder that involves red itchy rashes (atopic dermatitis) Atopic dermatitisAtopic dermatitis is a long-term (chronic) skin disorder that involves scaly and itchy rashes. It is a type of eczema. Other forms of eczema include...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Skin that becomes red, sore, or inflamed after contact with perfumes, detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, ointments, creams, douches (contact dermatitis) Contact dermatitisContact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore, or inflamed after direct contact with a substance.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Cysts or abscesses of the Bartholin or other glands Abscesses of the BartholinBartholin abscess is the buildup of pus that forms a lump (swelling) in one of the Bartholin glands. These glands are found on each side of the vagi...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Trauma or scratches Flu-type viruses that can cause genital sores or ulcers in some cases Home Care See a health care provider before treating yourself. Self-treatment may make it harder for the provider to find the source of the problem. A sitz bath may help relieve itching and crusting.Sitz bathA sitz bath is a warm water bath used for healing or cleansing purposes. You sit in the bath. The water covers only your hips and buttocks. The wa...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article If the sores are caused by a sexually transmitted infection, your sexual partner may need to be tested and treated as well. Do not have any type of sexual activity until your provider says the sores can no longer be spread to others. When to Contact a Medical Professional Contact your provider if you:Find any unexplained genital sore Have a change in a genital sore Have genital itching that does not go away with home care Think you might have a sexually transmitted infection Have pelvic pain, fever, vaginal bleeding, or other new symptoms as well as genital sores What to Expect at Your Office Visit Your provider will perform a physical examination. This most often includes a pelvic examination. You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. Questions may include:What does the sore look like? Where is it located? When did you first notice it? Do you have more than one sore? Does it hurt or itch? Has it grown bigger? Have you ever had one before? How often do you have sexual activity? Do you have painful urination or pain during sexual intercourse? Do you have abnormal vaginal drainage? The following tests may be done:Complete blood count (CBC) Complete blood countA complete blood count (CBC) test measures the following:The number of red blood cells (RBC count)The number of white blood cells (WBC count)The tota...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Blood differential Blood differentialThe blood differential test measures the percentage of each type of white blood cell (WBC) that you have in your blood. It also reveals if there are...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Skin or mucosal biopsy Skin or mucosal biopsyA skin or nail culture is a laboratory test to look for and identify germs that cause problems with the skin or nails. It is called a mucosal culture...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Vaginal or cervical culture Microscopic vaginal secretion exam (wet mount)Treatment may include medicines that you put on the skin or take by mouth. The type of medicine depends on the cause.Open ReferencesReferencesAugenbraun MH. Genital skin and mucous membrane lesions. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 106.Frumovitz M. Neoplastic diseases of the vulva and vagina. In: Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, Lobo RA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 30.Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Genital tract infections: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, endometritis, and salpingitis. In: Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, Lobo RA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 23.Link RE, Tang N. Cutaneous diseases of the external genitalia. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 59.AllVideoImagesTogGenital sores (female) - illustration Sores or lesions on the female genitalia may have many causes. Often, the lesions of most concern are those seen with sexually transmitted diseases.Genital sores (female)illustrationGenital sores (female) - illustration Sores or lesions on the female genitalia may have many causes. Often, the lesions of most concern are those seen with sexually transmitted diseases.Genital sores (female)illustrationRelated Information Genital warts(Condition)Genital herpes(Condition)Chancroid(Condition)Molluscum contagiosum(Condition)Donovanosis (granuloma inguinale)(Condition)Melanoma(Condition)Vulvovaginitis(Condition)Melanoma and other skin cancers(In-Depth) Review Date: 7/13/2021 Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. 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