What Can Cause Vaginal Swelling?

 What Can Cause Vaginal Swelling?
Intimacy and sexual relationships are a normal part of a healthy and active lifestyle. But sometimes they create physical or medical complications that might be a source of concern, such as having a swollen labia after sex.

The labia are located on the vulva, which is the exterior part of a woman’s genitals. They protect the clitoris, vagina, and urethra from infection and damage. A variety of conditions can cause swollen labia, including infections and cysts.

Is Swollen Labia After Sex Normal?

There are instances in which swelling after sex is completely normal. Swelling is an essential body function that delivers blood and fluids to an area when needed.

Both sex and masturbation can cause mild swelling due to friction. If your vagina feels swollen after sex and it’s extremely uncomfortable or lasts longer than a few hours, however, it’s wise to seek medical advice.


Several issues can be behind a sore vaginal area after sexual penetration. These causes include:

Lack of lubrication – When you’re aroused, your body releases natural lubrication. But sometimes, that lubrication isn’t enough. If your sexual arousal is low or you rush into things without giving yourself time to warm up, you may experience a little more friction than normal.That friction can result in tiny, microscopic tears in the vagina, which can cause pain and discomfort. In some cases, it may even lead to infection.

Rough intercourse – Swelling after sex is occasionally the immediate result of rough intercourse, whether you applied lubricants or not. If you’ve been wondering, “why does my vagina get swollen after sex?”, this another plausible explanation.

Rough sex is fast and forceful, producing intense friction which could even tear sensitive vaginal tissues. It might create a swollen clit after sex or swollen vulva after sex.

If you frequently engage in rough intercourse, you’re probably damaging the sensitive tissues of your vagina, inside and out. Try to use more lubricants and switch to different styles or positions if your vagina feels swollen after sex.

Yeast infection – A fairly common reason behind a swollen labia after sex is a yeast infection. Also known as thrush, a yeast infection affects your vaginal opening and the internal parts of your sexual organs, sometimes spreading outwards and inflaming your labia.

It’s essentially a yeast overgrowth triggered by low immunity or the use of certain medications that kill the bacteria which normally keep yeast in check. You’re even susceptible to developing a yeast infection while pregnant, and it could also leave your vagina raw after sex.

Bartholin’s cyst – Two Bartholin’s glands sit on either side of the vaginal opening. They provide natural lubrication to the vagina. Sometimes, these cysts, or the ducts that move the fluid, can become blocked. This causes tender, fluid-filled bumps on one side of the vaginal opening.

Sexual activity can irritate Bartholin’s cysts and the tissue around them, which could cause unexpected pain.

Menopause – Before and during menopause, hormone levels in the body change dramatically. With less estrogen, the body produces less of its own natural lubricant.

Plus, tissue in the vagina becomes drier and thinner. That can make penetrative sex more uncomfortable, even painful.

Vaginismus – Vaginismus causes muscles in and around the vagina and vaginal opening to contract tightly on their own. This shuts off the vagina and can make penetration during sex uncomfortable, if not impossible.

Genital herpes The herpes simplex virus often causes clusters of tiny, painful blisters to appear near the vagina. These can burst and become painful sores. While some people notice no symptoms, others find that swelling, pain, and body aches accompany these sores.


In addition to the swollen labia, the following symptoms may suggest an infection or another underlying medical problem:

• a feeling of hotness around the genital area
• bump on the labia
• burning
• itching
• pain
• redness
• strong or foul odor from the vagina
• unusual vaginal discharge

How To Treat Swelling After Sex?

The best approach to treating a swollen vagina after sex depends on the exact cause, but may include:

Switching to a different brand of lube
Using non-latex condoms
Taking medications for a yeast infection or STI
Applying a cool compress to the swollen area
Taking a warm bath
Wearing loose, breathable underwear and pants
Seeing a doctor for evaluation and treatment


Swelling and irritation in the labia after sexual activity isn’t always concerning. After all, these tissues naturally swell with arousal, as blood and fluids rush to the area.

But if you’re experiencing pain in addition to inflammation, you may have some minor irritation from friction and pressure. This should go away in a few hours, or by the next day.

Make an appointment to see a healthcare provider if swollen labia persist, or if you begin to experience other symptoms, like:

• painful urination
• throbbing
• burning

These may be symptoms of an infection that needs prescription treatment.
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