October 26, 2010

Causes, Treatment & Remedies for Vaginal Swelling During Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Vaginal swelling or inflammation can affect women of all ages but can be especially painful during pregnancy. In addition to all the other niggling ailments and complaints that crop up during the nine months of pregnancy, vaginal swelling comes as another addition to your discomfort. Along with the inflammation and irritation of the genital area, you may also notice symptoms such as excessive vaginal discharge, which may or may not be foul smelling, a burning sensation when urinating, itching, blisters or sores around the genitals and vaginal pain.

Vaginal swelling or vulvovaginitis could result from a number of different reasons such as:

  • Bacterial or viral infections such as bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and trichomoniasis
  • Chemicals or irritants found in bath and skin care products or detergents
  • Poor hygiene
  • Certain medications (that may lead to bacterial or fungal infections such as antiniotics)
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lower immunity and increase the risk of infections
  • An imbalance of hormones during pregnancy can also lead to an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in the body and result in symptoms such as itching, redness of skin, swelling of the vagina and foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Compression of the veins in the uterus during pregnancy can also cause vaginal edema

Other possible causes of vaginal swelling include:

  • Trauma or injury to the genital area
  • Semen allergy
  • Rough or prolonged sexual intercourse
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation of the Gartner’s duct cysts
  • Cysts or abscess of the Bartholin’s glands
  • Benign or cancerous cysts
  • Fournier’s gangrene

Since the causes of vaginal swelling are varied, it is important to inform your doctor of any changes or symptoms that you experience. Infections and sexually transmitted diseases can affect your health and as well as your baby’s and should be treated at the earliest. In addition to symptoms such as vaginal swelling and itching, if you have a fever or suffer from shortness of breath, vaginal bleeding, or severe pain, call 911 immediately as these are all signs of a life-threatening condition.


If you notice a swelling around your genital area or complain of itchiness or pain, make sure you do not scratch the area as this can spread the infection and aggravate the condition. Washing the area repeatedly is also not a good idea as this can lead to more inflammation and irritation. It is best to consult with a doctor to determine the underlying cause of the vaginal inflammation and decide on the best course of action. For example, treatment for a yeast infection usually involves anti-fungal medication such as creams or suppositories. Oral anti-fungal medication is rarely prescribed when you are pregnant.  If you are pregnant and suffer from vaginal inflammation caused by an STI, it is imperative that you get your partner checked and treated as well or else you run the risk of getting infected again. Cysts or abscesses causing the swelling may need to be drained and removed. Antiviral medication is used to treat infections such as genital herpes whereas antibiotics will help clear up a bacterial infection that is causing the swelling.

Home remedies for swollen vulva and vagina include:

  • Soothe the itching and inflammation with a cold compress or ice pack. This helps reduce pain and redness as well. Alternatively take a cool bath to alleviate the discomfort.
  • Sitz baths with warm water and oatmeal added to it can help reduce irritation and itchiness.
  • Add a cup of apple cider vinegar into a warm bath and soak for at least twenty minutes. Apple cider vinegar is known for its powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties and helps treat swelling and irritation caused by any infections.
  • Make a paste with fresh garlic and apply this to the skin around the vagina. This may burn initially but is an excellent remedy to treat inflammation caused by an infection.
  • Increase your intake of probiotics by consuming more yoghurt and buttermilk. This will help balance out the overgrowth of yeast and bacteria in the body.

You can also prevent vaginal swelling by following certain preventive steps:

  • Do not use products such as bubble baths and shower gels that may contain harmful chemicals. Opt for a mild soap instead and stay away from excessive use of feminine hygiene products such as douches and deodorants,
  • Maintain high levels of hygiene at all times. Remember to wipe from front to back after visiting the toilet and keep the genital area scrupulously clean and dry.
  • Wear comfortable loose clothing and underwear made of natural fibers such as cotton to allow the skin to breathe and prevent excessive perspiration.
  • Keep the vaginal area hydrated in case of dry and itchy skin. Moisturize the area with a glycerin-based cream and use non-allergic lubricants such as KY jelly during sexual intercourse.


  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000897.htm