Sometimes figuring out what's wrong with your vagina can feel like troubleshooting a computer. Only you can't just try turning it off and on again. If you're wondering why your vagina feels swollen, or even appears swollen, then there are many possible causes. In fact, anything from soap to cysts to an infection can the cause of your trouble.
First, your swollen vagina may be caused by an irritation or allergy. According to Health Grades, soaps, perfumes, creams, or even lubricants may contribute to vaginal irritation. In general, it's a good idea to use the mildest cleansers when washing your private areas, and stay away from products that are heavily scented. Unfortunately, some women are even allergic to totally natural substances. As explained by the International Society for Sexual Medicine, seminal plasma hypersensitivity (AKA sperm allergy) is a rare condition in which women experience symptoms such as swelling, burning, and redness when semen contacts their vaginal area. If you keep experiencing swelling and other symptoms of an allergic reaction after discontinuing your use of potentially irritating products, then it may be time to check in with your physician to find the cause.
Next, some blockages or injuries to cysts may also contribute to a swollen vagina. As explained in WebMD, your vulva may become swollen if a cyst blocks your Bartholin glands, which are located on either side of the labia. In addition, Gartner's duct cysts, which can develop on the vagina's inner walls, may affect women who have given birth, according to the University of Maryland Medial Center. Again, swelling may be a symptom of this cyst. And if you've recently given birth or undergone vaginal surgery, you may be at risk for the common vaginal inclusion cysts, as explained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. If you suspect your swelling may be caused by a cyst, then check in with your doctor for a diagnosis.
Lastly, many types of infection may lead to swelling. According to the National Health Service, vaginal swelling may be caused by anything from thrush to STIs to bacterial vaginosis. And that old standby of vaginal irritations, the yeast infection, can also cause swelling as a side effect, as explained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Even a bacterial infections such as cellulitis may cause swelling, according to Med-Health.net. It's a good idea to — you guessed it — see your doctor if any of these problems sound familiar to your condition.