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As your pregnancy progresses, you simply cannot wait for your little bundle of joy to come into the world. However, certain health issues can ruin your happiness. Morning sickness, nausea, and back pain are common during pregnancy, and so is vaginal swelling. Vaginal swelling is a condition that can make you extremely uncomfortable. In this article, we talk about vaginal swelling during pregnancy, its causes, symptoms, and different ways of treating it.
What Is Vaginal Swelling?
The swelling that occurs in the vaginal area including the vulva and vaginal lips (labia) is termed as vaginal swelling. It also affects pregnant women. Let’s look at some of its causes.
Causes of a Swollen Vagina During Pregnancy
Here are some reasons why vaginal swelling can occur during pregnancy:
1. Increased Blood Flow
During pregnancy, blood flow around the pelvic region increases to support the growing fetus. The increase in blood flow may cause swelling of the vagina.
2. Poor Hygiene
Vaginal swelling could also be a result of improper hygiene. If you’re negligent about your vagina, it may become the breeding ground for microbes and result in swelling and inflammation.
3. Hormonal Changes
Your body undergoes various changes during pregnancy, and changing hormones are one of them. These hormones affect the flora of the vagina and lead to various kinds of bacterial and viral growth, and in turn, swelling.
4. Use of Certain Products
Use of certain products may also result in vaginal swelling. These products may trigger an allergic reaction in your vaginal region, leading to inflammation and redness.
5. Sexual Intercourse
Sometimes, a lack of lubrication during sexual intercourse or prolonged sexual intercourse can cause vaginal swelling.
Cysts in the vaginal region can cause vaginal swelling, too. Sometimes, these cysts may also be cancerous.
7. Inflammation in the Vaginal Region
Sometimes, the inflammation of the vaginal arteries and ducts can cause oedema. Oedema may lead to accumulation of fluid causing swelling in the vagina.
8. Unhealthy Foods
This may come as a surprise but it is true. Your eating habits can affect the health of your vagina. If you eat too much junk food or make unhealthy food choices, it can lead to vaginal infections and swelling.
9. Bacterial Vaginosis
Vaginal swelling can also occur due to bacterial vaginosis (BV). If this is the case, it should resolve on its own. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to speed up the healing process.
10. Yeast Infection
When there is an overgrowth of the candida fungal bacteria in the vaginal area, it can lead to vaginal swelling. Symptoms include burning, redness, pain during sex and urination, irritated skin and thick vaginal discharge.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs of vaginal swelling during pregnancy are:
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Inflammation around the vaginal region
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Bleeding sores or blisters
- Irritation or pain around the vagina
- Itching in the inflamed area
Can Vaginal Swelling Affect the Baby?
Vaginal swelling doesn’t harm the baby in the womb. However, if you have vaginal swelling due to a GBS infection that is Group B strep, then it may spread to your baby, too. In case you are tested positive for GBS, your doctor will administer a course of antibiotics to cure your infection. But if your baby catches this infection, then your baby may experience extreme lethargy and difficulty in feeding after birth.
How to Treat Vaginal Swelling When You’re Pregnant
Here are some effective ways to treat vaginal or labial swelling during pregnancy:
1. Refrain from Scratching
You may feel all itchy and uncomfortable but refrain from scratching any blisters or oozy lesions in your vaginal region. Scratching can spread the infection and cause more complications.
2. Maintain Hygiene
It’s important to maintain hygiene to avoid vaginal infections from aggravating. However, don’t scrub your vagina, it has its own self-cleaning mechanism in place!
3. Don’t Self-Medicate
We suggest that you seek medical help as soon as you notice the symptoms of vaginal swelling. Don’t self-medicate; it may cause complications to your pregnancy. After a thorough physical examination, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Effective Home Remedies for Vaginal Swelling
You can also try home remedies to cure itchy and swollen vaginal lips during pregnancy:
1. Drink Water
Drinking water helps to reduce the burning sensation. That’s because the more you visit the loo, the more bacteria get expelled from your body.
2. Cold Packs
You can use cold packs to ease vaginal swelling and inflammation. Alternatively, you can take a bath with cold water.
3. Increase Your Intake of Probiotics
4. Soak in Apple Cider Vinegar
The antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar can provide relief from vaginal swelling. You can put some ACV in a bathtub and soak yourself in it for 10 to 15 minutes.
When Should I Go to the Doctor?
You should go to the doctor if:
- The swelling and itching don’t go away after a few days.
- You experience abnormal discharge.
- Your vulva develops ulcers or small bumps.
How Can You Prevent Vaginal Swelling?
Here are some tips to prevent vaginal swelling during pregnancy:
- Maintain vaginal hygiene at all times. Pregnancy makes you more prone to infections, thus taking good care during this time can ward off infections.
- Don’t use scented soaps to clean your private parts as they can cause an allergic reaction.
- Always wear comfortable and cotton underwater. Don’t use underwear that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe.
- Have a nutritious and healthy diet. Don’t eat unhealthy foods that trigger vaginal swelling and itching.
- In case your vagina is dry and itchy, you should keep it moisturised. Seek medical help for appropriate ointments/lotions.
Vaginal swelling can be very painful and uncomfortable during pregnancy. However, with proper care and timely medical intervention, your condition can not only be managed but also avoided.