The skin in the genital area is delicate and sensitive. Cuts, abrasions, and tears can occur from grooming the pubic hair, sexual activity, or certain conditions that make the area more susceptible to injury.

Minor vaginal cuts and tears are usually harmless. They may cause pain or itching, and some minor cuts bleed lightly for a few days.

Self-Care

If a person has a shallow (superficial) cut, he or she may not need to see a doctor. These kinds of wounds usually heal on their own within a few days. If the injury is deeper, however, it can be more serious and will need medical treatment.

A cut in the vulva or vagina can be painful, especially when urinating or bathing. It can also bleed or itch as it heals. It can also cause problems if it is infected.

For this reason, it is important to keep the wound clean and dry as it heals. This means wearing loose cotton underwear and avoiding products that could irritate the area, such as harsh soaps. It is also a good idea to use a natural lubricant, such as witch hazel, while the cut is healing. It is important not to have sexual intercourse or masturbate while a vaginal wound is opening up and healing, as this can reopen the cut and make it more painful.

Some health conditions, such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema, can negatively impact skin tissue and make the vagina and vulva more prone to cuts and tears. People who have a history of trauma, such as being abused, are also more likely to get these kinds of injuries. The same is true for women who take certain medications, such as oral corticosteroids.

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See a Doctor

If a cut or scrape isn’t healing, or you think it may be infected, see a doctor. It is important to diagnose and treat the infection early in order to prevent long-term complications, such as vulva cancer.

Superficial cuts in the vulva and vagina are common, often caused by shaving or other hair removal, foreplay and sexual activity, as well as childbirth and other injuries. Some women have hormonal or dermatological conditions that make them more susceptible to genital cuts and tears.

Most simple cuts heal within a week or two and don’t leave any lasting marks or result in long-term problems. To help them heal faster, use clean water to wash the area and avoid harsh or scented soaps. You can also rinse the area with a sterile solution (sometimes called a peri bottle) or apply witch hazel, a mild astringent that helps reduce inflammation and heals abrasions. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used for pain relief.

Deep cuts in and around the vulva, inner or outer labia and perineum are more serious and require medical attention. These wounds may bleed a lot, ooze pus, have loose or detached tissue, or hurt when you urinate or sex. They may need stitches, or they may need to be removed surgically. They are usually a result of trauma or injury, but can occur from accidents, during childbirth or as a complication of sex.

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See a Specialist

Most cuts in the genital area are minor and heal without treatment. They can result from pubic hair removal, sexual activity and vaginal delivery. The vulva has a rich blood supply, so it’s not uncommon to see a lot of bleeding.

Occasionally, the vulva can develop a serious infection in addition to a cut. If you think you have an infection, you should go to the doctor and have a pelvic exam. A swab of your vaginal discharge may be sent to the lab to test for yeast infections (bacterial vaginosis) and herpes (which can also present as a skin infection). You might also need a biopsy to diagnose lichen sclerosus, an inflammation that can cause painful, open wounds on the labia and the inner thighs.

In addition to getting an accurate diagnosis, you should not have unprotected sex until the wounds are healed. Penetration can reopen the cut and introduce new bacteria, which can lead to a worsened injury or an infection.

You should also avoid using tampons and menstrual cups until the wounds are healed, as they can introduce bacteria that will prevent the wound from closing. If you need to use them, consider using a panty liner or menstrual cup with a barrier like a layer of lubricant, such as coconut oil, which can help reduce friction on the skin in the area.

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A person with a minor cut on the vagina should follow some self-care practices to help the area heal. This should include washing the wound gently with warm water and not using perfumed soaps or shower gels, as these can irritate the area. Also, people should wear loose-fitting cotton underwear and not tight jeans, pantyhose or G-strings. Also, the wound should be kept dry, so a person should avoid swimming in chlorinated pools or taking a hot bath. The use of soothing creams or ointments can be helpful, such as Neosporin or the barrier ointment Aquaphor.

People should also avoid sexual activity while the cut is healing, as penetrating the wound can reopen it and introduce bacteria that can cause infection. Having unprotected sex can also expose the other partner to infection, especially if a woman is menstruating. A woman may want to use a cup or tampon while she is having her period to prevent blood from getting into the cuts and causing further irritation.

People should also check the vulva and lower body symptom chart to see what the causes of their cuts are and how they can help with prevention. This chart is available for free on healthdirect and can help people identify the symptoms they are experiencing and find out whether or not they need to seek medical attention.