Cuts, bruises and lesions may not kill you, but they can be quite painful. Think about how much more painful they’d be if they were on sensitive areas of skin, like the genitalia. You shudder at the very thought, but that’s just what vaginal fissures are. Fissures can be defined in medical terms as cracks or breaks in the skin. Fissures generally develop on the mucus membrane of the skin. Vaginal fissures are genital fissures that develop in the delicate lining of the vagina. Abrasions or tears in the vaginal lining are very common as this area is especially sensitive to a number of factors. Vaginal fissuring can occur on the labia and the surrounding areas (internal and external vaginal fissures). If you do not seek treatment, the fissures can turn into ulcers or sores that can get infected and become very painful.
Women who suffer from vaginal fissures complain of pain and discomfort similar to that caused by paper cuts on the skin. While vaginal fissures are not a serious threat to your health, they can cause discomfort, especially during sexual intercourse. If you do suffer from vaginal fissures, visit your gynecologist at the earliest to determine the cause of the condition and to receive appropriate medical treatment for the same.
Can you try out home remedies for vaginal fissures?
In most cases, vaginal abrasions or fissures tend to heal themselves if left untreated. Remember, vaginal secretions help to get rid of any harmful bacteria. However, in case you have physically injured yourself and this has caused the vaginal fissures, it would be prudent to consult a doctor at the earliest. In other cases, vaginal fissures may be too painful or recur constantly and require immediate medical attention and treatment as well. Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe the necessary medications to fight an infection (anti-fungal creams or vaginal suppositories), to increase levels of vaginal lubrication (cortisone cream and lubricating creams) or to increase estrogen levels (hormone creams or pills). For those of you that prefer to go the natural way, along with medical treatment, there are also home remedies that can help heal vaginal fissures in women.
Some of the most common natural treatments used to soothe swollen fissures include:
- Apply coconut oil to the affected areas of the skin. Coconut oil helps heal any cuts and abrasions and reduces the pain and discomfort.
- Brandy is often used as an antiseptic to treat cuts and infections. However applying brandy directly to the vaginal area could cause pain and intense burning. It is better to add two tablespoons of brandy to a bath of warm water. Soaking in this water can help heal the cuts faster and get rid of any infection.
- Sitz baths with diluted hydrogen peroxide added to the water work in the same way and speed up the healing process. There are herbal cures and bath salts available that may also help, but it is important to clear these with your doctor before use.
- If you have been on antibiotics, it is important to increase the levels of friendly bacteria in the body in order to fight further infections. You can do this by eating yogurt and other dairy products rich in active bacteria (lactobacillus). You should also change your diet and reduce the consumption of foods that contain yeast such as wine or beer. This can reduce the chances of a yeast infection developing in the vagina. You can also read about home remedies for bacterial vaginosis.
Tips To Heal Vaginal Tears
In addition to these home remedies, you can’t underestimate the importance of taking good care of your overall health as well to help treat painful vaginal tears naturally. Common sense therefore dictates that you should:
- Eat a balanced diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and fiber.
- Exercise regularly to maintain your body weight and prevent other illnesses.
- Reduce stress by practicing yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises.
- Wear clothes that are made of natural fibers and that ‘breathe’, as tight garments (especially underwear) made of synthetic materials can increase infections, scratching and lead to internal vaginal cuts.
- If you swim regularly, make sure that you do not sit around in a wet swimsuit the whole day as this can increase the levels of moisture around the vaginal area and cause infections.
- Use lubricated condoms during intercourse to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and abrasions, and to reduce vaginal dryness.
- Refrain from douching. The vagina is equipped for self-cleaning and douching only disturbs the natural process and causes an imbalance of good and bad bacteria. This in turn can lead to recurring infections and dryness.
- Stop smoking as it not only increases vaginal dryness and tearing near the urinary area but also slows down the healing process
- Stop using tampons, scented pads or toilet paper if you are prone to infections and fissures on the labia.
- Refrain from any sexual activity until the area is completely healed
In case none of the above home remedies bring about the desired results, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor to discover the correct remedy for vaginal fissures. Read more on natural cures for hymen bleeding.
So What Causes Vaginal Fissures?
Unfortunately, vaginal fissures can affect any woman irrespective of age or fitness levels. Poor health or an active sex life are not the only possible causes. Some of the main causes of vaginal fissuring include:
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Excessive douching or vigorous cleansing of the genital area
- Physical injury to the vaginal area. Vaginal fissures are often regarded as signs of non-consensual sex or child abuse**
- Vaginal childbirth
- Scratching the vagina with long nails
- Sexual intercourse without proper lubrication
- Friction caused by latex condoms
- Unusual sexual activities
- Infections in the vaginal area. Studies show that recurring yeast infections such as candidasis can lead to fissures in the vaginal area***
- Thin vaginal tissue / mucosa
- Hormonal changes and low levels of estrogen that affect the blood flow to the genital area and keep the skin elastic and healthy
- Menopause, along with low levels of estrogen, increases the occurrence of bacterial infections in the vagina and causes the area to become irritated and dry
- Certain medications such as Tamoxifen, Danazol, Medroxyprogesterone, Leuprolide, and Nafarelin as well as certain birth control pills can lower levels of estrogen
- Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can also contribute towards a weak immune system and higher incidence of infections
- Stress and an unhealthy diet can lead to hormonal imbalances and recurring abrasions and fissures in the vagina
- Sarah M. Frioux, Thane Blinman, Cindy W. Christian, Vaginal lacerations from consensual intercourse in adolescents, Child Abuse & Neglect, Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 69-73, ISSN 0145-2134, 10.1016/j.chiabu.2010.08.006.
- LindaO Eckert, S.E Hawes, C.E Stevens, L.A Koutsky, D.A Eschenbach, K.K Holmes, Vulvovaginal candidiasis: clinical manifestations, risk factors, management algorithm, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 92, Issue 5, November 1998, Pages 757-765, ISSN 0029-7844, 10.1016/S0029-7844(98)00264-6.
- Moumita Chattopadhyay, Jane Sterling, Skin diseases affecting the vulva, Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Reproductive Medicine, Volume 21, Issue 6, June 2011, Pages 169-175, ISSN 1751-7214, 10.1016/j.ogrm.2011.03.004.