Vulvar or labial fissures are lacerations or tears that occur on the vaginal lips due to some reasons. In most cases, the primary cause is rough intercourse. It is therefore very common to find these in women who are sexually active.
If you experience pain, itchiness and some kind of discomfort down there, it could also be a sign of recurrent yeast infections. The itching often leads to labial fissures and vulvar cuts, cracks and tears. You should see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
What is a vaginal fissure?
A vaginal fissure, cut or tear is a sore break or split in the thin, wet layer of the skin also referred to as mucous membrane of the vagina.
Vaginal abrasions or tears are very common especially due to the fact that vagina is very sensitive to numerous factors.
Vulvar fissures can occur “on the inner or outer labia (vulva), on the perineum, around the clitoris or clitoral hood: which form the internal and external parts the vagina.”
The skin in the vagina is very fragile and delicate hence it is highly susceptible to splits and tears which fortunately heal quickly without any treatment or leaving scars.
Symptoms of vaginal fissures
while vaginal fissures (both internal and external such as perineum fissures or vulvar fissures) are a severe threat to your general health, women who suffer from vaginal fissures complain of
- Pain or discomfort
- Stinging, burning sensation during urination, menstruation or when the area comes into contact with soap, douche or even semen.
- Painful sex also known as dyspareunia.
- Bleeding or spotting from the fissures
- Pain when inserting tampons
However much vaginal fissures are capable of healing without any intervention, it is vital to visit your gynecologist in order determine the underlying cause of the fissure and be given the proper treatment for the problem.
Types and causes of labial fissures
- Mild fissures
These are simple tears or splits in the vagina usually caused by
These type of splits or cuts usually heal without any treatment.
- Mystery fissures
These types of splits appear randomly, for a short or long period of time. The causes of mystery vaginal fissures are usually associated with;
- fungal or yeast infections.
- sexually transmitted diseases.
- nutrient deficiencies.
- genital psoriasis.
- Severely deep vaginal fissure
Severely deep vaginal splits or breaks are a result of
- sexual abuse or assault: a history of sexual assault causes sexual trauma which inhibits the abused from enjoying sexual foreplay, therefore, making it difficult for them to become sexually aroused. Sexual arousal causes the vagina to release fluids for lubrication prior to penetration.
Other causes include:
- Menopause: during this stage of life, the level of estrogen which is the female sex hormone gradually reduces: the decline of hormonal stimulation results in vaginal dryness.
- Foreplay: an adequate amount of foreplay before intercourse is vital as it results in the release of vaginal fluids. Lack of enough foreplay limits the production of vaginal fluids leading to vaginal dryness.
Depending on the depth of the tear, mild fissures heal on their own within a period span of 7days or less. However, the split or break the longer it will take before the vaginal fissure heals.
In cases where the symptoms of vaginal fissure or abrasions are too severe, it is advisable to consult a health physician in order to get the best treatment. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor can provide treatment to curb the infection.
Normally, vaginal fissures tend to heal on their own without any medical intervention, however, there are some home remedies that can be used to soothe the affected area
- Coconut oil
Applying coconut oil to the affected region soothes and hastens the healing process of vaginal fissures and abrasions as well as minimize pain and any agitation.
Yoghurt and other dairy products contain friendly active bacteria known as lactobacillus which is responsible for preventing and fighting off future infections. This is especially vital for people who have been on antibiotics.
Adapting a healthy lifestyle and a change of diet is also important in order to reduce consumption of foods with high contents of yeast like wine and beer: which increase the susceptibility of yeast infections
which causes vaginal fissures.
- Sitz baths
Adding diluted hydrogen peroxide to some water works as an antiseptic and hastens the healing process. However, in case you want to use this method and include other herbal cures consult your doctor to determine whether it’s safe.
How can you heal vaginal tears quickly?
- Use hypoallergenic soap-avoiding any product that could potentially exacerbate the irritation should be avoided: and while washing concentrate on the outer labial folds completely avoiding the vaginal opening.
- Avoid sex- stay away from sex until the vaginal fissures are completely healed to avoid reopening the wounds and delaying the healing process.
- Avoid anything that may cause irritation on the vagina- any vaginal device such as tampons, condoms, nuva rings, and diaphragms should completely be avoided to prevent further irritation of the area. Lotions, creams and tight undergarments should completely be avoided as well.
- Avoid douching- douching your vagina will only affect the natural balance of bacteria that is responsible for protecting the vaginal mucous membrane as well as maintain the required vaginal pH level.
- Eat a healthy diet- eating a balanced diet is very vital to expedite the healing process. Foods rich in protein (bodybuilding), zinc and vitamin c (rich in collagen) are the best during the healing process.
- Avoid tight synthetic undergarments-undergarments made of natural fiber are best since they allow you to ‘breathe’ to prevent vaginal fissures and abrasions.
- Avoid staying in wet clothes- wearing wet clothes especially after swimming increases the moisture in the vaginal area which increases the chances of vaginal infections.
How to prevent labial fissures
Can labial fissures and tears be prevented? Absolutely yes! In most circumstances vaginal fissures result from vaginal dryness, therefore, increasing wetness in this area will prevent future vaginal fissures,
- Increase foreplay- more foreplay and vaginal stimulation ensures that the vagina naturally lubricates itself prior to intercourse, thus minimizing the risks of vaginal fissures.
- Use of lubricants-commercial lubes are also effective when dealing with vaginal dryness. However, it is advisable to use water-based lubricants such as Astroglide as compared to oil-based lubricants e.g. petroleum jelly since increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy, since they damage condoms.
When should you see a doctor?
it is vital to consult a doctor if your vaginal fissures are not healing, are bleeding, if you are concerned that they may be infected, have an unusual discharge and are severely painful.