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Overview of open sores on the vagina

Open sores on the vagina can indicate a number of conditions. These sores may be itchy, painful or have no sensation at all. Sores sometimes break open and leak a pus-like fluid. Other times, they resemble bug bites. In addition to physical discomfort, genital sores can cause embarrassment. Still, it’s important to get these symptoms checked out and treated.

Possible causes of open sores on the vagina

Two STDs are common causes of open sores on the vagina:

  • Genital herpes: This STD can cause blisters, sores or rashes around the vagina, vulva, groin, thighs or anus. Sometimes genital herpes symptoms are so mild, they go unnoticed or mistaken for a less serious conditions like an ingrown hair or yeast infection.
  • Syphilis: One of the first symptoms of syphilis is a single, hard, painless sore on the vaginal or genitals. This sore will eventually heal on its own, but the syphilis infection is still present.
  • Genital warts: Sores from genital warts are often painless (though sometimes itchy), flesh-colored and may occur in cauliflower-like clusters.

Other causes of vaginal sores include allergic reactions, bug bites, ingrown hairs or shaving irritation.

Diagnosing open sores on the vagina

STD testing can diagnose vaginal sores. A blood-based STD test for genital herpes and syphilis can diagnose these infections, even when symptoms are absent. A doctor can diagnose genital warts based on a physical exam and a Pap smear. Since STDs are often mistaken for less serious conditions, it’s important to have screening performed if there has ever been a possible exposure.

Treating open sores on the vagina

A proper diagnosis is the first step in treating vaginal sores. Antiviral medication can reduce herpes outbreaks, while genital warts can be removed via surgery. When detected early, syphilis can be cured with antibiotics and have no permanent repercussions. Treating open vaginal sores, regardless of the diagnosis, is important; when exposed to the HIV virus, open sores can facilitate transmission, making it easier to contract the virus.

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