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Sores on the female genitals
Sores or lesions on the female genitalia or in the vagina may have a number of possible causes.
Genital sores may be painful, itchy, produce a discharge, or cause no symptoms at all.
Because genital lesions or sores can have a negative affect on a person's self-image, many people do not seek proper medical care. All genital sores should be evaluated by a medical professional.
Itching, painful urination, or painful sexual intercourse often occur with genital lesions.
Sores or lesions on the female genitals are often caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs that can cause these sores include:
Precancerous changes of the vulva (vulvar dysplasia) may appear as white, red, or brown patches on the vulva, and may cause itching. The vulva can also develop skin cancers such as melanoma and basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
Nonsexually transmitted diseases may also produce sores on the genitals. In young girls (before puberty), common causes of genital sores include:
Less common causes include:
Frumovitz M, Bodurka DC. Neoplastic diseases of the vulva: lichen sclerosus, intraepithelial neoplasia, Paget's disease, carcinoma. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap. 30.
Eckert L, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap. 22.
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