Aunt Vadge: cuts around clitoral hood – is it herpes?

Vaginal cuts and tears clitoral hood My Vagina

Hi Aunt Vadge, 

I’ve had two cuts that come and go by my clitoris. I’m very concerned and I’m afraid to get tested for herpes and get a positive result because I don’t know how I will react. The cuts seem to always come back. 

I have regular menstrual cycles, currently don’t have any underlying health conditions, I’m trying to have a very balanced diet, and I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary.

I’m currently not on any birth control, and I haven’t had any other issues anywhere else. The cuts look like paper cuts, very thin, and always come back on the same spot. 

Age: 25
Country: USA


Dear Afraid,

Cuts can be caused by lots of things, but if it could be herpes, you need to know sooner rather than later. We sometimes have to do scary things, and they cause us deep anxiety and fear, but not doing them leaves the fear sitting, lingering, creating a big scary monster that may or may not exist. Get a test!

If it is herpes, usually a breakout would be quite painful and doesn’t appear as a cut, but a sore like a coldsore, and the sores are more likely to appear on your labia/vaginal entrance. This isn’t always true, but is for the most part.

If you focus on the herpes, you may be missing another important thing going on with your body. 

The cuts are where the clitoral hood joins to the labia. This spot tearing can be caused by a few things, but typically it’s due to either something eroding the integrity of the skin around this very delicate join, like yeast, or due to mechanical stress. This could mean you are washing yourself differently or some other action (or clothing) that pulls at these joins. These corners of your clitoral hood are a real weak spot and are VERY easy to tear if you pull them in the wrong direction. 

Are you prone to yeast infections? Yeast can live up under the clitoral hood and between our labia, causing cuts because the skin is affected relentlessly by the yeast. To test this out, you can use a mixture of tea tree oil and a carrier oil (olive, vitamin E, avocado etc), with a few drops of both to dilute the tea tree, and then rub the oil into every corner and crevice a few times per day, for about three days. This will help you figure out if it’s a yeast problem, or something else. Be VERY careful when you wash yourself so as not to exacerbate the tears. You want them to heal up, and then see if they return. It may be a matter that requires a bit of detective work and some time to figure out. 

The cuts returning means there is a sustaining cause, so either something living there that is upsetting the balance of your skin, something happening inside your body that affects delicate tissue, or something you are doing to cause the cuts. 

Do you have any other symptoms anywhere else on your body? Skin problems? This could be a clue to a more systemic problem going on. 

Repeat cuts can also be due to hormone issues, like low oestrogen – our vulva is very dependent on oestrogen to be healthy. You said you have normal menstrual cycles, so that normally would rule that out. You are 25, so that’s not normally a problem. If you were on hormonal birth control, that could also affect your tissue. 

Try the tea tree in case it’s yeast. Yeast can cause those paper cuts. 

And get a test!

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.
Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

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