Aunt Vadge: deep cut on inner labia – will it heal by itself?

Hi Aunt Vadge,

I have a tear on my inner labia caused by sexual intercourse. It’s about an inch long that I can see and appears to be deep. I had not even realized it happened until I went to the bathroom the next morning, where it bled quite a bit while I was urinating, but hasn’t bled since.

It isn’t extremely painful except when urinating. I immediately went to the pharmacy and got medicated wipes with witch hazel, and the pharmacist told me to use miconazole [antibiotic] cream on it.

My question is, should I see a doctor or will this heal itself? If it’s deep enough will I require stitches? I can see red inside the tear that is not blood.

Age 35, Savannah, Georgia, USA

Dear Cut,

Thanks for your email.

It is very likely that your cut will heal up quite nicely by itself, even without the miconazole antibiotic cream or witch hazel applied. Cuts on mucous membranes tend to be very fast-healing (like the mouth), so if you think about how well your mouth heals, you’ll understand what the vagina is like (more or less).

Minor cuts and tears can be encouraged to heal well with a moisturising vulva and vagina-friendly cuts cream.

You sound like you are onto it – so long as the bleeding has stopped and it appears to be getting better, you are very unlikely to have a problem. If you feel concerned, however, then stop in at your local sexual health clinic or doctor to be examined. They will quickly determine if you have a bigger problem than you thought.

It would even be advisable not put anything on it at all – no witch hazel, no antibiotic cream. Just let your body do its thing. The antibiotic cream will kill off your good bacteria, and while it probably won’t do anything damaging, your vagina is pretty awesome at keeping invaders out, because it is chocka block full of your own little army. Witch hazel is a nice idea, but you really don’t need to be putting that stuff into your vag.

This, however, is entirely up to you. Nothing bad will happen either way, but just know that your body will happily stitch your flesh together again in less than two weeks. If you are still able to see a visible fissure in a week, it starts to bleed or weep, or you start to feel more pain, it would be time then to go and see a doctor and be examined.

In the meantime, be super gentle, don’t irritate it at all with anything. Just use warm water to very gently wash without too much soap or bubbles near the tear, don’t have sex, scratch yourself, masturbate, wear tight clothes, or generally disturb your labia. If you think of the process as a hands-free sort of sewing – your body attaches the proteins together, and when you pull them apart, it means it has to start all over again.

The other main concern I have is how this happened without you knowing. A cut in your labia so big you would consider stitches, from sex, is a big enough deal that you need to investigate just for your own peace of mind. Key offenders are obviously fingernails (our own included), but you can be the judge of that.

Write again anytime.

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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