Aunt Vadge: small, itchy fissure in labia minora won’t go away

Hi there Aunt Vadge, 

About 3 weeks ago I found a fissure in the crease of my labia minora. It doesn’t hurt unless I touch it or try to masturbate. Sometimes it itches. I’ve put some lotion on when it does and that seems to help. It’s small, maybe the length of a pinky nail. And slim. Just a sliver, like a paper cut.

But it’s been there for almost three weeks. I also have eczema. The dryness popped up again on my knuckles about a week ago. I haven’t had sex since May. It’s a little bit of a deeper pink than the rest of the skin.

Yours,
Creased
Age 20, Texas, USA

Hi there Creased,

It sounds like you are having a more systemic (body-wide) reaction, which due to your history of eczema (and the recent bout of it on your knuckles), could be immune-related.

It would be wise to see how your symptoms develop and check out our articles on lichenoid conditions, including contact dermatitis. There are a bunch of conditions that result in itchy, sore fissuring, and you need to catch it early, whatever it is.

Fissures should not last for three weeks without changing, healing, or getting worse, or appear for no obvious reason. If you have hurt yourself and the cut isn’t healing, that could be another problem like a skin infection of some kind. It could also be genital psoriasis, scleroderma, or Sjogren’s syndrome.

If it doesn’t heal up soon or change at all, go and see your doctor, dermatologist or a gynaecologist (or all of them). These conditions are not fun, so ruling them out should be a priority. If you do have one of them, it’s important to catch it early and get rid of symptoms so your vulva stays intact.

In the meantime, inflammatory immune conditions (like eczema and the lichenoid conditions) all often respond well to making dietary adjustments. These can be quite extreme depending on what your diet is like now, so just in a nutshell, here’s some clues as to how to manage your immune system a bit better in the short-term:

  1. Get rid of wheat and diary for starters. Do this for two weeks, and see if your condition changes, including your eczema. A lot of eczema and skin problems can be caused by something you are eating.
  2. If there is no change, or there is a small improvement, you need to build on this, so go for the full anti-inflammatory diet for three weeks, maintaining the no wheat if the previous two weeks saw a small improvement.

The internet is full of diets and recipes for anti-inflammatory eating, so you should be able to find everything you need quite easily. The diet is simple – get rid of all the delicious sugary, fried, cheesey things you love, and replace them with equally delicious vegetables, lean meat/seafood, wholegrains, legumes and raw nuts and seeds.

Do this for at least three weeks, and if your conditions improve, I would suggest making this part of your regular life. See a practitioner if your lesion doesn’t go away, or if another one pops up in its place. Sometimes these things can just appear and then disappear without a trace and without us ever knowing what they are, which is the best case scenario. But, doing nothing is your most dangerous option.

To soothe the fissure or lesion (whatever it is), you can apply a small amount of coconut oil to keep it lubricated (coconut also exerts a small antibacterial, antifungal action), and if it becomes extra itchy or sore, an oat bath can soothe dry, irritated skin all over your body.

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

Don’t wait too long to see someone if it gets worse, starts to bleed or weep, or simply doesn’t go away.

If you need help with anything, including going pesco-vegan or the anti-inflammatory diet, or other soothing applications and herbs, we’d be happy to help you.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge