Aunt Vadge: We hit a lump – what is it?

Dear Aunt Vadge,

My sexual partner hit a lump and it hurt me. I just want to know what that lump was?

Regards,
Lumpy

Dear Lumpy,

The vagina is a hollow muscular tube that is surrounded by a lot of tissue, bone, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, so depending on the angle you are on, bumps and lumps are not uncommon to feel. When these tissues get bumped the wrong way, they can be a little bit sore, but your vagina shouldn’t hurt as a general rule, and obviously weird lumps should not exist.

Your lump

If the lump is inside your vagina, does the lump feel like it is a growth or a mass of some kind? Does it bleed? hurt? feel tender to touch? If so, you should schedule an appointment soon to be examined by a physician who can establish the cause. If it is on your vulva, please write back with more information.

A mysterious lump in the vagina could also be a cyst or a benign tumour, or in fact anatomical abnormalities that you weren’t aware of previous to the discovery via sexual activity. These things can cause pain or not – something you were born with won’t hurt, since it’s part of your body, but a growth of some kind will tend to eventually impinge on the tissues around it, or be inflamed and full of liquid, which will hurt.

It is also possible that you are feeling the normal lumps and bumps of your insides – when you are first getting to know your body, you will find a collection of things that surprise and concern you, which is why it’s important to feel inside yourself regularly and with an aim to investigate in a non-sexual way to see what’s normal. This helps prepare you for a lifetime of vagina care.

Inspecting yourself, Pap tests

Get a mirror/take a few photos, and see what it all looks like as far in as you can. Have a probe around and see if you can find the lump, see if it has edges that you can ascertain, and see if it hurts when you push on it in a way that doesn’t seem to be another structure in your body (like a tendon or muscle). Keep a small diary of your symptoms, including any other health symptoms you have, in case it turns out to be something.

I realise that in the US, you need insurance to see the doctor, but if you have access to free sexual health care (most places have a free clinic), you should utilise it at every opportunity (while it still exists!). This means if you are curious or worried about something, you have someone to ask who can actually see what you are talking about and tell you if you need further tests.

Now that you are sexually active, you should be getting Pap tests once a year to check for HPV-related abnormal cervical cells, and at this time, you get an incidental vaginal inspection and during the examination, you can ask your doctor about anything. Pap tests, while uncomfortable, are an excellent way to keep tabs on your vagina through the eyes of your physician. Don’t skip them.

It doesn’t matter who you are sleeping with, since humans can transmit HPV (the cause of most cervical cancer) and STIs to a sexual partner of any gender.

If you are concerned about a lump, get examined and put your mind at ease.

If you need anything else, ask away!

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge