Aunt Vadge: the condom caused cuts and sores – why?

Hi Aunt Vadge, 

I was having protected sex with my boyfriend but this time I was having a particularly hard time getting wet even though I was in the mood to have sex. So in the end it kind of hurt because there was no lubrication from my vagina and the condom lubrication was rubbed off too. That caused some small cuts around the lower part of my labia and two further inside.

I didn’t realize there were cuts and just thought they were burns until my boyfriend checked and told me. What do I do? I know the basics but it really hurts and I found no other site that helped me but yours (the rest were STI sites and I 100% know that I am STI free) and the cuts aren’t huge, but they look like mouth sores you get when you’re tired/sick and have pus. Now I’m scared.

I also found out that we used a new condom at the time too, it’s called the Trojan Fire and Ice. I googled it and very negative things reviews/comments came up about the condom’s lubrication that is advertised to cause hot and cold sensations. Could my condition be a result of that condom? There are actually more mouth sore looking spots than I previously saw when I submitted my question. 

Cut Up
Age: 17
Country/Area: United States

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Hi there Cut Up,

It’s possible that you have had an allergic response to the condom, or simply that the ingredients are very irritating. Probably, you have cut up your skin with dry condom sex, then the spicy lube on the condom has irritated the raw flesh causing inflammation.

Try some paw paw or Vaseline to protect you, and make sure all of that nasty stuff is off your skin. You could also try applying an ice pack/bag of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth. Whatever you choose, it should just be a thin layer that acts to protect your open skin from outside irritation by your underwear and urine (which will probably really sting). To take the sting out, you can pour a cup of warm water (or cold, but warm is nicer!) over your vulva/urine stream as you pee just to dilute your acidic urine a bit. Just be super gentle.

If you want to use some, iodine comes in a bottle from the pharmacy and can be used directly on your vulva, with any instructions on the label. Try to avoid iodine inside your vagina, since if you have healthy microflora, your vagina is extremely unlikely to get infected because your good bacteria act like a defence system. It is for this reason it is very unlikely you will get infected in the first place, even on your vulva, but keep an eye out. To support your good bacteria, if you are concerned, you could take a refrigerated women’s probiotic like Jarro-Dophilus Women 10bn CFUs, take two per day with food, for a few days and keep the rest in the fridge for another time.

Also it would be a public service to write to Trojan via their website and just let them know what has happened. They should know.

Condoms can be absolutely brutal to a delicate vag. Dry sex with a condom is really destructive, but adding in problematic ingredients is the thing that takes it from bad to worse. It doesn’t help that despite its toughness, our labia are actually pretty delicate. Think of your lips and inside of your mouth as a comparison – now put an erect penis with a dry condom in it, thrusting away, with capsaicin in it (the thing that makes chillies hot) and you end up with your exact problem.

It will heal, and usually pretty quickly, so don’t worry too much – open sores will weep a little as they heal, especially when the area is damp anyway. Follow the instructions for taking care of a cut vag, and think about what sort of bottle of lube you are going to have handy next time! Leave your vag completely alone, keep it clean, and it should be fixed up in no time. If it seems infected (doesn’t heal, hot, red, with pus) you need to use an antibacterial solution like iodine regularly to manage that. If for some reason it seems to get worse, see a doctor without delay.

If you are using condoms, you MUST use lube. It’s not because you can’t get wet enough; it’s because even a dry spot of latex on your labia and inside your vagina can quickly cause very painful damage. You’ve essentially got burst blisters and cuts.

Don’t worry – they’ll heal soon!

Write 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.