A labial or vaginal cut or tear (vaginal fissure) is a painful split, crack or break in the mucous membrane (skin) inside the vagina, inner or outer labia (vulva), perineum, or clitoris or clitoral hood.

To solve the tear,
you need to be clear
why it’s there.

Vaginal and vulvar cuts and tears can cause pain, sting when you urinate, and may bleed at first, and itch as they heal. Vulva and vaginal flesh is very delicate, but a vulvar and vaginal tear usually heals very quickly without intervention or leaving scars.

Your healthy vaginal flora keep infections at bay by preventing nasties from entering the wound, so infection in minor vulvar or vaginal cuts and tears are rare in an otherwise healthy vagina.

To speed up healing, you can use a moisturising vulva and vagina-friendly cuts cream, but do not us regular antiseptic, antibiotic, or other ointments on your vulva or in your vagina unless you are advised to do so by your healthcare practitioner.

Any cream or ointment you apply to your vulva or vagina must be safe for your delicate mucous membranes and labia. It might be tempting to slather on whatever you can find to get rid of the pain and speed up healing, but you need to be judicious.

If you know why you are getting labial or vaginal cuts and tears, you can skip to the bottom. If, however, you are getting recurrent cuts and tears and aren’t sure why, read on.

Where are your vulvar or vaginal fissures?

Vaginal cuts vaginal tears vaginal fissures My Vagina

Finding the cause and treatment of your vulvar or vaginal cuts and tears

Simple vaginal or vulvar tears

Simple tears are usually caused by sex, fingering, fingernails, accidents, douching, or fiddling. A simple vulvar or vaginal tear typically heals quickly with no interference.

Tears inside the vagina may only be felt when touched, since there are comparatively few nerve endings in the vaginal canal.

Mystery vaginal or vulvar tears

Mystery tears are those that appear seemingly randomly and without cause. They may come and go or stick around long-term and typical treatments don’t seem to do anything.

Mystery tears can be caused by many issues. Rule out a simple tear first, then check through each condition and look for any other related symptoms that could shed light on the cause of your mystery tears.

The vulva and vagina-friendly cuts cream is particularly useful for mystery cuts, as you can apply as needed when a flare-up occurs.

This list is not exhaustive, but meant to offer a starting point in your process of elimination. Mystery tears may need a proper medical investigation and diagnosis and benefit from treatment.

  1. Fungus or yeast
  2. Low oestrogen causing atrophic vaginitis
  3. Nutrient deficiencies
  4. Allergies
  5. Contact dermatitis
  6. Autoimmune conditions affecting the skin
  7. Genital psoriasis
  8. Lichen sclerosus
  9. Sexually transmitted infection

The deep and nasty vaginal or vulvar tear

Very deep tears are most often caused by accidents, assaults, or childbirth.

How do I know if what I have is a cut, and not something more serious?

Take a look! If you can’t reach, get a good light and a digital camera, and take some close-ups. Obviously tears inside of your vagina are impossible to see, which is why getting examined by a physician with a torch isn’t a bad idea if your cuts or tears aren’t healing.

How to tell what’s going on with your vagina or vulva based on feeling

Cuts and tears feel like cuts and tears. You know what your flesh usually feels like depending on what’s wrong so you are usually right, even if you can’t see it.

Sores feel different, ulcers feel different, bumps feel different. Think about how your mouth feels when you damage it or get an ulcer, and compare the sensations. It’s the same sort of tissue inside the vagina, with your mouth lips about the same sort of tissue as your inner labia lips. Outer labia skin is like regular skin.

You need to make sure it is not a sore, blister, ulcer, plaque, lesion, lump, or growth. Blisters, sores or other lumps are usually caused by infections or other medical conditions. Leaving them alone to heal isn’t going to work.

When to see a doctor

You need to be checked out if your vulvar or vaginal cuts or tears don’t heal, bleed, seem infected, you have abnormal discharge or are in pain that isn’t abating.

     Treating vaginal fissures no matter what the cause

This is treated as you would, say, a sore in your mouth. It is in raw mucous membrane and needs to be treated accordingly, so no harsh anything.

If you have compromised wound-healing abilities (diabetes, low in nutrients) or low immunity (HIV, chronic illness), it may take a bit longer for your cuts and tears to heal. Healing takes resources – if you don’t have many, it takes longer.

1. Don’t douche to try to heal your vaginal tear

Don’t douche with anything to heal vaginal cuts and tears. You will upset the natural balance of bacteria that protect your vaginal mucous membranes and keep your vagina healthy.

You have bacteria that have a symbiotic relationship with your mucous membranes. They do us favours and we do them favours. You may have a vulvovaginal infection of some kind anyway, but that needs to be dealt with in other ways. Douching will never get rid of an infection of any kind, and usually just makes it worse by washing away any good bacteria you have left.

2. Sex and fiddling are out when you have a vaginal cut

Don’t have sex until your vaginal tear is fully, and properly, healed, because otherwise you may just re-open the newly-closed flesh, sustaining the wound. (How to choose the best lubricant) Be gentle – your vagina are very durable, but it is not magic.

3. Don’t irritate your vulva or vagina when you have a vaginal fissure

No tampons, diaphragms, Nuva rings, condoms or other vaginal devices, creams, lotions or potions until you are fully healed. No scratching, masturbating or tight underwear.

4. Make sure you wash your vulva gently, daily, but do not wash inside your vagina

Don’t use harsh, drying soaps that can strip the delicate skin of its moisture and don’t be rough – gently does it. The skin stitches its proteins together when it heals just like sewing, and if you are rough, it can pull them apart.

Your fatty protective layer is your friend. Don’t wash it off. It works just the same as, say, nappy/diaper rash. Continually stripping the skin of its natural protective layer means it can’t do its job.

Make soaps hypoallergenic, free from known irritants and do not use soap in the vaginal opening, ever. Stick to the outer labial folds, and don’t use much. Your vaginal mucous membranes (like your nose and lungs) do not need washing. Wet your hands in the bath or shower, and just wipe your hand across a bar of soap – that’s all you need, if any. Minimal washing is best for vaginal fissures.

5. Soothe vulvar fissures (outside labial skin only)

Use a small amount of healing vulva and vagina-friendly cuts cream, aloe vera gel, paw paw ointment, vitamin E oil or other non-antibacterial soothing oil (you want to preserve your good bacteria).

Do not insert any creams or gels into the vagina unless prescribed by your physician, particularly antibacterial creams. Your mucous membranes and good bacteria will not be happy.

If your labia are itchy, dry or tender, try a warm oatmeal bath – oats are very soothing to the skin, reduce itching and inflammation, and generally make you feel nice.

6. Eat well to heal your vaginal tear

When you are healing a vaginal cut, you are literally growing new skin and patching up wounds, so getting all your nutrients to patch up wounds will help heal your vulvar or vaginal cut quickly. If you build your temple out of soda and takeaways, don’t expect healthy, strong skin, including on your vulva. What you eat matters when it comes to your vaginal fissure.

In particular protein (makes your ‘meat’), zinc and vitamin C (for collagen) are required for faster wound-healing.

If you are still suffering or your vulvar cut or vaginal tear seems to be getting worse, make sure you see your healthcare practitioner for advice.

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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