How to Avoid Vaginal Cuts
Although the term “vaginal cuts” may sound a little scary, they occur often in women who are sexually active. These small abrasions, cuts, and tears are usually not serious, but they can be uncomfortable and bothersome.
“Vaginal cuts are relatively common, even in women who don’t have any underlying abnormality,” says Grace Evins, MD, a gynecologist at Live Well in WNC in Asheville, North Carolina.
The most common cause of tiny vaginal tears or cuts (apart from childbirth) is penetration during sex, according to UW Medicine.
Fortunately, most vaginal cuts aren’t medically serious. If you know the cause and think it’s superficial, a visit to the doctor isn’t necessary, UW Medicine says. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them as no big deal. The discomfort caused by vaginal cuts can make sex unpleasant and can affect your overall quality of life.
The good news is that there are tools and strategies to help prevent cuts from happening in the first place. Read on to find out what the experts say.
What Causes Vaginal Cuts?
When you’re aroused, the vagina naturally produces fluids that lubricate the area during sexual activity, reducing friction that can irritate or tear the vaginal tissue. But many variables can affect how much lubrication your body produces. And if there isn’t enough natural moisture created, tearing can occur.
“Vaginal dryness is often part of the problem, because dryness creates friction, and that’s the main reason the tears and abrasions occur,” says Dr. Evins.
Other factors play a role in vaginal dryness.
Lubricant, also called lube, is a very helpful tool with any sort of penetration, says Rawlins. “These products have come a long way. Gone are the days when there were just one or two options,” she says.
Water-based lubricants Water-based lubes are most common, says Rawlins. “You may have to do some label reading because there are some key differences between products,” she says.
Before buying, make sure the lube doesn’t contain irritating ingredients, such as paraffins, propylene glycol, glycerin, petroleum, or petroleum-based ingredients. “These can increase the risk for irritation, bacterial overgrowth, and even infection, which can further impair the skin’s health,” says Rawlins.
When having sex that involves penetration, certain positions may make vaginal cuts or painful friction more likely, says Evins. “Try positions that allow women more control to reduce the likelihood of vagina cuts,” she says.
Post-menopausal women who have issues with vaginal dryness can talk with a provider about using an FDA-approved vaginal estradiol product. Available by prescription, the therapy comes in different forms, including creams, tablets, and vaginal suppositories, says Evins.
If your provider determines that your vaginal cuts are related to pelvic floor overactivity, a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor issues may help, says Rawlins.